An Inexpensive Bathroom Update

We gave David and Tiffany England’s bathroom an inexpensive makeover to improve the look and functionality of the space.

First, we removed the textured popcorn ceiling using a Homax popcorn ceiling scraper.

To prevent mold and mildew, we installed a Broan motion sensing vent fan with light.

We dressed up the bathroom with crown molding, replaced the carpet in the closet with hardwood, and installed accent tile on the tub surround.

Finally, we updated the accessories with a brushed nickel Moen showerhead and grab bar.

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re helping a couple of handy homeowners pick up where they left off, making a better bathroom.

Tiffany England: You know I just kind of got as far as I could go, and it’s just time to bring it all the way through to completion.

Danny Lipford: This house was built in 1979, and David and Tiffany England live here with their two teenage children, Zachary and Erin.

Tiffany England: When we first looked at the house, I didn’t want it. He kept bringing me back over and over and over again, and every room needed wallpaper taken down, new carpet, new paint. And I just kept saying, “No, it just looks like way too much work.”

David England: We have redone the kitchen, we replaced all the counter-tops. We painted the cabinets, we scrapped the popcorn off the ceiling.

Tiffany England: Lots of wallpaper removal.

David England: Put in can lights in the living room, did the stairs. We removed all the carpet on the stairs, put in hardwood.

Danny Lipford: What makes this even more impressive, is that David only has one good arm to work with. I was, paralyzed in a motorcycle accident about 20 years ago, I was right-handed at the time, and had to learn to do everything left-handed.

Tiffany England: I am literally his right hand.

David England: Yes.

Danny Lipford: But the project we’re about to tackle was actually started by Tiffany.

Tiffany England: I recently re-did the bedroom and painted… And painted the bathroom. Brought in a new counter top, painted the cabinets. And you know, I just kind of got as far as I could go.

And I hate the shower doors, no matter how much you clean, they still look dirty. And just, you know, we don’t have a vent fan, and so the ceiling gets mildewey and moldy. And it’s just time to bring it all the way through to completion.

Danny Lipford: So we’re taking a look at the bathroom, to see how we can address those concerns. Tie the flooring into the adjacent closet, and dress the space up a bit. First of all, we can, scrape the ceilings. I knew, you told me before, at one point, that you’re, eventually want all the ceilings done.

Tiffany England: Yes.

Danny Lipford: Lot of people do.

Tiffany England: Yes.

Danny Lipford: So we can, scrape the ceilings, which might to prove to be a challenge if you, since you’ve painted ’em.

Tiffany England: I know, I’m sorry.

Danny Lipford: So we’ll get the dynamite out, and we’ll do what we need to do with that. And then crown molding would be nice in there. And that would kind of help dress it up a little bit…

Tiffany England: Oh, yes.

Danny Lipford: …in both, you know, small areas. And then on the shower door, taking the shower door off, no problem at all.

Tiffany England: Love to do that.

Danny Lipford: Dealing with the holes there. What we could do there is maybe get some accent pieces.

Tiffany England: Okay.

Danny Lipford: Maybe even go and take some others out.

Tiffany England: Okay.

Danny Lipford: To make it really look intentional.

Tiffany England: Oh, okay.

Danny Lipford: And then we can put some decorative accent pieces in.

Tiffany England: Okay, I like that.

David England: I like that.

Danny Lipford: And then as far as the floor going in to the closet, no problem there, you all were smart to save some of that. Once they call…

David England: I just got tired of putting it down.

Danny Lipford: And you didn’t want to take all those shoes out of there.

David England: That’s right, that’s true too. My shoes are all squished over into the corner to make room for all of her shoes. She does has somewhat of a shoe fetish.

Danny Lipford: I’ve got all the information I need. We’ll make a few orders here, and really probably about a week. We get back together, we get you guys involved…

Tiffany England: Great! I’m excited.

Danny Lipford: …and have a lot of fun with it. So when we return, we clear out the rooms. Cover up the floors. And Allen gets David ready to start scraping ceilings.

Allen Lyle: We’ll suit up and then we’ll tackle this.

David England: We’ll tackle it.

Allen Lyle: Dry scrape first.

David England: Oh, okay.

Allen Lyle: Reason why, we’ve got paint in here. So we want to break that paint layer first. And then we’re going to saturate it with something else.

David England: Okay, great.

Allen Lyle: Dry scrape it first.

Danny Lipford: That something else is a formula, Tiffany and I are mixing up in the kitchen.

Tiffany England: So just fabric softener is what you use.

Danny Lipford: That’s all we need for this, and just about a quarter of a cup for the two gallons. And what it basically does is, it keeps the water from evaporating. The key thing is this hot water. All right, we got the stuff ready here.

Allen Lyle: Okay.

Danny Lipford: And she is ready to spray.

Allen Lyle: Good, good, good.

Tiffany England: All right, well what is all that in there? Why, what is all that?

Danny Lipford: That’s a little mold.

Allen Lyle: Mildew.

Tiffany England: Ugh

Allen Lyle: Bubonic plague.

Tiffany England: No, it’s not.

Danny Lipford: That’s probably the worst one I’ve ever seen.

Tiffany England: No!

Allen Lyle: Pretty bad.

Danny Lipford: That’s pretty bad.

Tiffany England: No, it’s not!

Danny Lipford: Once Tiffany sprays a small section over the tub, she moves to the outer room. In the outer room, David is using a handy scraper, we found from Homax, which includes a frame for holding a bag to catch all of the mess.

David England: Yeah, this is really coming off easy.

Allen Lyle: Sure, rub it in.

David England: Mine’s almost done, Allen, what about yours?

Allen Lyle: No comment.

David England: All right, I got mine done, what about you?

Allen Lyle: Man I am so close. I am so close. Close to leaving.

David England: Come on.

Allen Lyle: This is awful.

David England: I thought you were supposed to be a professional. Oh, look at this actually, it…

Allen Lyle: It’s actually coming off. Yeah, I’m actually getting a flat surface in a lot of areas, so… It looks like a little extra time, but we’ll get it.

Joe Truini: I’m remodeling a bathroom. I’m switching over all the fixtures and fitting from polished brass to brushed nickel.

But rather than buy all new door hinges, I simply removed the hinges from the door jamb, and I’m going to use a bench grinder and a wire wheel to buff off the brass finish.

It takes about four or five minutes to get all the finish off. But I’ll show you after just a few seconds how the finish—the brass finish—is off, and you’re starting to get down to the bare metal.

Here’s a hinge leaf I did earlier. The brass is completely gone. I didn’t bother doing the backside, because that’s going to go against the mortise on the jamb.

But when you’re done with getting all the brass off, then you get a clear coat of acrylic. Spray on two coats to prevent them from rusting.

And when you’re done with the hinge leaves, don’t forget you have to clean up the heads of each hinge pin as well.

Danny Lipford: We’re helping David and Tiffany England finish updating their bathroom. And so far, we’ve only had a couple of small glitches.

David England: Well, you should never step in the middle of the toilet seat. You should always step on the rim. You know, our bathroom is rather small, and I was trying to reach over and help scrape the ceiling, and stepped in the middle and broke it.

Allen Lyle: It wasn’t me.

Danny Lipford: The other glitch was that one of the ceilings had been painted.

David England: The ceiling that we had painted with Kilz is much more difficult to scrape off than the other one. The other one came right off. And here I was thinking I was being the pro, and Allen was slacking. But Allen actually had the painted ceiling, and it was very difficult to scrape off.

Tiffany England: He’s still sanding. And now you’re done, so he’s still up working.

Allen Lyle: This is why you wear eye protection, mouth protection, nose protection.

Danny Lipford: Now that the texture is gone, I’m setting up our electrician, Wayne, to add a new Broan bathroom vent fan for David and Tiffany. Besides the light, this one also includes a motion sensor. That will ensure that we remove the moisture in this room that’s causing all of the mold.

While Wayne takes care of the fan, I’m smoothing out the dry wall to get it ready for paint. Meanwhile Allen and David have made their measurements and are getting the crown molding ready to go up.

David England: How… What’s the finer part of doing this? I’ve never been able to figure out the trick.

Allen Lyle: It helps if your mind’s warped like mine. Because you have to think upside down and backwards. So think about it, typically here’s a piece of crown the way it’s on the wall. We’re going to turn this upside down our angles are going to flip to the other side.

And we’re putting this against the fence of the saw with two sides down and here, so you’ve actually got something square to cut off of, rather than trying to cut it like, you know, like it would be on the wall and hold it.

David England: Right.

Danny Lipford: In the middle of all of this, Tiffany’s friend, Shannon, drops by.

Tiffany England: I’m going to sucker you into helping me do all these doorknobs.

Danny Lipford: And the two of them start their own project.

Tiffany England: See, this is why I invite you to come.

Shannon Loeffler: I know, I always start a project when I come to the Englands.

Danny Lipford: Back in the bathroom, the ceilings are done. So Allen and David can begin installing the crown molding.

David England: You said caulk fixes everything, right?

Allen Lyle: Caulk, yeah. That’d do.

David England: You’re going to stand on the toilet seat?

Allen Lyle: No.

Danny Lipford: Some of these corners are not exactly 90 degrees. So Allen’s using shims to pry out the molding slightly, to tighten up the joints. Later the caulk will cover the shims. Now we need to turn our attention to the closet floor. David’s going to show me how to install hardwood, because I heard he’s pretty proficient at it.

Tiffany England: He’s very good at it.

Danny Lipford: So, but the only thing, we’ve got a lot of shoes to remove here.

Tiffany England: Oh, no. no. I don’t… no. Those aren’t shoes, that’s a collection.

Danny Lipford: Actually…

Tiffany England: This is a work of art.

Danny Lipford: There’s only like four shoes that, that, that David has over here. And then there’s…

Tiffany England: He really has only four outfits.

Danny Lipford: Okay, well I’m going to let you do this.

Tiffany England: I’ll clean ’em out.

David England: Now for my pair. All right, that’s it.

Danny Lipford: When the closet is cleared, David and I can remove the carpet, clean up the plywood subfloor, and begin installing the same pre-finished hardwood flooring that was used in the rest of the house.

This isn’t the thin engineered wood that you install with glue. It’s three quarters of inch thick, so we’re using a pneumatic flooring gun to nail it all down. When you strike the plunger, the gun fires a nail through the tongue of the wood, and forces the boards tight against the adjacent one.

Tiffany England: Hi

Allen Lyle: Just in time. All right… I need you to mark some tile. What we want to do is, is decide which tile we want to pull out. But here’s the challenge, and this is why I’m glad you’re here, because I don’t want to make this decision.

Tiffany England: Oh!

Allen Lyle: If you notice, they started with a partial tile.

Tiffany England: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: There’s a full tile here. So nothing you do is going to match up.

Tiffany England: My whole house is crooked.

Allen Lyle: Yeah, well if you take a shower like this. It’ll be fine, everything looks good.

Tiffany England: That’s wrong with us, we’ve been on a slant for 13 years. I thought we were taking this down.

Allen Lyle: You want it down?

Tiffany England: I think you bought me a new one.

Allen Lyle: I’m not… Yes, I did.

Tiffany England: Yeah. I was going to say, “Didn’t you get a new one?”

Danny Lipford: Okay, Shannon says she can cut. You think it’s safe enough to try that?

David England: Hey, it’s your saw.

Danny Lipford: Okay. Be careful, you got safety glasses?

Shannon Loeffler: Yes.

Danny Lipford: No, no, you don’t do that. Tiffany seems to have a habit of roping Shannon into her projects.

Shannon Loeffler: I’ve helped do porches, paint walls, scrape popcorn ceilings. So I always know that there’s a project due when I come to visit.

Danny Lipford: Apparently with good reason, she knows her stuff.

Shannon Loeffler: For Christmas my husband bought me, my very own compound miter saw. And so I’m very comfortable cutting wood, molding, trims, all on my own. I don’t need his assistance anymore.

Danny Lipford: While we finish up this floor, why don’t you check out this week’s best new product?

Jodi Marks: Toilets today have a lot new innovative features, that make it easier for the homeowner. Easier to clean, and also easier to maintain. Well, American Standard has incorporated a lot of those new features with this toilet right here. This is the Champion 4 Max.

Now, first of all, it’s got a two-and-three-eighth-inch trapway, and a four-inch flush valve. What does that mean to you? It just means that it virtually eliminates the ability to get clogged.

But it also only uses 1.28 gallons to flush the toilet, so it’s very efficient. Another thing that it has, it has the EverClean surface inside the toilet bowl. So it’s easier to clean because mold, mildew, and odor causing bacteria cannot grow on the sides.

It also has the ADA approved tall height. And it has a slow-close lid. So these are just nice features that come already compact in this one toilet to give you everything that you would ever need.

Danny Lipford: Tiffany and David’s bathroom is really coming together. The ceilings have been scrapped. The new vent fan and crown molding have been installed. The old shower door has been removed. And Tiffany has identified the tiles, she wants to remove.

Allen Lyle: She’ll put some tape on, she move the piece of tape. Move another piece of tape, put one more up. It’s a lot of fun watching her. Once she decides, hey, I’m ready to take ’em out.

Danny Lipford: Allen’s using a grout-scoring tool, to scrape out the grout before chiseling out the old tile, so that they can be replaced with new ones.

Allen Lyle: Put it on, and give me some ridges like that.

Tiffany England: Okay.

Allen Lyle: And that’s buttering it. I got to tell you, I’m tickled to death. I love it. It looks good. And I like the pattern that Tiffany finally agreed on.

Tiffany England: Okay, last one. All right, this is it. It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, and, you know, I kind of look forward to tackling, tackling the other bathroom.

Danny Lipford: Thankfully, Tiffany’s tub is a neutral white, and it cleaned up really well. In situations where you have an odd color, it’s expensive to replace an entire tub.

A more economic solution is changing the color with a one part spray-on epoxy finish like this one from Homax. Preparation is the key to success with these refinishing kits. The tub surface has to be completely clean before you begin. And because it’s an epoxy, the timing of each coat is very important.

If you follow the directions carefully, and don’t cut any corners. You should have a new finish you can be proud of. Now, back at David and Tiffany’s, it’s time for the last few finishing touches.

Allen Lyle: Just watch, he’ll come in and say something smart.

Danny Lipford: All right, we’ll come in here and do some important stuff. Instead of whatever y’all were doing over there, but this does look pretty good. You did a good job, Tiffany. Really good job on this.

But… All right. We’re upgrading the trim on the plumbing fixtures in the bath tub to polished nickel to cap off the makeover. When you do this, it’s important to know the manufacturer of the fixture, so you can get the trim that fits with what you have. Meanwhile, Allen and Tiffany are busy replacing that toilet seat that fell victim to David’s foot on the first day.

Allen Lyle: David, did you want to keep this or maybe frame it,

Danny Lipford: Or put it out there in this crooked corner.

Tiffany England: Yeah, we could hang it up at the crooked corner.

David England: Yeah, we’ll hang it outside.

Allen Lyle: There you go, hang it in the crooked corner.

David England: The only room that I get to put stuff up in is outside.

Danny Lipford: Besides updating the plumbing fixtures we’re also adding new towel bars, and accessories.

David England: There you go.

Tiffany England: Ok, thank you.

Allen Lyle: I don’t see it.

Danny Lipford: Look at that pretty thing.

Tiffany England: This is kind of like a cartoon house. Oh, very nice.

Danny Lipford: Which end do you want to go in the wall?

Tiffany England: The right end.

Danny Lipford: In addition to the new shower stem, we’re also installing a new magnetic hand held shower head from Moen.

Tiffany England: Oh. Oh, wow!

Danny Lipford: You take it down.

Tiffany England: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: So there’s no hook to break.

Tiffany England: Yes, to break.

Danny Lipford: To break, yeah. Yeah.

Tiffany England: Keyword there. For no, not one hanging down all the time, yeah.

Danny Lipford: That’s really neat, I like it. Once we finish changing the plumbing trim and adding accessories, Allen gets to work scraping the old grout, in the surround, so he can re-grout the whole surface.

This locks in the new tiles and refreshes the look of the surround. While that’s happening, Tiffany begins putting the closet back together. But there seems to be an issue of space.

Tiffany England: He has space in the closet, he’s got ample space for his belongings.

David England: Tiny, tiny space. It’s taken up by your shoes and clothes. I have a very limited amount of space.

Tiffany England: Yes, the garage is your closet.

David England: Okay.

Tiffany England: This is my closet.

David England: I’ll take it. Okay, that’s fair.

Tiffany England: I just cleaned my closet.

David England: So that means whatever…

Tiffany England: Go clean your closet.

David England: But you will not tell me what can and cannot go in the garage.

Tiffany England: As long as my car fits in there.

David England: Okay, that’s fair. I’ll take it.

Tiffany England: That’s all I care about.

Danny Lipford: When the grout is dry, the bathroom is complete. And we can start putting it all back together. While we’re at it, we’ve given Tiffany some Wet and Forget Shower spray to keep the tub and shower looking as good as it does today without tons of work.

You simply spray it on the tub, fixtures, the enclosure even the shower curtain. There’s no scrubbing or wiping. You just rinse it off the next day before or during your shower.

Danny Lipford: When people remodel bathrooms, they often ask if they have to prepare the floor at all before laying ceramic tile. The answer depends on what is beneath the finished flooring or the subfloor.

If the subfloor is a concrete slab, there’s very little preparation necessary. You simply scrape off any old adhesive or paint residue, and clean the surface before applying the thin-set adhesive that will secure the new ceramic tiles.

If the subfloor is wood, it will need to be covered with cement backerboard first. Wood and masonry materials expand and contract at different rates, so the backerboard creates a continuous surface that will move with the tile.

After it is nailed or screwed to the subfloor, the seams are covered with fiberglass tape. Then those seams are covered with thin-set adhesive.

Once all of this is dry, you’re ready to apply more thin-set for laying the tiles, just as you would have on a concrete slab.

Danny Lipford: David and Tiffany’s bathroom renovation hadn’t quite crossed the finished line when we arrived. The new vanity and paint scheme were great, but the shower door was showing its age and the lack of ventilation had made the ceiling a moldy mess. The beautiful hardwood floors in the vanity area stopped at the closet door and the whole bath seemed to be begging for just a little more attention.

Removing the moldy textured ceiling created a smooth more modern look, but installing the new crown molding added an extra level of elegance to the room. And since we added a ventilation fan, the problems with mold should be a thing of the past.

The hardwood floors that have ended early have been extended into the closet giving it a cleaner look and the appearance of a lot more space. The updated trim on the plumbing fixtures disguises the age of this room as does the updated door hardware that Tiffany added.

The shower door started the whole process and with it gone, we had the opportunity to add those black accent tiles to cover the mounting holes. The plan worked perfectly and turned a liability into an asset. In fact, it’s become the focal point of the room.

David England: I was shocked at the difference that replacing a few tiles here or there made in the bathroom, without replacing the whole thing, it really gave it a new look. Working with what we already had in plate, it’s amazing that the transformation and the difference doing things here or there can make.

Tiffany England: I’m really thrilled, I feel like I’ve, you know, really come full circle with the project. You know, when I signed up for the show, I just said, you know, I’m just not done, I’m not done, yet. I want my floors in the closet done and just these shower doors and so, I’m happy to finally feel it’s 100% complete.

Danny Lipford: So how’s that for a solution for removing a shower door in a ceramic wall? I’d tell you one thing, Tiffany absolutely loves it. You know, every week I talk about how much fun we have working with homeowners doing projects on their homes, I tell you what, this week was no different at all.

Tiffany and David worked so hard on their home and even with the physical limitations that David has, he is fearless. This has really been a great project I hope we were able to share with you a few things you can use at your house for those little bitty interior enhancements.

And I hope you’ll be back here, next week to see us on Today’s Homeowner. I’m Danny Lipford.

David England:</strong Yeah. See this is the best game, and you only need one hand.

Tiffany England: No pressure.


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