Full Bathroom Renovation, Part 2: 18 Weeks and Counting
We haven’t done an update in months. This project keeps changing course, and I can barely keep up with what is getting done, let alone try to sit down and explain it.
I’m not having trouble keeping up now. Pat broke his leg right before Christmas and he’s on a forced hiatus at the moment. Since I now have the time to sit down and chat through some stuff, I thought I’d give you some insight as to what the HECK is going on with this project.
We started this project in September. In our minds, we thought we could be done by the holidays. That deadline came and went. It’s 2019 and we’re definitely not done.
We have good reasons, though! This renovation was a catalyst for a few other needed upgrades to our house. We needed to seize opportunities to save us more work in the future.
Rewiring the Bathroom and Bedrooms
The first puzzle was figuring out how to rewire the bathroom, as well as some outlets to the adjoining bedrooms.
Before we ripped our bathroom to shreds, the light switch was located on the outside of the bathroom. That switch operated a broken light and a bathroom fan caked in dust that vented into the attic.
Now the bathroom is completely rewired. We have power to what will be the vanity lights, we have in-shower lighting, and we have a bathroom fan that operates and vents to the outside.
The best part: instead of having 3 separate switches in various locations, we now have one big panel of switches that controls the vanity lights, shower lights, and the fan. And thankfully, that panel is located inside the bathroom - where it belongs.
New Wiring on the First Floor
Opening up the walls and floors in the bathroom gave us an opportunity to replace more old wiring that was hiding within our walls on the first floor.
We were able to update a whole circuit , but it took weeks of careful planning to complete. The exterior, main entrance, and dining room lighting, and even the power to our detached garage are newly wired.
Side note: discovering that our detached garage was on that particular circuit was a complete accident. Just when Pat thought he was done mapping out the circuit … we couldn’t open the garage to take out the trash. That added a few more days to our rewiring plan.
Why Replace Old Wiring?
I know that some old house enthusiasts/purists might mourn the loss of the old wiring in our 1915 home. I get it. It’s hard to let go of the historical aspects of a house. But the reality is that the modern systems are safer (we believe), and we would rather not see our forever home go up in flames.
One of the cooler parts of updating the electrical is we discovered the original pancake electrical boxes from 1915. They’re made of cast iron and were plastered into the ceiling. Even though they’re cool, they also got replaced. Everything got new electrical boxes and the lighting fixtures are much more secure.
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ETA: mystery solved! Explanation in stories 😊Original post: Good morning, #oldhouse friends! 🙋 I could use your expertise to identify what these are, exactly 🤓 We pulled a few of these out of our ceilings yesterday since we're updating some electrical and we have modern fixtures. They're made of cast iron and as @1891victorianhome told me, they're for old light fixtures. Our home was built in 1915. Any identification / history is appreciated! #antiques #antiquehardware #castiron #antiquelighting #vintagelighting #oldhouselove #thisoldhouse #historichomes #preservation #restoration #vintage #colonialrevival #oldhomes #lighting
Moving the Toilet and Miscellaneous Plumbing
While Pat did some of the preliminary plumbing work, his dad has taken over while he’s on the mend.
The last big puzzle is figuring out how to move the toilet. The idea isn’t complicated: we want to move the toile to the other side of the room so that we can fit in a bigger vanity with storage.
Obviously, all of the above sounds easy, but it has to be done correctly. There’s a lot of planning, research, double-checking, more research, and triple-checking. The last thing you want is poop water running down your walls.
We need to make sure we get all of the copper-to-PVC connections right and that the pipes are at the correct pitch so that the “shit flows downhill,” as my father-in-law says.
Also, when you’re working on plumbing there are a lot of poop jokes involved.
That brings us to now! Our main goal at the moment is fix Pat’s broken bone and make sure he heals up. We are very fortunate to have a support from our family so that the project is still making progress.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you done a DIY bathroom renovation, or want to do a DIY bathroom renovation? What did you run into that you weren’t anticipating? How long did your renovation take? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram!