broken dremel blade

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… or, if we put it in a nicer way: Getting Things Crossed Off the Primary Bathroom Checklist.

bathroom checklist

I had an incredible weekend of progress in the primary bathroom. It was sweaty, stressful, and gross. I got into a yelling match about crown molding (Sandra, your templates are the best thing ever… thank you!!!). I even accidentally put the hose for my shop vac in backwards so it became a blower instead of a vacuum at one point (which means I then had to suction up dirt from more places than I started with). But overall, my primary bathroom has started looking less like a messy dumping ground of DIY tools and — well — more like a bathroom.

master bathroom - tools all over the new floor tile

The smelly sewer pipe in the floor suddenly became a toilet. The floor is both grouted and has actual baseboards. The walls have been patched and to no longer look like they’re melting. Crown and caulking? More than 50% done. SO MUCH multitasking.

toilet in hallway

The reveal is coming soon (and in parts, actually… the shower reveal is first!), but there are also lots of small tips that I wanted to cover in a quick post. While they’re not really as glamorous as seeing all of the decor and everything come together, smaller tasks can still cause a lot of delays when trying to achieve a finished remodel. I’ve created a few pinnable images in this post, sort of like a roundup, so if you feel the need to save these separately, feel free.

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5 small (but important) bathroom fixes

1. How to remove Redgard from drywall

In  hindsight, it would have been better to have used painter’s tape to not paint the Redgard (the waterproofing membrane… see here for details on that) too far out on the wall. But I wasn’t 100% sure what the pattern would be for the tile until I started lining up the first few rows. That also meant I didn’t know where (visually) I would stop tiling on either side of the tub surround.

tiling master bathroom tub surround with long white subway tile

As a result, once the tile was installed, I needed to remove the remaining exposed Redgard from the drywall (it is a little thick and rubbery, so the texture would have been an issue when I needed to paint over it). So, I scored the line where the tile trim met the drywall and then used some elbow grease to get as much of the Redgard off the wall. I then had to patch any gouges with joint compound, but as we all know, I already have lots of practice with that.

score and scrape redgard off wall

2. Patch drywall behind the toilet

Technically, this is just a tip rather than a fix, but worth noting. Drywall is a little difficult to reach with a toilet in the way, so before the new toilet could go in, I had to also patch that part of the wall (wallpaper had previously been removed). The only upside to having repaired drywall as much as I have is that now, I can get a really smooth finish with joint compound after a single attempt (I usually do two coats because I’m a perfectionist, but since this was behind the toilet and I just wanted it done, I got as close as I could with one pass and called it “good enough”). Don’t forget to seal! (I prefer this one.)

patching drywall - before
This is the before, obviously.

3. How to fit baseboard next to a tiled tub surround

I did my best to try to plan exactly for the base molding to fit, but something in my measurements wound up slightly off on one side. As a result, the tile extended just a little too far down and ran into the baseboard, so I had to cut a little of the baseboard with a Dremel (way easier than trying to correct the tile… the original baseboards had also been cut under the old tile, so I figure I’m at least at the same professional level of the dudes who built my house… in terms of getting measurements wrong).

trim baseboard to fit tile

Which I then broke knocking it into my ladder… because that’s what happens in this house, and in this bathroom. Ha.

broken dremel blade

4. How to extend a toilet flange for new tile

This bathroom originally had linoleum, but adding a layer of backer board and new tile meant that the old flange for the toilet sat lower than the rest of the floor. This would become a problem later when trying to create a tight wax seal with the new toilet, so the best and easiest fix was to extend the flange with a spacer to be more flush with the new tile thickness. This is a pretty easy thing to do since home improvement stores carry spacers for cheap, and it takes just a few quick turns of a screw.

how to extend toilet flange on a tile floor

5. How to solve baseboard/tile gap problems

I didn’t do most of the floor tile installation, so I had to work around another small flooring issue when it came time to installing the new baseboard: a giant gap along the entire back wall. It was too slim of an area to need another tile, but also too wide to fit the baseboard (it would be too low compared to the other walls). THIS is why you need to dry fit your tiles before installing and make sure the spacing looks right, folks! It could have been better avoided by shifting everything just sliiightly closer to the wall, but this was still a gap I could fix.

using a spacer to help stabilize and level the baseboard

I made a DIY solution and trimmed a thick piece of cardboard packaging (it’s actually part of a foam case where little electronics were housed). It was just thick enough to fit in the gap and support the baseboard as I installed it, but since it had foam in the middle, I could flatten it and get it back out of the gap after the molding was nailed in. I then covered over the remaining gap with shoe molding. It actually makes the floor look even more polished, because the shoe molding then also wraps around the tub as well (since you can’t drive a nail in that area, I just glued it down).

Ready for a preview?? Here you go!

new toilet and shower upgrade in master bath

I know it looks a little bare and fuzzy right now, but it will be getting some color very soon!

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  1. Thanks so much for the tip about the flange spacer… I’m going to need that in my guest bath makeover. I love the tile that you picked for the floor and can’t wait to see your full bathroom reveal.

  2. Next time, consider laying tile directly over your linoleum and skip the backer and flange extension. Linoleum actually makes great substrate for tile, acting similarly as an uncoupling membrane. You must scuff the floor to remove the gloss, then use a premium thinset with a latex flex additive (Custom FlexBond or comparable product), and you will have a great install. I have been setting tile for almost thirty years and have never had a failure over linoleum.