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Powder Room Reno. Part 3: Putting it all together.

Most of the planning and deciding done (see Part 1 and 2), it’s time to do the project. Got the plumber to take up the fixtures, a necessity for replacing the floor and a delight for painting and replacing the trim.

I’ve accepted that three coats of paint are necessary, one primer and two top coats. Ditto on the trim before mounting. The trim style I’ve posted about before. I’ve chosen styles of casing and base cap that were popular in the Arts & Craft era.

I wasn’t thrilled with existing sink, but a few minutes looking at new ones found me 500 reasons ($) to keep the old one. There is nothing wrong with it, it’s greenish semi-transparent glass and I wanted white.

So I painted it. Even with paint made to bond to glass (among other things), I wasn’t sure paint on the inside of the sink would be durable, but am pleased with the effect of painting the outside. It’s brighter and a truer tone, rather than the cool green.

Took the opportunity to touch up the washstand while it was disassembled. Filling a hole, getting rid of the end grain on the tap arrangement. Wondered about buying new taps, but found another 500 good reasons to keep the existing ones when pricing new ones.

To attach the purely decorative picture rail, I chose construction adhesive in a tube, as finding something to nail/screw into is at least as difficult as ramming a fastener through the skinny piece of wood without splitting it. Good theory, except the adhesive didn’t have enough sticking power to suck the trim into place over the wavy walls. So, I used drywall screws to hold the picture rail in place until the glue dried, crown molding caulking to get that seamless finish, then removed the screws, filled the holes, and added another coat of semigloss. Got there in the end, but does make me wonder if there’s ever a perfectly flat surface to be stuck to a perfectly flat surface. 

Time to install the flooring. For a minute, I debated whether I needed to remove the floating vinyl tile flooring to put sheet vinyl on top. A bit of reading made perfect sense – don’t put floating on floating. Great, because I really wanted to get rid of the faux-wood vinyl. 

And I wanted to see if there was any silliness below the vinyl.

Not really, previous tiles had been removed, as in the kitchen, as suggested by the remnants of cement and grid traced on the modern 1/4″ plywood underlay. Still, the floor in this 6×6′ room slopped towards the middle. This makes no sense, as aside from the outside wall, the rest are interior, presumably partition walls. So why would the floor slope between them, unless the installation of the toilet plumbing weakened the joists. Actually, the joists below are a mess, each bearing various forms of damage – notches, gouges, holes and undersized (I think, they are a true 2×6″, smaller than the 2×8″ joists elsewhere on the main floor). But each is also sistered, recently by the look of the lumber, although the bearing of the sisters was non-existent, but I fixed that. Might not be necessary but couldn’t hurt. 

The most intimidating thing about installing the flooring was that it was all or nothing. One error could ruin the entire sheet of vinyl. The internet told me to cut to size plus 4″ all around, put the sheet in the room, then lay it flat by cutting into the corners. Make the final cut with a utility knife, using a square to push the flooring into where the wall met the floor. And yup, it worked. Actually astonished how well the geometric pattern parallels all the walls.

All that remained was to install the door frame and baseboards. Prior experiences have told me the tricky thing about baseboards is pretty much everything. To make installation easier, I drilled holes where the baseboard would be installed to find solid wood to attach to. Then I marked the areas with thumbtacks, in case the pencil marks were painted over.

That happened, as best it could with saggy floors and funny walls (not true, plumb or well supported, all within tolerance for old, partition drywall walls). Interestingly, the approach to installing the sheet vinyl flooring included caulking between the baseboards and flooring. Made for a nice line but I’m dubious it will stay clean and therefore standout in a few years.

The plumber was called to reinstall the fixtures. When a drip in a tap resulted from the reinstall, the suggestion was to replace the taps. As far as I’m concerned, repairing the old is better for the environment than throwing the old out. I figured out how to replace the cartridge in a slightly obscure brand of tap. 

No one, on YouTube or at the plumbing supply shop or my plumber suggested the taps pulled off the base. I saw much about set screws, unscrewing the taps, loosening stuck joints with wrenches etc. But when all those things didn’t work, I yanked straight up in frustration, and off the tap handle came. Once it was dismantled, it was clear that an internal plastic coupling was the connection between the inside of the tap handle and control valves/cartridge. Not a common design. Also not necessary to replace the taps.

And now, my powder room lives happily ever after, in a sympathetic style to the era of my house. Except it needs a matching door. Stay tuned for the door building adventure. 

Thanks for reading.

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