Bathroom Renovation

So, I’ve alluded to our bathroom updates a couple times…here’s the full story.

In early November, we started to notice some mildew directly to the left of the tub where the drywall and tub meet. We thought, ok, we have a kid who likes to splash in the tub a lot and we haven’t been diligent in wiping the wall once she’s finished bathing. Our action at the time was to research a little and ended up spraying some bleach on the spot, wiped it down and then walked away.

A couple weeks later, we noticed that the mildew had returned, which was strange considering we’d treated the drywall a couple times with bleach. We then began considering the option that perhaps the mildew is coming from behind the drywall (while also praying that wasn’t actually true). This was also during a time that Matt was very focused in studying for finals and writing a couple papers, so any real house projects were delayed because we didn’t have the time to dedicate. So, we sprayed more bleach, did some more research and put it on our to do list for the weekend after Matt finished finals.

Still praying that the project would be small, Matt purchased materials to be able to cut out the section of drywall and replace it…only to find…more mildew, damp drywall, and the area behind the drywall was also damp! NO! This was clearly not a surface mildew issue! So, Matt disassembled the faucet to the tub/shower to see if he could figure out where the leak was coming from. He was able to find that there was a leak where the house plumbing connected to the hot water faucet stem. Yeah, and it was a fairly significant stream of water that came out when the hot water was on. Who knows how long this leak had been happening!

Post demolition and letting the damp areas air out.

After a couple phone calls to our friend who flips homes, both our dads, and a handyman we know (who eventually came over and gave the same diagnosis Matt found), we had to stop. Because fixing the leak would require taking out the tile from the tub, we knew we were automatically looking at a bigger project than we bargained for. It was two days before Christmas, we had committed to having my family over and making food for Matt’s family Christmas, plus, we needed to try to get quotes from contractors, purchase materials to renovate and figure out if we were going to try to tackle the project ourselves or hire someone.


Both our dads suggested trying to do the demolition and treating the mildew prior to having a plumber or contractors out to quote, so after gathering materials and once all our Christmas festivities were over, Matt did the demo. We chose to do the demolition when we had a couple contractors lined up to come the next day, which was very helpful; we wanted any contractors to be able to clearly see what the issue was, as well as be able to treat the areas with bleach and mildew killer while allowing them to air out. Not knowing how bad or harmful the mildew was/could be for a pregnant woman and a toddler, Eva and I hung out at my parent’s house. Sadly, I didn’t take any true “before” pictures, which I’m slightly annoyed with myself for. Suffice it to say, I was not a fan of the current tile conditions (not that it truly mattered since it was just in the shower) AND that window you see was not exposed.

Thankfully we were happy with the quote offered by one of the contractors and they were able to start the next day. Ultimately we went the contractor route for several reasons: they are professionals, they could get the project completed quicker than we could, and we don’t have a second bathroom. (Side note: if we had another bathroom, I think we would have tried to accomplish this ourselves with our dads if we had the option of another bathroom!). The contractor thought they’d be able to accomplish the project in three days, which was great…we’d have our shower back by the end of the week!

Tiling is finished! Pre grout and plumbing hardware installation.

The contractor’s first job was to tackle the plumbing and eliminate the leak. Unfortunately, most of the plumbing in the walls was cast iron, so it had to be completely removed and replaced. Once that was completed and the new plumbing hardware installed, they were able to work on replacing some of the damaged wood, install the concrete board, and begin tiling. The second day, they finished up the tiling and were going to install a ventilation fan (which didn’t end up happening). The last day they wrapped up the grout and cleaned. Overall, we were so pleased with how quickly they worked and how professionally the project was handled; if you need any recommendations for a general contractor in DFW, we know some guys!

It’s finished!

So, that’s our story, and it was a complete hassle, especially taking place between Christmas and New Years, it wasn’t how we had envisioned our “rest” time. After letting the grout cure for a couple days, Matt sealed the tile and grout and installed a frosted window cling for privacy (and to avoid embarrassment with our new neighbors!). Thankfully though, through it all we had a great opportunity to update the bathroom to our liking-it is in good shape now, and we can actually enjoy the window that had been covered up previously. I’m loving the look of the new space!



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  1. Love your blog! I’m a follower.


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