August 15, 2011

Tub Wars: A New Hope

This weekend we officially concluded our first fairly-large, indoor project: we removed the nasty shower doors from our master bathroom tub, cleaned the whole thing top to bottom, and hung up a new, curved rod. It may not seem like much, but there aren’t words to express to how great it feels to have gotten it done.
You see, before we bought our house, it had stood empty for some time and before that the people that had lived in it were clearly not…how do I put this delicately? Tidy? Organized? That doesn’t quite work. Okay, let’s just be honest instead: the people who lived in our house before us were pigs. Dust everywhere, twenty years worth of bacon grease under the range hood, hair clippings in the bathroom drawers…you name it, they left it behind. So, obviously, the first thing we embarked on was making the place liveable (aka clean). This process has taken up a lot of our time and there are still portions of the house that need work (now all we have left to clean is half the kitchen, the downstairs bathroom, and a whole lotta windows).
Up until last week, the master bathroom had still been on that list. The first night we moved in, I hurriedly chose the less disgusting of the upstairs bathrooms (the hallway one, obviously), gave it a good scrubbing, and we’ve been using it ever since. The master bath had been no-man’s land for a few weeks before we were able to find the time and the energy to gut it and clean it.
We started out by removing the ugly, brass shower doors. Now, let me just take a moment to explain that this was not only an issue of taste (I mean, really? Brass shower doors?), not even just an issue of cleanliness (although that played a heavy hand, too), it was primarily an issue of space. The showers in our house are incredibly narrow and that flaw was compounded by the rigid glass doors (really, you should see the bruises on my elbows from knocking into them every three seconds). So when I mentioned to my Mom that I wanted to replace the doors, she suggested getting curved, “hotel”-style shower rods to add space. And let me just say: I’ve never been so glad to have heeded any advice as I am right now. Curved rods = all the difference.
Here’s a (sort-of) quick rundown of how we did it. (And some pictures to go along with it!)

1. See this ugly thing? It simply had to go, so…
2. we carefully removed the doors from their tracks,
3. and were left with this ugly sight.
4. So, Denny broke out the tools and began removing the screws that held the tracks to the shower.
5. He then used a flathead screwdriver to gently pry up the tracks,
6. then pulled the whole thing out (this picture was taken right before the whole thing nearly fell down on his head—we were able to grab it just in time, me with the camera still clutched in one hand, much to his completely-justified-annoyance).
7. Once the tracks were removed, we were left with this nasty mess. This is what was living (and I do mean living) under the tracks for who-knows-how-many years? The very idea makes me shudder.
8. Luckily, Denny is made of tougher stuff than I am (I could barely look at the disgusting leavings) and he used a putty knife to remove all of it.
Denny then proceeded to clean the whole bathroom from top to bottom (bless his heart), leaving me free to work on some other projects (which I will update you all on later!). He worked his butt off on that tub. Just to give you an example of how bad it was, listen to this: When we moved in, we honestly thought the tub was supposed to be beige-colored. It wasn’t. It was actually white and the beige tint was just a few decades worth of soap scum. Nasty, huh?
Anyway, once the tub was clean, he called me back in and asked me to caulk the holes left by the doors while he worked on cleaning out the vanity drawers (remember when I mentioned hair clippings? Yeah, we had to vacuum the drawers before cleaning them…with lots and lots and LOTS of bleach).
So I broke out the caulk (that’s what she said!) and a few other supplies and proceeded from there. (Be warned, this whole next section just sounds wrong, so please bear with me.)
I put some rubbing alcohol on some TP then wiped down the holes, making them completely clean and ready for the caulking to adhere to.
Next, I squeezed some caulking into the hole, then squished it down with my fingers (by the way, please ignore my sadly chipped nail polish, which will be making an appearance in some more photos later this week). I did this until I was sure the hole was completely filled, then I added a bit more (so it stuck up over the edges of the hole) and used the aforementioned putty knife to scrape the excess flat. I had to do this 2 or 3 times on each hole over the course of a couple of days because the caulking kept shrinking and pulling back into the hole. Maybe there’s a way to avoid this, but I don’t know of it.
Anyway, the end result was a flat, hole-free space which you can barely tell ever had a shower door screwed into it!
And now (because there are still 9 more pictures to go and twice as many steps), I’m going to leave you hanging and return back tomorrow with the rest of our bathroom transformation. Trust me when I say that a little (LOT) bit of elbow grease and a new shower rod pretty much changed the way we feel about our place. It was a major morale booster to get this project done and now we feel excited to get started on some other things on our list, like painting the insides of the kitchen cabinets and laying down new vapor barrier under the house. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I don’t think anything could make us excited about going under the house. But this very nearly does the trick. J
PS: You may have noticed that the blog width is slightly larger than usual. That is to allow for larger photos to be posted, but if it's too large to be viewed on a normal screen, please let me know. My monitor at work (where I am lucky enough to be able to do most of my posting!) is rather large and I'm not sure if the banner will fit well on other computers or not. Also, the sidebar is back to being on the left side, as requested by the one commentor to give feedback on the layout (thanks, Amanda!). Love, Ash


  1. Oh dear. I hope you didn't throw away those 'leavings'. I'm fairly certain that with a little light and moisture you could start a new species. Albeit one that might eat you as you sleep...

  2. @KaydeeMcDee - Haha. I definitely threw them away. I still have nightmares about the Blob and this just hit too close to home...