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Bathroom Floor Decision

You may remember that we had originally decided to demo everything in the bathroom except for the floor. There were no cracks in the tiles and it seemed to be in decent to good condition. And the tile itself was fairly neutral. Here’s a shot of what the bathroom looked like post-demo:

  Looks like our demo guy didn’t do a good job sweeping up after himself, eh?  But of course, Contractor Steve swept and tidied it all before putting in the insulation, so when I showed up to take a closer look at the tile, I didn’t have to deal with that disaster.

I needed to get a handle on the colors of the current tile so that I could use them as my jumping off point for designing the rest of the bathroom.  If we were going to keep the existing tiles, then they needed to look intentional and cohesive with the rest of the plan. 

  

  
I was relieved to see that the bulk of the tile was grey and the occasional pink ones weren’t overwhelming at all. I thought they could work in a mid-century retro-type of remodel. But (you knew the but was coming), upon closer inspection, I realized there was one major issue: the old bathtub skirt was not straight, but had an extension in the middle. That meant that when we removed the tub, we were left with a not-so-straight line of tile. 

   

  

 

In addition to the cut-out, the new bathtub had a slightly smaller footprint than the old tub. So with the new tub in, there would be a 3/4″ gap near the ends and an almost 2.5″ gap in the middle. No Bueno. 

  

Contractor Steve and I brainstormed for a while on possible solutions to fill the gap: use mastic to raise the level up and cut larger tiles down to size to fill the gap; use small mosaic tiles to piece together in the space; or even go to a stone place and have a custom piece of marble cut to size. We ended up deciding to get some small mosaic tiles and I offered to do the tedious work of piecing them into that narrow space. 

  
With the decision made, I knew I needed to take some detailed pictures so that I could find something that would fill the gap in a coordinated, purposeful way. 

   
   
And then, I slept on it. Fretted some. Googled mid-century bathroom renovations to see how others had solved similar problems (found nothing btw). Fretted some more. Scolded myself for fretting so much over a bathroom floor in a house that we wouldn’t even be living in. But the scolding didn’t work. I just didn’t feel right about the decision. And then I talked to my sister who raised the very valid point: ‘the bathroom is so small, how much more would it really cost to do a new floor? You’re making everything else new in the bathroom but then you’re going to have an old floor? Just rip it out and start fresh!’

So Mr. Bunches and I talked about it. I remembered that Young House Love had torn out their bathroom floor in their first house, and so I reread their post and made Mr. Bunches read it too. Here’s a shot of their bathroom Reno progress:

  
  
 In summary, they recommended renting a demo hammer from a hardware store and said it could be done in a few hours.  And this was one of their first DIY projects so it was back in their green days. If they could do it, then so could we. And thus Mr. Bunches was convinced! The floor was coming out!

He rented a demolition hammer from Home Depot for $60/day (only $40 if you returned it in 4 hours) and he got after it. In the end, he got it done in less than 4 hours and we saved an extra $20. But don’t get me wrong, this was tough, tough work. He was sore for a few days afterwards, so don’t think I’m saying this was all kittens and rainbows. But it was definitely worth the effort. 

   
    
    
 
We’re both really happy with the decision to take out the floor and I think the final product will look that much better for it. Now that the bathroom is empty, the real progress is underway. Up next, a bathroom mood board . . . 

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