Bath­room beau­ti­ful

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

HOME­OWNER Dan Rohr de­cided to ren­o­vate his bath­room last Septem­ber be­cause of mould growth and wa­ter en­ter­ing the wall in the shower area. With gusto, Dan pro­ceeded to gut the en­tire room, in­clud­ing floors, walls and ceil­ing. Well into the project life threw an un­ex­pected wrench into the works and Dan had to let the project sit for four months while he re­cov­ered from mi­nor surgery. Luck­ily his home has a sec­ond bath­room that could be uti­lized dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion.

“My girl­friend Celia and I had to re­con­sider our fin­ish date no less than eight times,” said Dan. “I would es­ti­mate a spe­cific job time­frame and my girl­friend Celia would just laugh and say ‘Are you sure it’s only go­ing to take x amount of time?’” Dan said that for the most part each job took dou­ble the amount of time he es­ti­mated.

Dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion Celia tripped on clamps that Dan had hold­ing the floor joist steady and one of her legs went right through the open floor joists. Dan man­aged to gen­tly pull her out but she ended up break­ing two ribs in the process. Along with be­ing up­set­ting, Celia’s in­jury caused fur­ther project de­lays as well. Dan had to main­tain the daily house chores that Celia would have nor­mally taken care of. Luck­ily she’s fine now.

“I was fin­ish­ing til­ing the shower walls when I de­cided to do a trial fit of the shower valve cover plate and han­dle. I quickly re­al­ized that the shower valve was set too far back into the wall to al­low the cover plate and han­dle to be at­tached. I can­not tell you the sink­ing feel­ing you get when you re­al­ize there is noth­ing you can do ex­cept take a ham­mer and smash in the newly tiled walls you just in­stalled a few days ago. All the tile, sub wall and plumb­ing had to be re­done in one of the most com­pli­cated ar­eas of the bath­room,” says Dan. He was able to cor­rect the sit­u­a­tion but his over­sight caused fur­ther de­lays and ad­di­tional costs.

“Fi­nally, we were al­most fin­ished the bath­room and were bolt­ing down the $600 de­signer toi­let that we splurged on,” said Dan. “I go to flush for the first time and the wa­ter just spins in the bowl and doesn’t flush. This goes on and on. I read all the in­struc­tions, trou­bleshoot­ing guide, checked the In­ter­net, and spent the next 10 hours check­ing ev­ery­thing on this toi­let. I re­al­ize that if I mod­ify this toi­let I can make it flush, so we go to the build­ing sup­ply store for parts to start mod­i­fy­ing this thing,” Dan con­tin­ues. “As luck would have it we ran into a neigh­bour who just hap­pens to be a pro­fes­sional bath­room ren­o­va­tor (Rob O’Neill from Pro­fes­sional Bath­rooms). We ex­plained the prob­lem and he tells me to take back the toi­let and get a re­place­ment. Ap­par­ently, be­cause these toi­lets are made from vit­re­ous clay, they can, like any­thing else, have prob­lems right out of the fac­tory. I guess it’s just bad luck that I got a de­fec­tive one,” Dan says, frus­trated.

More than one un­ex­pected prob­lem can arise dur­ing any ren­o­va­tion. This one caused fur­ther de­lays and ex­pense for Dan.

“We go and or­der an­other toi­let but en­counter re­sis­tance from the store when we wanted to re­turn the de­fec­tive toi­let,” Dan con­tin­ues. “At this point you are ready to break the toi­let over some­one’s head. They told us we would have to buy the new toi­let so they can or­der an­other and they would then give me a re­fund when I bring back the de­fec­tive one,” he says. “Now, I have over $1,200.00 in toi­let in­vest­ments.” Would he do it again? When I asked Dan what he would do dif­fer­ently if he had to do it all over again he said jok­ingly, “I’d prob­a­bly just move!”

Dan is ac­tu­ally happy with the end re­sult but of course would have done some things dif­fer­ently along the way to avoid ac­ci­dents and er­rors. The bath­room ren­o­va­tion cost ap­prox­i­mately $15,000 just for ma­te­ri­als. Do­ing all of the labour him­self (with the help of Celia and his daugh­ter Mercedes) saved Dan a lot of money in the end, even with the mis­takes made along the way. work­ing great. We didn’t waste a bunch of paper prod­ucts and it was nice to see ev­ery­one in­clud­ing our six year old son pitch­ing in,” she ex­plained. “I used my slow cooker al­most ev­ery day to cook sup­per. We also uti­lized the bar­be­cue and the toaster a lit­tle more than usual as well as my elec­tric fry­ing pan. We be­gan the job at the end of Fe­bru­ary and fin­ished at the end of March.”

The home­own­ers had a kitchen de­signer help them with their new plan and lay­out to en­sure they had enough stor­age and a good work­ing space. Hav­ing four school-age chil­dren keeps this mom busy in the fam­ily kitchen.

She sug­gested that any­one do­ing a kitchen ren­o­va­tion ob­tain sam­ples of a va­ri­ety of coun­ter­top prod­ucts to see how well they hold up to heat, scratches and food stains. She tested var­i­ous sam­ples to see if they could han­dle the daily use be­fore mak­ing her fi­nal de­ci­sion.

Hav­ing done the de­mo­li­tion them­selves saved this fam­ily money. They did what they felt com­fort­able with and left the rest to the pro­fes­sion­als. The ren­o­va­tion went quite quickly be­cause of the pro­fes­sional in­stall. All in all the bal­ance of do­ing 50 per cent of the work on this project was the per­fect bal­ance for this fam­ily’s needs.

When con­sid­er­ing a ma­jor DIY project there are a few things to take into con­sid­er­a­tion. Firstly, know your lim­its. Do the tasks you are com­fort­able with and seek pro­fes­sional help with more dif­fi­cult as­pects of the job. Know go­ing in there will most likely be un­ex­pected de­lays. Be pre­pared for the stress and ad­di­tional cost just in case. When plan­ning the bud­get, don’t for­get to in­clude items like tool rentals or pur­chases, refuse re­moval ex­penses, din­ing out and off-site stor­age costs. En­sure ev­ery­one’s safety dur­ing the process, pets in­cluded. Paint fumes, con­struc­tion dust and clean­ing prod­ucts can be harm­ful to smaller pets (like birds) and chil­dren.

Do as much prepa­ra­tion and re­search you can be­fore you be­gin to en­sure a smooth un­der­tak­ing. Start with smaller projects to gain ex­pe­ri­ence and con­fi­dence. DIY can be a self-af­firm­ing process if the out­come is suc­cess­ful.

DAN ROHR

Dan Rohr’s girl­friend Celia and daugh­ter Mercedes work on the bath­room. The process took longer than ex­pected, and there were a few in­juries along the way.

DAN ROHR

Mercedes and Celia be­fore the trans­for­ma­tion.

DAN ROHR

The bath­room reno cost ap­prox­i­mately $15,000.

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