Emily Winters: Bathroom Renovation, Day 10

You get to a certain point in the renovation process when two things happen: You feel like you’ve … been … working … forever, and you realize that in order to keep making good progress, you have to work on 5 different things in the room in one day. I’ve been writing this series for 7 weeks now, so you’re probably thinking that we finished long ago, but in real life, our 10th day of active room reconstruction took place in mid-late-January … about 30 days after I began gutting the room. We’re doing this renovation on days when we don’t have to work or have other plans; a DIY-lovin’ life needs to be a balanced life.

The things I was most excited about doing (like the shopping, and the shower tiling) were behind me, and I knew that I had a bit more tedious work to perform before I could actually install other exciting things, like a vanity and toilet (I whole-heartedly miss that running water). Remember how I thought this would take 3-4 days beginning to end? I was so wrong. Or I am so slow.

Underlayment progress.

What I’m getting at is, do you want to come over and help me install some floors while I take a break and go get some lunch? No? Ok, we’ll eat dry turkey sandwiches and leftover cous-cous again. Progress is progress.

Keep on reading to what we accomplished on Day 10!

The vinyl resilient concrete tiles are burning a hole in my … guest bed (convenient current storage area). I’ve been really, really excited to get these tiles installed, because I think now that the shower is done (and almost ready to use), the new floor should pull the room together nicely, and take it from whoa to wow! But before I was able to break into the tiles, I had to clean up the floor and prepare the necessary underlayment. This underlayment had been leaning against the wall in my dining room for a month, and it was about time that it made it’s way upstairs. The underlayment installation mean that tiling the bathroom floor was inevitably close, so I was understandably excited about this step of the job. I was also tired of walking on plywood and ragged floors that had been beneath the old foor.

It was an unseasonably warm day for January in New York when I got to ripping the underlayment apart, so we set up shop on the deck.
In an effort to cover as much of the floor as we could with one single board, I started out by carefully measuring the floor, from the end where the toilet sits, back towards the entry where the vanity would sit. The 4′x8′ board was long enough to extend all along the front of the shower; it’s always nice to not have seams in a place where you’re stepping or bouncing on daily (not that we all bounce in and out of the shower and in front of the toilet, but it’s a common place to stand and walk around, and loosened staples on seams would really compromise the floor situation).
Using our drywall t-square to create long, straight lines, we employed the circular saw and jigsaw to make all necessary cuts. Cutting the first board to size was initially intimidating (I couldn’t mess up without going to buy another board that can only be brought home loosely tied to the top of the Jeep). Board retrieval itself was quite the adventure on a snowy evening. I digress. Cutting the hole for the toilet plumbing was a little nerve-wracking.
Making room for the toilet plumbing in the underlayment.
Having repeatedly measured for this plumbing hole and the incoming pipe that provides toilet water, we rocked, because the cut was accurate on the first try. That’s pure Pete pride in this next picture.
Underlayment fits. Best feeling ever.
Cutting the last pieces of underlayment to size were quick and easy in comparison. When it came time to install, we used the air compressor and staple gun to blast 1″ staples on every single “X”. The staples are the only thing holding the underlayment in place, no glue, no adhesive, but considering the hundreds of staples that we popped into place, it should be well-set for years to come.
Stapling the underlayment.
The installation was very quick and easy with the gun. We followed this tutorial offered by the SurePly manufacturers with no problem. Lots of good tips, actually!
We doubled up the staples for added reinforcement around the entire perimeter of the room and along the cut edge of every board.
Doubled up on the staples along the perimeter of the room and on all underlayment seams.
With the underlayment in place, I pounced on the opportunity to prime the floor while it was clean. The primer, a VOC-free floor enhancer shown here, is designed to help self-stick tiles adhere to flooring, and was especially advised for me as I was installing directly over brand-spankin’ new underlayment. At $5, it’s worth the investment to keep those tiles in place really well.
Underlayment prep.

The instructions advised me to paint the enhancer on the floor with a thick-nap roller, not unlike how you’d paint the walls. Applying it evenly and not giving it much opportunity to puddle, I laid it on thick. Half of the bottle went further than you’d think, the liquid was like milk, not like paint. I have half of the bottle of this primer left (for future tiling projects, if this one here goes well).

Underlayment prep.

I rolled myself right out the door, and left the room for 3 hours to let it cure and set.

Underlayment prep.

You really wouldn’t know by looking at it that the finished floor that any treatment had been done, but it feels a little different. A little more sealed than it did when it was raw, and I guess that’s what helps the self-stick tiles adhere so well.

And speaking of curing and setting, I finished the shower tile too. After the grout had set for 24-hours, I cleaned up the surface of the tiles with a dry rag and then conditioned the exposed grout to repel stains and water. I may have been squeezing the bottle with the brush a little too hard, as I had a lot of over-run down the walls into the tub, but I wanted that tile to be sealed. Really sealed. I went through two bottles of the stuff, whereas I thought from the instructions that one bottle would have been enough for the whole shower.
Grout sealant.
After Day 10, I was ready for two things:
Flooring! And Showering! Both of which happened on Day 11. Check back next week, I’ll look much cleaner in the photos.
Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.

28 Responses

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  2. Patriot Timber says:

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  3. [...] Leaned on and learned about underlayment. [...]

  4. [...] the door trim, I looked for something even thinner and pulled some pieces of leftover subfloor from Day 10 of the bathroom renovation to do the trick. Cut with the circular saw into strips, I used the nail [...]

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  9. [...] that this time last winter, I was busy cutting bathroom floor underlayment to size on my deck (I wrote about it in this post, if you want to blast into the past for a [...]

  10. [...] on and learned about underlayment. If you like it, share [...]

  11. Patricia says:

    Looks like a hard job made alot easier

  12. [...] Day 10 was all underlayment prep and came across like calm before the storm, Day 11 was the hurricane. [...]

  13. Ginny says:

    Emily, so glad I found you. We are going to undertake a 5×8 bathroom. I want to take the tub/shower out and just put a shower stall in and hope to have enough room for a lining closet. Would it have been easier to use biggier tiles then the subway tiles you used? I was also wondering where you are at on your the budget.

  14. LaQuetta says:

    I think that it is a bottle capper and corker.

  15. Liza says:

    It looks great Emily! Over the years of DIY I have learned to quadruple the time I think it will take to complete. I finally have the plumber rerouted into the wall and the tub installed. I had to rework the drain from the tub to the existing waste pipe which took a full day. I work full time as well so it is getting done in bits and pieces. I got the shelves framed in the shower and started on the vapor barrier. Hopefully by the end of the weekend I will have cement board up and focus on the tiling. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

    • emily says:

      You're making awesome progress, Liza! How are your shelves? On the long side or the end? I'm so curious how other people build them now.

  16. Linda says:

    Oh, my. My husband and I can relate to the flooring issues. We did the exact same thing to the floor of one of our bathrooms right before xmas. I wanted to make one bathroom "good enough" before we gut the other unusable one completely. Both are in dire need of reno. Thanks for this blog. It's inspirational!

  17. marty says:

    It's nice to have other parts of your house return to "normal" while the project returns to "normal". I think we went through about 10 years of renovation at our place. After two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, bedroom, laundry room, new windows and doors house-wide, soffit and a fresh coat of paint—almost 12 years in our home, we finally have the feeling of it being "done".

    I think the kitchen is needing an update now though.

    Hang in there, it's looking great!

  18. [...] thing at a time. On Day 10, we came a whole leap closer to being able to have a finished bathroom floor once again (and [...]

  19. LISA J says:

    Can't wait to see the finished product!!


About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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