Saturday, January 12, 2013

bathroom progress: backerboard

Made with Shapely

It's been a while since I blogged about our bathroom.  I think now is the time... especially since we've picked up the pace recently now that life has settled down a little bit.  The bathroom nightmare project started back in April (ugh, has it really been that long?) when we ripped out our moldy shower and after we were done freaking out, we got everything prepped.  Next thing on the to-do list was to make the shower walls with backerboard.  (Disclaimer: this is not a "how you should do it" blog, this is a "how we did it blog".  We went with the advice of the guys at The Tile Shop). 

We originally bought backerboard from Home Depot, but when we talked to our guy Leon at The Tile Shop, he recommended their product for about the same price as the HD. When we looked at their backerboard, we could tell it was higher quality so we decided to go with the Tile Shop brand called Perma Base.  Since the backerboard will butt up against drywall, it needs to be 1/2" thick.  Most backerboard comes in 3'x5' sheets and is very heavy.  We bought seven sheets and lugged them up the stairs, one piece at a time.

This stuff does not cut quite like drywall, it's a lot harder since it's basically concrete instead of gypsum (like drywall).  We got a backerboard cutter from The Tile Shop which helped with this.  Luckily we have a few extra bedrooms so we can spread out and make each room a "project room".  (Which will all eventually be re-done... of course).

And here is Cozy, always near the task-at-hand.  Along with Audrey.

We measured out the shower area and cut the backerboard to size, trying to make as few cuts as possible to use the least amount of backerboard sheets.

Cutting and hanging backerboard is hard work - not only is it hard to cut, it's hard to hang up since it's so heavy.  We secured the backerboard with... wait for it... backerboard screws!

We butted the backerboard up to the niches leaving enough space between to allow for silicone caulk.

We used paint sticks to separate the backerboard pieces to allow the thin set to join the segments together.

Walls!  We finally have walls instead of studs.

We caulked the backerboard/shower pan junction.

Ugh, popcorn ceiling everywhere in this house.  Not sure if we want to tackle that messy project.

This portion of the bathroom reno went pretty smoothly, next up is to tile the shower walls.  Eek!  Let's check out how our check-list is going...

  1. Rip out tile
  2. Remove old shower pan
  3. Remove and clean up mold
  4. Convert two shower knobs (hot and cold) to one
  5. Raise shower head from six feet high to seven
  6. Re-route PVC piping to allow room for shower niches
  7. Raise subfloor with new plywood so new shower pan will fit over drain
  8. Install shower pan
  9. Install and seal drain
  10. Install shower niches to studs
  11. Install backerboard
  12. Caulk between shower pan and backerboard junction
  13. Caulk and seal around shower niches
  14. Learn how to tile
  15. Start tiling
  16. Freak out
  17. Ask yourselves, "why are we doing this?!"
  18. Begin divorce papers
  19. Tile for hours and hours and days on end
  20. Wonder why and how people do this for a living
  21. Shred divorce papers because now we know what we're doing and love each other again
  22. Seal tile
  23. Grout tile
  24. Seal grout 
  25. Install shower door
  26. Caulk corners and seams
  27. Install shower head and knob
  28. Shower for the first time since April
  29. Shower again later that day... just because
  30. Remove vanity
  31. Remove toilet
  32. Remove light, light switches and mirror
  33. Rip out linoleum
  34. Rip out drywall and trim around door and window
  35. Move light switch and electrical outlet because they are in the way of the pocket door
  36. Install pocket door
  37. Drywall
  38. Paint (fun!)
  39. Apply backerboard to subfloor
  40. Tile floor (with less freaking out because we are pros now)
  41. Grout and seal
  42. Install toilet
  43. Assemble and install vanity
  44. Assemble and install medicine cabinet
  45. Update frameless mirror
  46. Install vanity light
  47. Put trim and baseboards back
  48. Crown molding?
  49. Buy fun, new accessories
  50. Bathroom dance party
The longer we use the shower in our other bathroom, the more I want to rip it out and re-do it.  Too bad you can't rush a bathroom renovation.  I hope everyone has a great Saturday - it's supposed to snow here (even though it was 60 degrees yesterday) and I'm pretty excited about it!


  1. Yours blog is very attractive. I like it very much. Thanks for shares

  2. Thanks for all the pictures and details! My husband and I are about to start our renovation this next month in our bathroom and we are doing very similar stuff, this is great info! Good luck with the next steps, cant wait to see how it turns out!

    1. Good luck! It's definitely taken a lot longer than we anticipated.. mostly because we were chicken and afraid to tile. All I can say is go all in and learn as you go!

  3. Impressive! I can't wait to see the tile up on the walls.

  4. Wow! This blog is very attractive by giving the best renovation on Tile Grout..Best information shared by Checklist..


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