Downstairs bathroom – framing and flooring

I like to think of the next phase of the laundry room construction as “boy are we glad that we now have appropriate nail guns.” We did all of the framing work in the upstairs bathroom with a normal hammer (and by we, I mean Tim, because it turns out that I do not have the kind of power it takes to drive framing nails, eesh), and Tim kept talking about how we’d get an air compressor and nail guns for future projects. It turns out that they make things go so very much faster. We built a platform to raise the washer and dryer off the floor (we considered putting storage under the platform, but looking at drawer kits, we quickly realized that we weren’t going to gain a whole lot in storage and it didn’t seem worth the trouble), as well as reworking the area around the door we removed and the window we replaced. The heavy duty nail gun made those projects…not a breeze per se, but certainly move much more quickly. Then we busted out the finish nailer for some trim.

Here you can see the platform in all its glory. It had to be pretty hefty to guarantee to hold the weight of a washer full of water and a dryer of wet clothes, but we’re pretty sure it isn’t going anywhere.

The platform stretches the width of the bathroom and is deep enough for our current appliances, plus a little extra for us to stand on in front. We currently have a top-loading machine, which we can reach down into pretty easily, but some of our shorter friends and family doing laundry might need a little boost. You can also see some of the framing we had to add in the wall, to fill in the old doorway and add some structure. We’ve learned that there are some bits of our walls that aren’t well-constructed (or the joists have been cut away in a not-advised manner for plumbing, electric, etc), so any opportunity we get to open things up and reinforce it, we’ll take.

We got rid of the old window, which honestly let in a lot of lovely light, and went with a smaller window, but it was a necessity. The old one was great to open up and let tons of light and air in, but it would have been very difficult to use with the dryer blocking part of it (you had to stand pretty much right in front to open it, pulling on it from an angle would have been awkward and frustrating). Also, it was pretty low to the ground on the outside of our house, which made it a potential weak spot in our home’s security. With our new, smaller casement window, it’s high enough up that we don’t have anxiety about leaving it open at night. It’s also super-easy to open, is not blocked, and the angle of the actual window itself directs the air into the room in a lovely way. Total upgrade. Filling in the larger opening was a matter of framing, sheathing and then re-working the siding. And busting out the nail gun yet again.

And finally, the finish nailer got a little workout in installing the baseboard on the platform. That thing is awesome, it shoots these skinny little nails in that don’t have heads, so you can barely see where they are attaching the trim to the wall. We hadn’t done any trim work in the upstairs bathroom yet, so I haven’t done it the old-school way yet, but as I understand it, you have to set the finish nails below the surface of the wood, so this really speeds up the process and minimizes the hole in the trim.

Let’s totally talk about that baseboard for a second. The ceilings in the bathroom are taller than 8′, so the 8′ mold-resistant drywall we bought wasn’t really tall enough. Butting the short ends of drywall together is tough, because the ends aren’t tapered to allow for the plaster that seals the seam, but Tim knew most of it would be covered by the baseboard around the platform (and we’ll get the taller stuff when we redo the rest of the bathroom). But then we discovered that most of the in-stock baseboards in woods we were interested in either didn’t come in the height we’d need to cover it (I think the seam is about 5″ up), or were weirdly ornate, which isn’t our style. After hitting the big three (Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menards) with no luck, we contemplated getting some simple boards milled when Tim realized he could totally handle that himself. We got some nice 1x6s and he put a simple angle on the top and rounded the corners a touch.

As you can also see, we closed in the platform with some cement backer board on the front. We imagine eventually continuing the tiling up the front face of the platform when we redo the bathroom, so we wanted to prep for it now (and needed to close up the platform so the cats stopped disappearing underneath and down into the basement). We also used a metal corner to protect the flooring and reinforce the front edge.

Okay, let’s talk flooring real quick. We went with some cork floor planks, which Tim swears were super-easy to install, though we got a little nervous when the box square footage was just barely larger than the size of our platform. Tim used the cut bits to stagger the planks and made very careful measurements and cuts, and luckily it all turned out great. We hemmed and hawed about the material for a long time, but chose the cork in the end because we knew it’d absorb the vibrations from the machines pretty well.

So there you go, the nail guns came in super handy with this project, and I know we’ll love having them for future renovation as well. We’ll be doing some framing for closets in the front bedroom for sure, and still have tons of trim to install in the upstairs bathroom as well as the rest of the house. Next up, we install cabinets, and then manage to lift our laundry appliances over the toilet and are still married to each other. Yeah, it was pretty epic.

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3 comments on “Downstairs bathroom – framing and flooring

  1. […] lord, can we please do laundry in our own home again”: we ripped up half a bathroom and then we put a bunch of finish materials in (with some plumbing and electrical work in between that I did not […]

  2. I love you (and your enthusiasm over the little things)

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