I wasn’t kidding when I said our 70’s tri-level house had NEVER been upgraded. The couple who lived here before us bought the house a few years after it was built. They were already in their late forties and they were nearly 80 when they finally moved out. Needless to say … they had never even painted the walls (they were still just primer!) The only things they did were to put fresh linoleum in the bonus room downstairs and in the upstairs bath. They also put new fronts on the cabinets in the kitchen and in the upstairs bath in the early 90’s. That was IT. They never replaced a light fixture, faucet or, heaven help me, the carpet!
We did a bunch of things before we even moved in, including ripping out 30-year-old carpet, but within the first year we HAD to redo the tub/shower. Thinking about how it used to be, still makes me shudder. I wish I had a before picture of it, but it was just a fiberglass tub, with sheets of linoleum? glued to the walls above it (yes, they were avocado colored) The worst part was the HUGE bead of caulk that connected the top of the tub to the glued on surround. It was foul and impossible to keep free of mold.
We needed a quick and inexpensive solution so we shopped around and found a new tub with surround. Then came the fun part: demolitions!
It took us two hours to remove that nasty old tub and the wall surrounding it and about 2 more hours to get the new ones put in, but then we were left with a HUGE drywall project and I am not gonna lie: this was our very first drywall project and it was A LOT. It took us almost a month to hang the new sheets of mold resistant drywall, mud, sand, mud, sand, and then texture and paint, but it came out pretty good in the end.
This is an after photo of the surround. The toilet is hiding on the other side of this wall and we, literally, replaced 90% of the drywall in it because, not only did it come out with the old surround, but we had to access the plumbing in it too.
Helpful tip #1: Move the shower head up the wall to accommodate taller persons. Hubby is 6’4″ and loves that he no longer has to bend over to wash his hair! Also, install the shower curtain rod a bit higher to contain the higher splash radius
Here is a shot of the other side of the tub, The drywall had to be re-done all the way up to the ceiling. It is not perfect (bows out a bit where it meets the surround) but it is not noticeable unless you are up there looking closely. We call these kinds of mistakes “craftsman’s annoyance”. No one notices them, but you, and they still bug the crap out of you and you keep thinking: someday I will fix that! We never really do though, just because it would be a waste as it probably wouldn’t get it much better anyway….
Helpful tip #2: When you do plumbing projects on your own, hire a professional to come check your work. We paid a plumber for an hour of his time and he found a repaired a small leak we had missed. So much cheaper than hiring a plumber to do the whole job or dealing with water damage in the future.
Check out my other posts about this project: