Friday, May 24, 2013

Refinishing a Cast Iron Pedestal Sink

We scored an antique cast iron sink at a salvage warehouse for $20.  That seemed like a great deal even though the sink had considerable rust around the overflow.  For $20, it was worth a shot to try to refinish it ourselves just to see if maybe it would work out.

Since we needed to refinish our craigslist claw foot tub, we decided to use the sink as practice before refinishing the tub.

We used the Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit.  The prep work was quite tedious.  It involved scrubbing and sanding the sink.  We followed the instructions to a T.

Sink prepped and ready for refinishing.

Prepped and ready for refinishing.

We used a foam roller for the sink and a small artist brush to get into the little places where the roller would not go.  We put 2 coats of the Rustoleum product on the sink which is what was recommended.  Overall, it turned out pretty well.  The roller worked really well.  There were no brush marks or roller marks at all, and it was not nearly as messy as spraying it would have been.  However, there are a few lessons that we learned.

The important points we learned from this are:
  1. Use as thin of a coat as possible; otherwise, you will have runs in the paint. 
  2. It would have been better to do 3 coats instead of 2. 
  3. Do not try to correct any mistakes.  The paint is somewhat self-leveling and the mistakes will mostly correct themselves.
  4. Refinish the underside of the lip of the sink as well.  We did not think to do that and plan go back to do it.  The sink is rusty.  So when water drips down the underside it makes rusty water stains.
Refinished sink

Refinished sink

Friday, March 15, 2013

Craigslist to the rescue!

While we were waiting for weeks to hear back from the tub company about our defective acrylic tub, we really needed to move on and finish the bathroom.  On a whim, we decided to look for another tub on craigslist.  And we found an original historic cast iron claw foot tub for $150 about an hour's drive away.  That was a great price, and the tub seemed to be in great condition from the pictures.  So we decided to check it out; it turned out to be a great buy.

Some rust on the side of the tub.  This is expected for a tub this old.

Very little rust around the drain and faucet.
Tub was painted on the visible side which protected that side from rust.

The underside of the tub shows that it was made by Kohler on February 19, 1929.
To save money, we decided that we will try to refinish this tub ourselves using a $25 tub refinishing kit.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bathroom Fixtures

Once the wainscoting was installed and the window and door trim was painted, we can now move onto the bathroom fixtures.

We got the Hemnes cabinet and Rattviken sink at Ikea, and we thought that was a good match for this bathroom.  The 40 x 19 inch size was perfect.  Its narrow profile does not block access into the laundry room.

Water saving efficient toilet.
Since the most logical place to put the tub in this bathroom was next to the window, we decided to go with a claw foot tub and shower.  We like the old fashioned look in a historic house, so we decided to get a reproduction acrylic claw foot tub.  We thought it would be easier to install and care for than a heavy cast iron tub.

Acrylic reproduction claw foot tub.
The tub looked really great in its location.  We placed it where it was supposed to go, and then we tried it out by stepping into it.  The acrylic tub flexed and made loud squeaking sounds as we walked in it.  It was shocking how the bottom of the tub was so flexible. 

Also, the tub turned out to be much lighter than expected.  It was possible to move it just by leaning against it.  Before purchasing the tub from the online company, I called and asked about its weight.  I was told that this tub was heavy enough, so that it would not have to be attached to the floor.  However, this was definitely not true.  It is not feasible to have this type of tub attached only by the water pipes and drain.  We would have to find a way to attach the legs to the floor to keep it in place.

We decided to call the manufacturer of the tub to find out about the flexible bottom.  The bottom was so flexible and so noisy that it had to be defective.  No one could sell this as a reasonable product.  After contacting the company's support line and sending them videos of the tub flexing when pushed with one finger, we were told we would be issued a refund.  Apparently, the acrylic layers which were glued together had separated, and that caused the flexing and the squeaking sounds.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Privacy in the Bathroom

The bathroom window will be right in front of the bath tub.  Privacy is very important in the bathroom, especially since our neighbor's kitchen window looks directly into the bathroom window.

I've always loved the look of stained glass and thought about replacing the window glass with stained glass, but due to the high cost decided not to do it.  I did find a very interesting product that mimics the look of stained glass with a window film.  The window film is made by Artscape, and it is less expensive than buying a decent quality blind for the window.  So I decided to give it a try.

You can see the neighbor's kitchen window though the bathroom window.  No privacy at all.

Artscape window film is available in many designs.  I chose the magnolia pattern.

Bottom window pane done.

Final result
It was super easy and fast to install.  And it looks great - very much like a real stained glass window.  It looks a lot better than blinds would look here.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wainscoting in the Downstairs Bath

Once the tile was done, we were ready to install the wainscoting.  We decided to go with a PVC wainscoting due to the exposure to water and to humidity in the bathroom.  The PVC wainscoting set had matching base molding and chair rail molding.  And best of all, it did not need to be primed or painted.  To attach it to the walls, we used construction adhesive and also nailed it with 18 gauge nails with our nail gun.

Overall, it came our really well.  And it looks like painted wood, so its hard to tel that it is PVC.

We added plinths to the door ways and base molding in the laundry room.

Base molding in the laundry room

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tiling the Downstairs Bathroom

Now that the painting is finished, we proceed to the tile.  We chose a porcelain tile from Daltile that resembles slate with its look and texture.  The tile has gray, blue, and beige tones and matches the blue paint well.

We used a gray sanded grout which accented the tiles well.  The grout dried a little lighter than we expected, but we are happy with the color.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Painting the Downstairs Bathroom

We to paint the bathroom prior to laying the tile floor just in case we spilled or dripped some paint on the floor.  We decided to go with a robin's egg blue paint color, and we only painted the top of the walls.  We will use wainscoating on the bottom half of the walls.

Painting the ceiling white turned out to be a real pain because we used gray primer all over the walls and ceiling.  Tinting the primer gray was recommended by the guy who worked at the paint store.  Four coats of white paint later, the ceiling was white.  It only took two coats of blue to cover the walls.  Needless to say, we will not be using gray primer again.

Overall, we are quite happy wtih how it turned out.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Priming the Downstairs Bathroom

We want to finish all the plumbing related things in the house.  In order to do that we will need to finish the bathrooms and kitchens.  We will need to install the tile floors before we can install the bathroom fixtures.  We decided to prime and paint the walls prior to installing the tile floor in case we spill or drip any paint.

So next we decided to work on the downstairs bathroom.  We primed all the drywall with a drywall primer.  Hopefully, gray will be easy to cover up with paint.  The guy at the paint store suggested we tint our primer gray.

We realized that it is a good idea to scrape and remove the paint from wood trim/molding around the windows and doors prior to painting.  The act of scraping could damage the paint, so it makes sense to scrape first.  This was quite a chore.  We tried the Silent Paint Remover first, and it didn't work so well.  We finally used a product called Soy Gel, and that worked pretty well.  After applying the Soy Gel, the paint was sticky and gummy and took a long time to get it scraped and cleaned up.  We were unable to remove some of the really old paint which never got gummy after applying the Soy Gel, so we decided to just leave it.  Overall, the Soy Gel worked fairly well, but was still very tedious and took a very long time to do.  So we may need another plan for the rest of the windows.  Otherwise, it will take us years to scrape over 30 windows plus many door frames in this house.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hanging the Ikea Cabinets

Once the cabinets were built and the rail was mounted, we hung the upper cabinets.  The walls are not plumb at all, so it will be very difficult to line up these cabinets and to make sure they are level and plumb.  We will have to use a lot of shims.

Upper kitchen cabinets are hung on the wall.

The ceiling beam will be over the refrigerator.

We placed the island cabinets where we will build the kitchen island.

Next we will install the bottom cabinets and see how they line up with the top ones.  The walls are not plumb, so its possible the bottom and top cabinets will not line up exactly. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Building the Ikea Cabinets

The downstairs kitchen is huge, so we had lots of cabinets to build. We will also be building a kitchen island with a sink and dishwasher.

We had lots of practice putting together Ikea cabinets, so we are pros at building these now.

The rail is installed on the walls to hand the upper cabinets.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tile Floor in the Downstairs Kitchen

Now that the walls and ceiling are painted in the kitchen, we can work on the tile floor.

Kitchen floor all cleaned and prepped for tile.

This is what we finished in one day.

We finished the rest of the tile the next weekend.

Cut outs for the HVAC vents.

Then the next weekend we did the grout.

Grout dried and we added curtains for privacy.
The next step is to start installing the kitchen cabinets.  Once again we are using Ikea cabinets, so we need to build them first.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Painting the Downstairs Kitchen

Once the upstairs kitchen was mostly done, we decided to start on the downstairs kitchen.  We wanted to prime and pain the downstairs kitchen prior to installing the tile.

Before the walls were primed.

Before the walls were primed.

After the walls were primed.

Primed walls and ceiling painted white.

The walls were painted with a light green paint.

Light green paint on the walls.  The window and door print will be painted later.

We will eventually add crown molding where the walls meet the ceiling.
Next we prepare to install the tile floor in the kitchen.