I’m way behind on blogging. I’m like the worst blogger ever. But my husband and kids think I’m a pretty good wife and mom and we’ve been having a great summer, so whatever. No regrets.

“But what about the bathroom?” you say. “Are they EVER going to finish?” you ask.

Nope. We never are. We found an awesome deal on a house we just couldn’t pass up and are moving with just the shower left undone. Just kidding. I can’t believe people actually do that. Finish the project=make way more money.

But this house isn’t about making money. It’s about building a home for our family. (For now.) And profit is not at the forefront of our minds or our driving force. Obviously (or this bathroom would have been completed a year ago).

Life with this mindset is so different than before. It has taken a lot of getting used to (for me), but we sure do love spending evenings and weekends doing things besides home renovations. These babies are growing too fast and I’m soaking up every minute. I can’t even be mad that everything around here takes forever. Whatever. Life’s short. Let’s go to Bricktown.

What?! What kind of blogger am I? A horrible one. Whatever. 🙂

I know you guys must be like, “I don’t even believe her. No way they’ve done this before; they’re so freaking slow!” Guys! We bought six houses from 2002 to 2008. And renovated all but one of them (we later updated that one in 2011-2012).

Whenever I get down on myself and think I’m horrible at this whole thing, I remind myself of 2007. We bought two houses that year AND had a baby. AND I was still working an actual paying job part-time/from home back then. AND that’s the year I started homeschooling. (We also stayed in a hotel for 9 weeks while I was 8 and 9 months pregnant because we sold our house right out from under us before we had another ready to buy, but that’s kind of irrelevant to this story.) So yeah…I got nothin’ to prove. 😉 Whatever.

So…the bathroom…

I think last time I mentioned the master bathroom, all we had left was the shower (and final paint touch ups, of course).

Here’s the before. Well, kinda. This is right when we started demo.

shower before

We took it all the way down to the studs.


There weren’t any changes made to the footprint, but we did raise the ceiling. What was up with the early 80’s? Ceilings were already lower than now and then people would intentionally make them even lower. Why were dropped ceilings ever a thing?

low ceiling raised ceiling

I’ve never poured a shower pan, but the hubs has. He DID NOT want to do it again. Apparently it’s kind of a pain. There are several steps; you have to get the concrete poured perfectly and make sure the slope is correct so the water drains properly. Just lots of work that he hoped to avoid.

Thankfully, it appeared that we had no cracks in the shower pan after tearing out the old tile. But of course we wanted to double check. They sell these thingamabobs…they’re like a drain plug kinda…that go down into the drain pipe and plug it. Then you can see if any water leaks out of your shower pan. If so, you have a leak/crack somewhere.

I didn’t know what size our drain was (and didn’t measure before going to the store), so we bought two.

drain plug

No leaks. Woohoo!

Then it was time to update the plumbing. We originally had separate hot and cold knobs, but wanted to combine those into one. I seriously spent the first 6 months we lived here adjusting the hot and cold water for the entire duration of my shower. Annoying.

This thing is called a mixing valve.

mixing valve

And apparently it is not sold to the public individually. I checked EVERYWHERE and EVERYONE told me they weren’t sold alone, but came in the box when you buy new shower fixtures. The new shower fixtures come with knob(s) and the shower head. I didn’t like any of them sold together. I wanted to be able to buy a knob by itself and a really nice shower head (which CAN be purchased alone).

I can’t wrap my head around this. You can buy so many tiny little plumbing pieces separately. I mean, like aisles full of bins full of little bitty this and tiny little that. Valves, pipes, gaskets, washers, rings, stuff I don’t even know what is.  All kinds of pieces for all kinds of everything you could imagine.

But no mixing valves. Weird. I guess if I was a plumber maybe?  So, we had to buy an entire set when I only wanted the knob/handle. You CAN buy knobs alone, but they’re only to replace what you have (like if you just want to go from brass to chrome). They’re the replacement kind and don’t include any of the plumbing parts. Does that make sense? You have to get the same brand/type that you currently have and you just unscrew and switch them out.

shower handle

And of course you can buy a million different shower heads individually. If your shower arm is still in good shape, you just unscrew the old shower head and screw on the new one. I think people do that all the time, right? Massaging ones, those rain types, etc, etc.

I guess in the past I didn’t have a problem with the entire set that comes with everything all together because I know we’ve done this before. Apparently I’m getting picky in my old age. I don’t remember ever shopping for just a mixing valve. Whatever.

Alrighty, so I bought a mixing valve. Then it was the hubs’ turn. He does all the plumbing around here. Especially when it involves fire.

I didn’t get any pics of this process because we had a neighbor over who wanted to see how to do it, and I didn’t want to be in the way. It’s not really a three person shower, especially when you need room to use a torch. But pretty much you cut the copper pipe to the length you need it to be and you attach the valve, then you heat up the pipe and solder it together. Easy, right? 🙂

The hubs cut out the old hot and cold and added pipe the length he needed to join both together at the mixing valve.

separate valves

Notice that he also taped some metal up behind where he used the torch so that he didn’t set the drywall on fire. Isn’t he smart?

sheet metal

I was able to come in later and get a pic when he was installing the pipe to run up to the shower head. The old one could have been reused, except that we raised the shower head just a bit so we needed a longer pipe.

torch sweat pipe solder

There is a rubber seal and some PVC inside that metal valve; it’s a good idea to pull it out while you “sweat the pipe” (solder copper pipe) so that you don’t melt it. It gets hot!


Once the plumbing was updated for a single shower knob/handle, it was time to prep for tile.

They used to use wire mesh behind tile (sometimes called a mud wall or a floating wall). In fact, they did that for like one hundred years (and some very experienced contractors still prefer it), but hardibacker seems to be most common now.

wire mesh

This shower had the wire base previously, but we decided to go with the cement backer board since it goes much faster and why the heck not? Apparently the wire method will last for a century (grout is less likely to crack), but I’m not too concerned about how this tile is holding up 100 years from now. Nope. I don’t care one single bit. Whatever.

Everyone uses the backer board now anyway. It’s not like we were cutting corners or being cheap.

Carefully measure where your plumbing is and cut for that before hanging the backer board.

cut backer board

The shower isn’t crooked in real life. #photographyisnotmystrongsuit

tile ready

So that left us ready for tile…

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