Lesson Learned #...um...we're up there

Category: Restore & Repair

Lesson learned for today.

When restoring an old bathroom, have the ceramic refinished on tubs, sinks and toilets LAST. Not first.

Originally, we were not planning on doing as much to the first floor bath as we did. But plumbing problems, insulation issues, window issues...everything kept adding up to an extensive gut and rebuild.

Now, when we look back at these original pictures, we have only one question.


Bad idea. To do the bathtub first. Tim from Aquarius even ASKED us about this when he came the first time. He was willing to delay and come back if we were doing more work. (He is such a nice and honest guy.)

We naively and firmly reassured him, "No! No! This is great. We're just going to use these current plumbing fixtures and put up new tile and... really ...everything is fine."

We are such, um....what's the word I'm looking for...hmmm. Newbies? Dunderheads? Goofs? That's sounds like the word...inexperienced, making a big mistake without realizing it. Goofs.

When we realized that more work needed to be done (i.e., gutting the walls, the ceiling, the floor, replacing some plumbing fixtures, replacing floor tile, replacing the window)...I swathed, SWATHED the refinished tub in towels, plastic and a huge canvas army tent.

We learned that--no matter how swathed--sharp tools dropped accidentally from a certain height will chip the porcelain. Again and again. We are also happy to know this before we have had kids. Swathing doesn't protect tubs or kids.

So, we taped together some trash bags and DRAPED the hall door AGAIN.

Okay, so. Though embarrassing to write about this in public, it's important. DO NOT DO AS WE HAVE DONE!

LEARN from our mistakes. That is part of what this site is for.

1. FIRST, take all removable porcelain objects out.

2. NEXT, redo the plumbing, electricity, fans, windows, strip wood, etc.

3. Insulation and walls next.

4. Prepare floor for receiving tile.

5. Then tile walls.

6. Then tile floor.

7. Install porcelain fixtures.

8. Then have porcelain tub reconditioned....LAST!

The extra money we had to spend on this is what my dad used to call "tuition. Try to learn from it and only pay for it once." This story we've told here...consider it something that you won't have to pay tuition for.

p.s. Tim, you "told us so". And you were very nice not to have rubbed that in this morning. Thank you.

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ALWAYS do the lower level work last!! POPS"30"

Pops! Where were you when we needed you last July??!!! :)

Not to diminish the grave calamity that has occurred, but we definitely have the same tub in our house. But ours is still blue. WOW.

Another lesson learned -- if something heavy wants to fall, don't try to hold it up. Get out of the way and let it fall.

I am doing a bungalow bathroom renovation too. my family all hate me, they give me mean looks all the time--- it is week 4 and we are going backwards! week one things were great, the tile, beadboard and walls and ceiling fan were fabulous. then the plumber arrived and now we are in reverse. The walls are open, the house covered with dust, my daughters bedroom looks like a plumbing supply warehouse and we are still brushing our teeth in the kitchen sink. Your website is very comforting, I AM NOT ALONE!


Hang in there Restoration-sister! We DO feel your pain. And it is REALLY nice when it is all over.


Boy, is this my life. I thought this morning I would simply replace the sink and countertop in the bathroom of my 1918 bungalow (the bathroom was remodeled in the '70s, and the less said about that the better [black and yellow "marble" paneling, anyone?]), leaving the admittedly ugly vanity alone for moneypit reasons. Well, this evening, I have NO vanity, no countertop and no sink, because I had to take a sledgehammer to the vanity to simply GET to the plumbing. Which at least now has working shutoff valves, although I've simply taped off the waste drain to keep the sewer gases from driving me from the house. May I scream now? And say how glad I am to see others with the same dilemma?


We have that same duct tape! For that SAME PURPOSE! But it's on the second floor where the threads of the old lead vent pipe rusted away. Nasty.

I think all of us home owners should, right now, stand up and salute the almighty DUCT TAPE. Just think, if it WAS invented in 1942, WHAT ON EARTH did they do before then??? That is painful to think about.



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