Basement Bathroom Mini-Project, Part 1

Our house has a crummy little bathroom in a corner of the basement. We decided to try and spruce it up a bit. We didn’t want to spend significant time or money on this, so we consider this mostly just a band-aid project.

The bathroom is not original to the house, it was added sometime later, the key giveaway being that you can see where the original concrete basement floor was busted up to run the new drain pipes under the slab. It was patched particularly poorly. The completely uneven floors are very problematic, and are the primary reason we pursued a band-aid, rather than something we could really be proud of.

I wrote about this bathroom once before. When we bought the house in 2011, the electrical panel was located in the bathroom, and we were required to relocate it. We had to mess around with the electrical a bit more that one time we built a garage. When we started this project in mid-November, this is what the bathroom looked like:

This spacious bathroom features both a toilet and a sink.

This spacious bathroom features both a toilet and a sink.

The walls were an unlovely sky blue, with shit (literally?) splattered all over them. There were no base mouldings anywhere in the room. There used to be a drop ceiling, and I despise drop ceilings, so it came out and revealed a lot of unsightly stuff, including the tops of the drywall which were poorly finished and uneven.

Top of drywall is an ungodly mess. And wires everywhere.

Top of drywall is an ungodly mess. And wires everywhere.

Here is a hole in the drywall where the electric panel used to be.

drywall needs patching.

drywall needs patching.

The first order of business was to patch this hole in the drywall, and install a jamb extension on the door to remove a weird jog in the wall and to allow mouldings to cover gaps around the doorway. We also threw a coat of primer on all the walls.

Patched Drywall

Patched Drywall. Primed walls.

Door jamb extension, 0" reveal.

Door jamb extension, 0″ reveal.

Full door jamb extension.

Full door jamb extension.

Lots of wires. This wall has some lovely paneling.

Lots of wires. This wall has some lovely paneling.

I talked my wife into giving the open joist look a shot, which means we won’t be putting a new ceiling in here, we’re just going to expose all the ugliness, clean it up as best we can, and go with it. I mentioned more about this strategy when I wrote about painting the other room in our basement. But I did really want to install base and crown moulding to finish off the walls nicely.

Here is our progress so far. All the mouldings have been installed and have one coat of paint. The crown mouldings we’re using are really just identical to our base mouldings but upside down.

Crown Mouldings and Open Joists

Crown Mouldings and Open Joists

Crown Moulding.

Crown Moulding.

Toilet Removed. Base Moulding Installed. Goofy Pipe Remains.

Toilet Removed. Base Moulding Installed. Goofy Pipe Remains.

Door & Crown Mouldings

Door & Crown Mouldings

Door & Crown Mouldings

Door & Crown Mouldings

It took a lot of messing around to get the mouldings on, with the floors so wonky, and with goofy things like the pipe sticking out of the corner in the middle of the base moulding. Still left to do is to finish painting, clean up the wires (many of which will just be removed), paint the floor, & reinstall the toilet. Hopefully we’ll wrap this project up before Christmas.

Masonry and Concrete

A lot of new things happening around the exterior of the house these days. None of it by me. I am too lazy to get off my ass, so I hired a couple of guys to do some masonry and concrete work. Take a look at the photo below. At least two new things are visible here – new service walkways out to the sidewalk and around the side of the house, and the top quarter of our chimney has been replaced.

New things. New walkways. New top half of chimney.

New things. New walkways. New top half of chimney.

First, the chimney – it was just sort of falling apart and needed repaired. This felt like throwing money down the drain since we never use the fireplace (and have no intentions of ever starting)… but I guess it needed to be done. The chimney still vents our water heater and furnace. I’m not blown away by the brick match, but the mason insisted that the greenish hues in our current brick just isn’t matchable anymore. Oh well.

Chimney Repaired.

Chimney Repaired.

While he was here, I twisted his arm into doing a quick stucco repair. This is the sort of job you’ll never be able to get a professional to do unless they’re also replacing half your chimney.

Stucco repair.

Stucco repair.

We ended up replacing all of the service walks on the property. The old ones were fine, but had sunk significantly since installed and resulted in drainage issues. When we replaced them, we made sure to pour them nice and high next to the foundation so that we had a chance to slope the ground away from the house. Here’s an example. Back in 2012, I posted about doing some work on the flower beds in front of the house. I posted the following picture – notice how much of the stone pavers are showing. At least 6″ – Maybe 8″.

little wall

little wall

Now here’s a similar angle – that whole wall of pavers we constructed has been eclipsed by the new walkway. We’ll have to come back through with some top soil and cover some of the edges of these new walkways.

New sidewalk. Notice how high it is compared to the ground.

New sidewalk. Notice how high it is compared to the ground.

Another thing the mason did while he was here was to patch the foundation parging in a couple places (it’s the discolored part of the foundation visible in this photo):

New sidewalk around house.

New sidewalk around house.

All that is great, but the exciting part is in the back yard. Remember after we built the new garage but never bothered to build a sidewalk to our back door? For the past year, this is what our back yard has looked like – small and crumbling porch and stairs, the first step was super-tall, and the walkway was old pavers rather than concrete (and my daughter KP always made sure there was a pile of saw dust on each and every paver…).

Terrible Walkway.

Terrible Walkway.

But now, HELLO NEW PORCH AND PATIO

New sidewalk from garage to back door.

New sidewalk from garage to back door.

New steps, porch, patio.

New steps, porch, patio.

Finally, I had the concrete guys construct a small valley gutter around the garage to help with drainage issues. The general rule of thumb about drainage is that it should always drain away from buildings rather than towards buildings. But that’s not really possible in our case, especially since the ass who designed our garage (that was me, by the way) probably should have poured the garage slab about six inches higher than it was. Oh well. Too late now. Also, there’s a tree in the middle of our yard that doesn’t really let us play with grades at all. Short version is, we’re draining the back yard towards the garage, so I wanted a bit of a gutter to help divert water around the structure. I dunno if it will work or not. We’ll find out when it rains. Here are some pics.

Valley Gutter - Curb to divert water around garage.

Valley Gutter – Curb to divert water around garage.

Valley gutter around garage.

Valley gutter around garage.

Valley gutter around garage.

Valley gutter around garage.

The next step is to order a truckload of top soil and fill in the spaces around the new concrete and regrade the yard a bit. I’ll keep you posted.