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(Mis)adventures in Home Improvement

How owning a home can lead to unexpected problems but manageable solutions

Owning a home can be a rewarding and gratifying experience. But with little professional expertise in home repair, I welcome any chance to learn from my father-in-law (General Contractor)… but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little panic when the unthinkable happens.

It started with some ‘hey this shouldn’t be here’ water and soggy drywall, but in a matter of days, my tub was in need of replacing and we were in need of a fast remedy! The tricky parts came when we needed to protect what wasn’t being worked on—from what was. This meant shielding the carpeting from wet drywall below the bathroom and outfitting our living room with something durable enough for walking and ladders but also liquid. We chose a tough paperboard. We were able to put down two rows quickly and run part of a third just up the wall to completely protect the floor. We went to work and pulled down the wet drywall.

With the downstairs protected and drywall removed, we got ready to remove the old tub and surround. This meant protecting not only the flooring but counter tops from dings and debris. Armed with Masking tape and double-layered, water resistant kraft paper with reinforced scrim, we taped everything down and grabbed a saw.
Photo of a man's hands as he puts protective paper on the surface of a bathroom sink.

The surround came out easier than expected and thankfully the tub wasn’t cast iron, so my father-in-law made quick work of it. The plumber had since arrived and with the old in the trash and surfaces protected, the new tub could be installed. Once installed and all plumbing work completed, the last thing we could do that same day was install the mold resistant green board and tape.

Photo of the bare walls of a bathroom being remodeled.

The most convenient thing in this inconvenient situation was that we began our work late in the week, so the remainder could be done over the weekend. So come Saturday morning, we wrapped up the tape and sanding work to get started on the tile. This was my first time working with tile but sensing my nerves, my father-in-law shared the story of his first, telling me simply started putting them up and when he was done, nothing fell off the wall—so he must have done it right! (We did it right)

Photo of a bathtub in a bathroom that is being remodeled.
With all the tools, grout, dust and debris that had collected over the course of nearly a week, cleanup could easily have been painstakingly difficult but the truth of the matter was once the tools were put away, all that remained was to roll up the water resistant kraft paper, collecting everything inside and bring to the garbage. Aside from some much needed glass cleaner and my wife wanting a fresh coat of paint, this project cleaned up faster than I could have ever expected and could not have done any of it without my father-in-law’s expertise and the tough paperboard we used—proving to me once again that sometimes you have to cleanup before you start.


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