Before and after bathroom tub2

Painting a bathtub… and a toilet…and grout!

Weird colored tub? That can be fixed!

I’ve talked a lot about all the upcoming projects at my new (to me) old house but do you know where I actually started?  The nicest bathroom in the house.  Ok, nicest is being generous.  It is the least ugly.  And by least ugly, I mean Carrera look alike ceramic tile from floor to ceiling (varying sizes with a mid-wall border), white builder grade tile in the tub/shower, gold trimmed safety glass sliding shower door, crystal chandeliers (not the good kind), off white  circa 1985 laminate vanity with cultured marble top, gold faucets, and a grey tub and toilet.  I thought I could work with the tile, especially because I was not relishing the idea of demoing then re-drywalling the entire bathroom, but the rest was gonna have to go.  First up – a makeover was in order for that tub and toilet.  You really don’t see many colored toilets or tubs in new homes, they are almost always white or occasionally off-white.  Even though our grey tub wasn’t as offensive as a mustard yellow, avocado green or, gasp,  a burgundy tub, any color other than white just screams “dated!”

ugly bathroom
Before bathroom with grey toilet and tub and fancy gold shower door!

The Plan

Since I had no plans to totally gut this bathroom Plan A was to try and coat the tub in one of those specially formulated epoxy based paints for tub and tile.  If it failed, then Plan B would be to rip out the tub and toilet.  I’d heard good things from others who had done this project and read mixed reviews online but still felt it was worth a shot to potentially save over a thousand dollars and the sweat equity involved in replacing the tub and toilet.

Materials

I first checked my local Home Depot and Lowe’s but both only carried a brand of tub coating that got terrible reviews.  I bought Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refinisher (2 kits) on Amazon and it was at my house in 2 days.

rustoleum tub and tile
This is a high quality tub and tile paint. Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean up drips.

Other supplies I used included:

  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Mask, rubber gloves
  • Calcium Lime and Rust (CLR) cleaner
  • Bleach-based cleaner
  • Alcohol
  • Caulk remover tool or razor blade
  • Mini paint roller for smooth surfaces
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Tack cloth
  • Screw driver
  • Drill

How to Paint a Tub (or any other ugly bathroom surface)

First, I removed the gold shower doors and track.  I planned on putting up a shower curtain afterwards.  After they were unscrewed, I had to remove excess silicone from the tub lip and tile with a razor blade.  I also went back later and filled the holes where the track had been screwed into the tile with white caulk. I also removed all the caulk between the tile and the tub and unscrewed the little brass drain doo-hickey.  I didn’t bother removing the toilet handle deciding to make it white since most toilet handles these days are the same color as the toilet anyway. The toilet already had a new-ish white seat on it so I removed that.

remove shower door frame
A utility knife can be used to remove the caulk or silicone between the shower doors rails and the tile.

 

With the doors out of the way, I gave the area in and around the tub and toilet a really thorough cleaning with a bleach based cleaner in a lame attempt to remove lots of mildew and other nasty stuff.

mold and silicone
This is the gross crud that may be under a 30 year old shower door. Eww.

 

This left me better able to see any other remnants of caulk or silicone that had to be removed around the entire tub.

silicone removal
Scrape off old caulk with a razor blade. The paint won’t stick to caulk or silicone.

Still there is a set of about 6 tiles with brownish yellow grout that I just could not get cleaned that will get new grout once I do other tiling, but these didn’t concern me too much since I didn’t want to paint the tile, only the tub and toilet.

Next, I cleaned the tub and toilet with CLR.  This was especially important because we have well water which generally has more minerals in it than city water and can leave residue on your tub.  Regardless of your water source, do this step anyway.  Your tub can’t be too clean for this process.  Note, CLR, when used in a small space has fumes so wear a mask, open a window and turn on your bath fan for ventilation.

After everything was clean, I sanded the tub and toilet with very fine grit sandpaper.  I used a 400 grit.  Then I rinsed with water, dried it, sanded and rinsed again.

sand the tub
Sand the entire surface with a fine grit sandpaper to remove leftover scum and to slightly score the surface so it better accepts the paint.

 

…and sand some more… keep sanding….

 

Once everything is totally dry and dust free you are ready to paint.  It’ll be important to assess where you are in the process before you commit to painting.  The special paint is an epoxy that comes in 2 parts.  Once it’s mixed it must be used in 6 hours, after that it thickens to the point where it’s unusable.   I opted to come back the next day ready to paint.

I began day 2 by taking a tack cloth and running it over every surface to be painted to pick up any lint, dust, hair, and small particles that somehow magically appeared overnight.  The surface must be perfect to accept the paint.  I taped off the adjacent areas that weren’t going to get paint with blue painters tape.

I followed Rustoleum’s directions and poured the contents of one container into the other and mixed them.  The odors from this paint are noxious!  Definitely wear a mask, open windows and put a fan or two on.  No matter what you do it will permeate the whole house and linger for days, it’s that strong.  I filled a disposable pan with some paint, soaked a fine nap roller made for smooth surfaces and started rolling.  As advertised, the paint has unique self leveling properties… to a point.    It is runny and will drip if you use too much so it’s better to use many thin coats rather than glob it on.  Nobody wants a drippy tub.  This stuff dries pretty quickly so if you find yourself overlapping an area you already did 5 minutes ago it may get tacky and not re-level so be careful of that.

Just roll the paint right on in thin coats.

 

I also noticed in areas where there once was silicone holding the door on it still didn’t adhere to even after scraping the silicone off, cleaning and sanding.  In hindsight perhaps maybe using acetone might remove this residue, who knows?  But since I had already started it was too late.  I used the small foam brush in the corners where the tile met the tub and where the toilet met the floor.  I removed the lid from the toilet tank so that I could cover the entire thing and also the tank itself.  Now here’s where you might be wondering what I did inside the bowl which was also gray.  I suppose I could have been all thorough-like and taken the toilet bowl water out in cupfuls then soaked up the last bits in rags, but nope, I didn’t.  I just left it gray.  And you might notice if the seat’s up and your looking right at it (sorry boys), but otherwise the eye is fooled into thinking it’s a shadow… at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  I was honestly a little paranoid about screwing the inside of it up then having to rip the toilet out altogether, which wouldn’t normally be a big deal but some moron grouted, yes, grouted the toilet to the floor – ugh.

Anyway, 2 coats later and I could still see gray through, so I knew I was definitely doing a third.  I decided to wait until the next day for more complete drying.  I used what little I had left in my paint pan to cover a nasty looking fiberglass slop sink in my laundry room.

utility sink painting
The tub and tile paint works on fiberglass too, like for this utility sink.

 

This thing was so gross I wouldn’t have cleaned an old paint brush in it let alone laundry delicates (who am I kidding, I wash NOTHING by hand).  Anyway, the slop sink looks brand new now.  In between days 2 and 3 of this project is where I made my most critical mistake.  I learned an old trick a few years ago that if you’re painting project will take you the course of several days then you put your brush or roller in a plastic bag, wrap it up tight and stick it in the fridge and the next time you paint it’s still perfect and fresh, not at all gunky or dried up.  It can save you a ton of time cleaning brushes.  Whatever you do DO NOT PUT THIS (or any epoxy, shellac or varnish based paint) in your fridge.  Certain foods are very susceptible to odors and flavors that may escape the wrapped brush or roller and totally ruin your food.  I learned this the hard way.  I had an English Muffin the next morning with a little epoxy-butter. Yech. Butter itself isn’t healthy but chlorofluorocarbon laced butter is most certainly even worse for you.

On day 3 of the tub project I mixed the second set of cans together to do coats 3 and 4 on the tub and toilet. (WARNING! Many a YouTube video will make this whole project look like it’s complete in mere hours, not days. Lies…all lies…unless one has nothing better to do that literally sit around and watch paint dry.) Anyway, after the third coat the silicone residue area on the rim of the tub was starting to get covered and accept the paint.  With a 4th coat the paint was fully covering this area and for good measure I gave just this area a 5th coat.

painted tub
The tub (minus ugly gold hardware) looks like new!

 

painted toilet
You’d never know this toilet used to be grey!

 

I still had some paint left over so I racked my brain about what else I could epoxy-paint.  And then, an epiphany!   What is the bane of every awesome looking kitchen or bath that at some point WILL definitely go down the tubes and look like crap? Yep, the grout.  I dunno what’s in that grout sealer they sell but I am convinced it’s a racket.  Grout never stays clean.  So it remains to be seen if this will last or not but I decided to paint the grout in between the bathroom floor tiles.  Figured it couldn’t be any worse than the dingy dirty gray-brown that currently flanked the bright white and grey tiles.  It was a bit tedious taping off each tile, but it seriously turned out better than I expected.

taping edges
Use painters tape against any edge that you don’t want to get paint on while completely coating the grout in epoxy paint.

 

I did 2 coats.  All of the tub and tile paint has to cure for at least 72 hours before it can get wet and sustain foot traffic.  I waited that long before I put back the toilet lid, the drain thingy, then I hung 2 tension rods at the ceiling one for a liner and one for my extra-long shower curtain.  Hanging your shower curtain at the ceiling makes the room look taller! And yes, I know, I know the chevron print shower curtain  is soooooooo 2016, but I had it leftover from my last house.  I’ll change it when I update the rest of the bathroom.

completed painted tub, tile and toilet
This bathroom is far from complete, but painting the tub, toilet and grout helped it a ton!

Results

It’s been almost 5 months since I painted the tub, toilet, laundry sink and tile grout and it all still looks great!  Admittedly the finish isn’t as smooth as a regular tub, it’s a little dimpled, sort of like an orange peel, but it looks 100% better than having a dated bathroom ensemble.  In the near future I’ll rip out the huge mirrored cabinet, fill the empty wall spaces left with remaining tile, and switch out the vanity and fixtures for something more current.  So I’d not consider this photo a true “after” shot, but rather an interim.  Now that we’re deep into the kitchen remodel and basement demo, it should only take me …. meh…. 3 years or so to get back to this project.  Who’s hanging in there with me?

Before and after bathroom tub2

Garage Door Makeover

Last week we talked about those boring blah garage doors and showed you lots of fancy, special, gorgeous doors.  For those of you who can’t currently do a full garage door replacement, there are some great options for DIY upgrading your door by adding just a little hardware or paint.  In some cases you won’t even need a single tool.

First up, here’s my own garage door with the addition of magnetic, that’s right, MAGNETIC, hardware.  So you can take them off if your homeowners association sends you one of those nasty notes for overstepping your bounds without fear of having holes in your door!  In this example, I’ve also shown an option to either paint or use vinyl decals to create the illusion of windows.  Be sure to use high gloss paint or vinyl so the reflective quality will give the illusion of being a glass panel.  Shown here is the Cre8tive Hardware, Classic Spade Magnetic Garage Door Hardware Set (6-Piece)  $36.

garage-door-before-and-after

 

Ok, full disclosure, I did this garage update digitally but this is another great way to see if you’ll like the final results.  Just take a photo of your doors, and cut and paste a pic of the hardware from the manufacturer’s website and place it on your doors to see if you like it before you make the investment.   Tip, be sure to be perfectly straight on when you take the pic, I am a bit off center here so the handles look a little angled.  I like the results so I’ll put this project on my list for sure!

Other ways to make an easy update to your garage is with paint.  Adding a gel stain can make your door look like a real wood door.   Check out the entire DIY instructions at Made to Love.

gel-stain-before-and-after

 

There are a number of great garage door additions that can convert your blah doors to something really special.  This $99 panel can be screwed on to your door to create the appearance of arched windows.   This is the Crown Metal Works White Decorative Faux Window (2 per Pack).

gd-window-panel

garage-door-window-panels

Before and after bathroom tub2

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Last week we talked about Thanksgiving tablescapes.  One of the key elements of many of those gorgeous tables was a glorious centerpiece or floral arrangement, or even several floral moments on one table.  Lots of people are intimidated by arranging flowers.  I get it.  Truthfully it does take a little more finesse than just removing the cellophane and plopping them in a vase.   Understandably, lots of people shy away from DIY’ing it and just call up FTD and order a centerpiece.  While convenient, the problem with this is twofold.  One, they are sooo expensive and two, they never look like they do in the “representative” online photo.  They are usually crammed with cheap greens, foregoing the proper number of expensive flowers that you were supposed to get.  I’ll bet that if you try making your own arrangement once, you may never buy that expensive garbage ever again.  Here’s how you can DIY your Thanksgiving centerpiece!  I made 2 medium and 2 small arrangements, plus a leftover scrap arrangement for just $46 in flowers.  We have a flower wholesaler nearby where one can get virtually any flower, and their prices are pretty reasonable.  If you don’t have a wholesaler open to the public near you, you could do something similar with about 5 bunches of flowers from Costco or the grocery store, it may cost just a few more dollars.  For this arrangement, I picked up a bunch of orange spray roses (those are the mini-ones), a bunch of peach carnations (which, sadly, get a bad rap), a bunch of seeded eucalyptus, and a deep burgundy solidago (i.e. goldenrod).

dsc_0149-2

 

I already had a few random containers that would work well for a fall centerpiece, a wooden pumpkin, a pumpkin basket and 2 small pedestal candle holders that became vases and my leftovers went in an old Patron tequila bottle (hint – they make great stem vases once you finish with the tequila).

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Other supplies I used were 2 containers to fit inside my pumpkins (since they weren’t watertight), garden snips/shears, and a few pieces of oasis floral foam and some clear floral tape.

I started by inserting a good size chunk of oasis into the inside containers and drenching them in water.  Oasis needs to be wet in order to insert the stems into it.  Next each flower stem as you insert it (don’t do them all at once) so that they stand only two or three inches above your container and make the first 5 or so flowers symmetrically placed.  Here you can see that I placed one in the middle and 4 others sideways at each corner of the oasis.

dsc_0162-2

 

Then add your secondary flower, in this case I kept a lot of greenery on the spray roses, the leaves looked nice and it meant that there was one less green I had to buy.  Alternatively, if you’re using flowers that don’t have nice leaves you can snip in your garden or trim your house plants.

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Next I filled in holes with the solidago and the seeded eucalyptus which both had a nice contrast in deep burgundy and soft green.

dsc_0161-2

 

I still thought there wasn’t enough contrast so I went out in my garden and clipped a few stems of dusty miller which added a nice frosty mint green contrast.

dsc_0164-2

 

After making the two pumpkin arrangements I noticed that I still had a ton of flowers left, so I took these two small candle holders and made a grid pattern on the top with clear floral tape.  Why the grid, you ask?  This is a trick florists use to keep their arrangements standing in their clear glass vases perfectly.  Without the tape the flowers would flop around and not stay put where you actually wanted them.

dsc_0166-2

 

I then repeated the process of inserting main flowers first symmetrically around the vase, then adding in secondary flowers, and finally greens. Even after completing these I had a good bit of eucalyptus remaining which I simply stuck in an old Patron bottle with a few feathers.  I haven’t decided how I’m going to display them yet with my set table but here is the group of the 4 flower arrangements completed.  Will you take on the DIY centerpiece challenge?  We’d love to see them.  Add a comment and show us your work!

flowers-2

Before and after bathroom tub2

Growth Ruler DIY

Have you ever been to a baby shower and even though there is a registry and you dutifully used it properly, you still somehow manage to bring the 5th copy of a baby blanket?  One way to beat the registry game is to make a unique homemade gift. Before attending a baby shower I saw these growth charts for sale on Etsy, and thought, huh, why buy this when I could make it myself?  It was very easy!  And the best thing about it is the parent can bring this with them if they decide to move to a different house. Can’t say the same for marking your kid’s growth on the garage wall or behind the kitchen pantry door.

So first, here are a few I saw for inspiration (from the TwistedK and ShimmerStain on Etsy)…and if you don’t have time to DIY your own, fear not,  there are a ton of options to buy a completed one.

growth-example-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

growth-example-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gather your materials.  You’ll need:

  • A flat, straight board that is at least 5 feet long and 6 or 8 inches in width
  • A tape measure
  • Pre-made wood or MDF numbers
  • Stain and a rag
  • Paint (brush on or spray)
  • Wood glue
  • Pencil
  • Super wide Sharpie
  • T-square (or other right angle straight edge)
  • Sand paper

A few notes about the materials, I wanted a finished ruler without a lot of wood grain, so I purchased a premium board of Poplar at Home Depot.  Different kinds of wood will give you different results depending on if you want to stain or paint it.

Step by step instructions:

1.If necessary, cut your board to the desired length. Generally, a board about 5 or 6 feet in length will be sufficient.  Let’s face it, who’s measuring a child much past 5 feet in height? They’ll be cranky teens by that point and who wants to measure a cranky teen?  However, you don’t want a mini board either as it will look strange hung low on your wall.

naked-board-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Lightly sand the board to remove any splinters and to prepare it for stain.

3. Stain the board. I choose a light grey stain that I applied with a rag and wiped off the excess.

stain-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Paint the pre-made numbers. (These are usually available at a craft store). I choose to paint mine black because it would contrast well with the light grey.  If you choose a dark stain you may want to paint our numbers a light color so that you will be able to read them.  Note if you go with a dark board you’ll also to need to make light ruler lines so you may opt for a paint pen instead of a wide Sharpie.

numbers-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. After your stained board is dry, measure out and mark where your ruler hash marks will go with a pencil. Use a T-square to make sure that they are properly spaced and exactly perpendicular to the board edge.  *Important note: Almost all walls have some sort of trim at the floor, so you don’t want to start your board at zero, I started mine at 6 inches, so when hung it will have to be hung exactly 6 inches from the floor.

6. Once you have your pencil lines looking good and straight, go back over them with the wide Sharpie. Use your T-square as a straight edge to keep your lines straight.  I used blue tape on my board so my lines didn’t go further than they should.  Be sure to wipe off the edge of your T-square after tracing over each line and don’t drag your straight edge up to the next line because it may drag the wet Sharpie ink and smudge it.  I did all foot marks first, then went back and did half foot marks, then quarter foot marks, then eighth foot marks, that way I was sure to not bump and smudge those that were still drying.

sharpie-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Using the wood glue, glue each painted number in the spot adjacent to the corresponding foot hash mark.

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8. If desired, screw in a picture hanger bracket on the back, just be sure to use very small screws so you don’t poke through to the front of the board.

9.  Measure out the right spot on the wall to hang it and get to measuring those little cuties! If you’re giving it as a gift, you could affix a variety of colored permanent markers on some ribbon so the recipient is ready to mark the height of their new bundle of joy right away.

growth-ruler-2