A Bathroom Makeover

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this year I have decided as part of my New Year’s resolutions to learn how to do DIY home projects. So here we go with my first real big project – our downstairs bathroom. I forgot to take an official before picture – I had actually began the makeover prior to deciding to write a post about it. I am so excited about how the bathroom turned out that I will give you all a sneak peek of the finished product!

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The project took me about 6 weeks to complete, but that is because I definitely took my time and also ran into some unforseen road blocks (such as holes located where they should not be…). As I mentioned, I do not have an official before picture, but you will have to just imagine having this wallpaper covering the walls.

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Pretty, right? Especially if you’re into pink bathrooms with flowers, which I’m not. Hence, the need to change the decor. Luckily, this is the only room in the entire house that has wallpaper.

I won’t sugar coat it, removing wallpaper is a pain in the butt! Although, according to Dear Mother I should have bought some DIF and it wouldn’t have taken so long. I followed the website (www.familyhandyman.com) to remove the wallpaper. Before I started anything, I placed plastic drop cloths over everything. Removing wallpaper is a messy business. I then removed the top layer of paper off the wall – this was really easy and only took a couple hours. The paste was left on the wall. So, I scored the paste with a scorer to allow the hot water into the paste to help soften it up. Wearing gloves, I used a sponge to cover a section of paste with hot water. Using a scraper I scraped the paste off after the hot water softened the paste. I actually ended up doing this over the course of a week or so. I spent an hour or two every evening after work so that I wouldn’t get too frustrated trying to get it all done at once.

The above photos show the paste on the walls after the paper has been removed. And, surprise! Two holes were discovered. One was behind the medicine cabinet and one was right above the backsplash of the countertop. A previous owner had covered the smaller hole with tape and then put the wallpaper on top to cover it up – not cool. Since I am painting the walls, I had to patch the smaller hole with drywall mesh and putty. This took many layers of putty, with a 24 hour drying period between each application. If you want the patch to look smooth, take the time to put enough putty on the wall and sand between each application. There was also a section in the top corner of one of the walls that needed repair. It is definitely better to take the time to fix all of these issues rather than try to cover them up or a do a half-ass job (pardon my language). Rich helped fix the larger hole by teaching me how to add a piece of sheet rock.

Once I had the paste completely removed and the holes patched up, I taped the edges of the walls and countertop using frog tape prior to painting. Below, you can see how I began painting the walls by edging the sides first with a paintbrush. I then filled in with a roller. I painted a light yellow on the walls. It’s just enough color to be a color and brighten up the walls. I absolutely love this color. I think it is called sheepskin in eggshell Valspar brand. It is the same one that I painted in the living room, foyer, and hallway walls and I think it’s just such a great color to brighten up any room. If the bathroom were to have a shower or get wet/humid on a regular basis I would have painted it in a semi-gloss or satin finish.

I also replaced the air vent with a new one and it makes a huge difference (see right photo above). If I can figure out a way to remove the toilet paper roll holder (either the screws are stripped or they are too loose to be pulled out) I would like to replace the holder with a brushed nickel one to match the fixtures.

I should also mention that I had to fix the door. Deacon got stuck in there one day early last year (yes, it’s been a year before I got around to fixing the door) and tore up the bottom of the door trying to get out. It was actually kind of creepy to use the bathroom because when the door is closed it looked like a demon or something was trying to claw its way out. Yikes. I fixed the door by layering wood putty and giving the door a new coat of fresh paint. Voila! Good as new. And much cheaper than replacing the door.

And now onto the really BIG project. I updated the old laminated countertop with a faux painted granite one! Oh my gosh. HUGE project, tons of work, but I AM SO HAPPY with the final look. I was terrified to take on such a task, but honestly so worth the work. Here’s a before and after just to give you a taste of the final product before I go into the details. Seriously in love with the new countertop.

I have some better after pictures with the sink placed back into the counter, but I really wanted to show a good comparison of before and after. I apologize for the reflection, that was the best I could do with my phone camera.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how in the world did she do that?! Well, believe me when I say I did a lot of research, reading, and practice before attempting to transform the bathroom countertop. The best video that I found is by Marzipan (see the link below for “Painting Laminate Countertop – Video”). I also used a website with multiple articles and tips to make the project my own (see “Painting Laminate Countertop – Articles”).

To start, remove the sink. Nate did this with Rich’s help. I highly recommend removing the sink because this ensures that the epoxy will settle properly. If you try to tape off the sink and then add the epoxy I don’t think it will settle quite as nicely. I then taped off the countertop with tape and newspaper. The newspaper is necessary for when you add the epoxy. The epoxy will drop so layer enough newspaper anywhere you think the product might land. Paint the laminate countertop with Rust-oleum countertop paint – I had it tinted gray mist, which is a medium gray color. I used foam brushes for this, but if I were to do it again I would use a foam roller for better application. Since you are going to be sponging acrylic paint on top of this, don’t worry about the layers being completely level. This paint is also super thick, so it was difficult to spread with brushes. I saw later that a different primer would have been better for this project, so I would look into that if you are interested in painting the countertop.

Next, using craft sponges I sponged various acrylic paints on top of the newly primed countertop. I did this over the course of a week or two until I liked the look of the sponged paint. I started off by adding some dark blue and black accents then sponging on a lighter color. Then, I sponged a lot of different shades of gray. I also made my own shades by mixing a gray with black (darker gray) or gray with a lighter cream color (lighter gray). Halfway through the sponge layers, I sprinked a little bit of small glitter flecks. To me this looks more like granite. It’s not a lot of glitter, just enough to catch the light. Also, the more layers the better – when I see real granite, it looks like lots of colors coming through underneath.

The photos above show the different layers of sponged colors. I kept going until I got the look that I liked (bottom left photo above). The nice thing about the method is that if you don’t like the way the colors are turning out you can just keep adding more layers. I took my time with this step because you want to make sure it looks like you want it to before coating with epoxy.

The next step is to add th epoxy layer. This was definitely the part of the project that I was the most nervous about. I used a product called Envirotex Lite hat I bought off of Amazon. I tried buying some at Michael’s but the hardner was a yellow color which means it had gone bad. I’ve been very happy with the products received from Amazon. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! I cannot emphasize this enough. The directions are very specific and you need to follow them exactly or the epoxy will not set properly. I combined 32 oz total of the product into a pitcher that I bought from the dollar store. Mix well with a paint stick for two minutes. Pour the mixture into a second pitcher and stir for an additional minute. Immediately after mixing pour onto the countertop to flood with the epoxy. I used a plastic spatula/putty tool to spread the liquid over the entire countertop. I used a foam brush to push the liquid up the backsplash. If I were to do this again, I would have spent more time brushing the epoxy on the backsplash.

Once the epoxy had been spread out, I popped bubbles with a lighter. The epoxy is not flammable. Bubbles continue to form for about thirty minutes or so. I stood watch that entire time popping bubbles and wiping the drips from the edges with a foam brush. The Envirotex Lite is self-leveling so it will continue to drip of the sides for the next three hours or so. I used toothpicks to pick out dust or hair (Somehow there is Deacon hair everywhere in this house!). As long as the product is still liquid picking dust out does not impact the leveling. After the first 45 min I felt comfortable enough to close the door and just check for drips every 30 minutes or so.

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After three hours, the epoxy set enough that no more drips were forming and I could remove the tape and newspaper. And then you let the epoxy set and cure for at least three days. I did this part on a Sunday so we waited a week before putting the sink back in.

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With the countertop finished, Nate replaced the sink and I worked on fixing the hole where the medicine cabinet used to be and placing a mirror over the sink. We also replaced the light fixture with one made this century…sorry it is hard to see in the photos because of the light. The bottom right photo is one of Nate helping me install the mirror. It is amazing how easy manufacturer’s have made installation instructions!

Best bathroom makeover ever! I used to not care for this bathroom at all, but I love it now.

 

Online Resources

Removing Wallpaper

Painting Laminate Countertop – Video

Painting Laminate Countertop – Articles

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