Full Bathroom Renovation

Full Bathroom Renovation

Finished Bathroom

We’ve finished our mission to make our two smallest-possible full bathrooms a little less '90s. (I've only included one because they're identical.) That means switching laminate for matte cultured marble, ceramic and chrome for nickel and steel, and framing out plain mirrors. Each bathroom cost about $500 to redo.
Pre-Purchase

This is what the bathroom looked like when we moved in. Those ceramic towel bars were cemented into the wall for some reason, but I'm decent at drywall repair, luckily.
Counters

We tore out the laminate countertops with drop in sinks too fast for me to take photos. Demo is always the fun part.
Counters

The laminate had braces nailed into the side walls of the vanity, but these were too thin to hold the new counter. We braced the corners and screwed in cross beams to support the counter and add glue space.
Counters

We ordered custom cultured marble countertops with integrated sinks. Unfortunately our vanities are walled in at 48″; whereas, standard vanity tops are 49″. We used a circular saw with a masonry blade to cut them to size. (In a well-ventilated area with a respirator and goggles, of course.)
We installed our new faucets ($50 on ebay each!) before gluing down the countertops (with silicone). It’s much easier at that point than when you need to squeeze into a 12″ cabinet opening and reach behind the sink.
Sidesplashes

We needed side splashes to cover the gaps between the counter and wall and hide the damage from the old ceramic tiles. We chose polished marble because it’s neutral, upscale, and a dollar per tile.
Sidesplashes

Tape, tape, tape! I like Frog Tape and Lowe's store brand for this.
Sidesplashes

We used a cheap wet saw to cut the curve of the counter backsplash into the tile and make half pieces for the edges.
Sidesplashes

After taping the counter and mirror, we applied thinset for natural stone with a notched trowel and placed the tiles with 1/8″ spacers.
Sidesplashes

A day later, we mixed up light gray unsanded grout after sealing the pores of the tile with spray sealant. (Unsanded is a must for any glossy tile, and natural stone is porous and needs sealing.) The grout we chose has a matching silicone caulk.
Sidesplashes

We applied the grout with a rubber float everywhere except where the tile meets the mirror and the counter. These areas require silicone caulk.
Sidesplashes

The next day, we applied matching light gray caulk to the tops, sides, and seams of the side splashes.
Sidesplashes

Done!
Frames

I bought four 8′ baseboards at Habitat ReStore to use as mirror frames. We used a miter saw to cut these to size and wood glue to assemble the pieces. (It’s much easier to apply a one piece frame to a mirror than it is to apply a piece at a time and hope they line up.) We filled the gaps with white wood filler and used our paint sprayer to give both frames two coats of mildew resistant paint. (I use this paint on all our cabinetry as well.) We applied a generous zigzag of mirror adhesive to the back of each frame and mounted them to the mirrors. We used stacked scrap wood to hold the bottom of the frames while the adhesive dried. After the adhesive dried, we used acrylic painter’s caulk to clean up inside edges and hide any gaps or reflections.
Hardware

I basically bought the entire GRUNDTAL series at Ikea after searching for brushed nickel fixtures forever. Ikea’s fixtures offer the same modern lines for about a third of the cost. These do not come with hardware, so I used self-drilling drywall anchors for sturdiness.
Hardware

Less than $100 for all the hardware including shipping!
Hardware

Tiling

This laminate was super gross and peeling. Very unpleasant.
Tiling

We removed and discarded the old trim and shoe then peeled up the laminate. (After removing the toilet, which is not quite as fun.)
Tiling

Before I started putting down mortarboard, I secured the squeaky subfloor with a few self-tapping screws. The subfloor was not quite thick enough to support tile without flexing (needed to be 1.25″), so we applied mortar and screwed down 1/4″ mortarboard.
Tiling

This part is always fun.
Tiling

Mortar board down, seams covered with thinset.
Tiling

We chose dark brown wood-look tile that we found on the super secret clearance shelf at Lowe’s. Two bathrooms’ worth for $60! We laid out the tile to find a pattern that looked natural.
Tiling

We settled on a 3-tile repeating pattern and started drawing all of the cuts we needed on the wet saw. I used a sewing pencil to number the tiles and draw cuts. We only irreparably fucked up a couple of tiles, and I only cut myself once!
Tiling

After a complete dry fit, I used the same mortar to set the tiles with spacers.
Tiling

The next day, I went in with dark brown epoxy grout. I wouldn’t recommend using this unless you have grout experience, it’s a high-moisture area, and/or it’s on clearance (for, say, $16 instead of $70.)
Tiling

Lessons learned:
Do not use a red rubber float; it’s too soft to spread epoxy and will absorb the oiliness. (I ended up using a plastic putty knife pretty effectively.)
Do not get all over your arms unless you’re willing to spend half an hour scrubbing with Fast Orange and Goo Gone.
Double check all your grout before you stop for the day because you only have an hour or so before your bucket cures. (We ended up buying two anyway because we did two bathrooms separately.)
Tiling

One of the great things about epoxy grout is that it doesn’t need sealing, ever. It’s plastic, basically. So that’s done!
Trim

I bought some super tall PFJ (Primed Finger Joint pine) baseboard molding. And I only mis-measured the convex corners three times! Pro-tip: don’t get MDF for bathrooms because the moisture will make it swell. I used tub and tile silicone caulk around the toilet and the tub. Rather than installing shoe molding on my baseboards (our bathrooms are already tiny and dust-prone), I filled the lower gap with dark brown caulk.
I filled the gaps between the top of the trim and the wall with painter’s caulk.
Painting

Oak is my nemesis, and it is beastly to paint. There’s not much to photograph for this step. It’s paint; you get it. I went at it with a power sander for as long as I could stand before starting with primer.
I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer. It’s decent. I used my trusty paint sprayer on the doors and drawers and a mini roller and angled brush for the cabinet box. I applied three coats of my favorite bathroom and kitchen paint: Zinsser Semi-Gloss Perma-White Mildew-Proof.
Painting

For some reason, builder grade cabinetry comes with no hardware, so I installed bin pulls (♥) and knobs to keep our grimy paws off my paint job. I also installed a secret pullout for that thingy in the middle.
Painting

I also took the opportunity to spray our vent and its magnetic cover a lovely chocolate brown.
Finished Bathroom

Finished Bathroom

Finished Bathroom

Finished Bathroom

Finished Bathroom

Finished Bathroom

Puppers

This is Lulu and Spaghetti. They make it difficult to do work at floor level.
Source : hmbmelly from Reddit