Since the completion of putting the tiles in place, we have made some big strides towards finishing the master bathroom. The first thing we tackled was putting our shower panel in place.
You may remember that this shower panel gave us a lot of headaches with the permit inspector. In the end, we won the battle with the inspector, so it was fine to put the panel in place. We knew that the panel needed to hang on brackets that are screwed into the wall, so before we put the drywall up, we installed a horizontal 2 by 4 at the heights we would need to screw in the two brackets. Now that the tile was in place, we need to drill through the tile in order to screw in the brackets. Drilling through tiles requires a special type of drill bit. We needed to do this in the last bathroom remodel when installing the pedestal sink. We bought the perfect size drill bit (a little wider than the screw because we learned through experience that tile does not give like wood does) and got to work. Drilling through tile is long and tiring. Jim did the majority of the heavy lifting while I sprayed water on the tile during the drilling (trying to recreate a wet saw type drill). We ended up putting three brackets in place (two on the top, one on the bottom), so ensure the panel stayed in place on the wall. We also had to hook up the hoses to the water supply and make sure there was no leaking. At first, we did this before screwing on the brackets (so we could see exactly where the brackets needed to be. The problem was the panel had to be away from the wall while we drilled. We came up with an apparatus to hold the panel in place. After the first bracket, we disconnected the shower panel to screw in the rest. The grout we used on the tile has a special grout boost that is not supposed to get wet for 10 days after installation. Therefore in order to test the shower panel, we grabbed a bucket and a bunch of towels. It worked! Success!
The next step towards a functional bathroom was installing the toilet. We bought the same toilet we installed in the downstairs bathroom since we liked it. Therefore, putting it together was pretty easy. The only hiccup we encountered was that a regular size wax ring (what you put between the toilet base and waste pipe to make an air tight seal) was too short. With the extra height of the mortar and tile, the wax ring was not sealing. Luckily, Home Depot sells extra large wax rings which worked perfectly. After a few easy steps, the toilet was installed and working!
We already had the vanity in place, but we needed a counter top. We had decided on a vessel sink which we already had, so we had planned to get a granite counter top. Since it was such a small space, we thought we could get a discount on the granite slab we needed. If it was extra granite from a previous job, the company wouldn’t have much use for it. We also believed we could install it ourselves, so all they had to do was finish one side and cut out two holes. After going to two places and getting really high estimates, we went back to the place that did our kitchen counters (I’m not sure why Jim wanted to try the other places first since we had a good experience in the kitchen). They gave us a granite counter top for more than half of what the other places quoted us. We also liked the color granite better. A few days after we ordered it, we were able to pick it up. The literal picking up of the granite wasn’t super easy, but between Jim and me, we were able to get the granite out of the trunk of his car and up to the master bathroom. Next came the hard part. The available space above the vanity is 36 1/8 inches. Therefore, Jim had the granite guys cut the slab to 36 inches. This gave us some wiggle room, but too much space that there would be a huge space between the wall and the granite. Well…we thought it gave us some wiggle room. Turns out, an 1/8 inch doesn’t leave much room to wiggle. The problem was that the walls were not perfectly straight, so the granite did not just slide into place. It took a lot of effort to get the granite on top of the vanity. The wall ended up taking a serious beating. Every time we had to shimmy the granite one way, the wall would get ripped up a little. The granite slab got stuck a few times, but Jim was able to dislodge it every time. After about 30 minutes, we got the granite slab in place. We had a counter top!! The wall was hurting a little, but with a little TLC (spackle, sanding, and paint), it would be like new again.
Once we had a counter top, Jim was able to get to work installing the vessel sink, faucet, and sink plumbing. It took some effort tightening the pipes under the sink to make sure there was no leaking, but overall, Jim didn’t have any problems. The sink was now completely functional!
We are getting close to finishing the master bathroom! Can’t wait for the final reveal!