How to Destroy Your Bathroom, Pt. 1

Here, I’ll give you the learn-from-my-mistake tip at the beginning:  don’t start a home improvement project mid-afternoon Sunday.

The leaky master bath drain has forced us to use a basin in our sink and empty it every time we use it.  Just like camping but without the outdoor ambience!  So yesterday I decided it was time to rip up the vinyl floor and see the extent of the water damage.

What, you want to get rid of this beautiful doo-doo brown and burnt orange 70s vinyl masterpiece?  Take a look at the color of the tile shower:  maroon and grey.  The countertop and backsplash are the same color.  Now I ask you, even though everyone in the 70s was on ‘ludes and had to surround themselves with vomit colors to match the upchuck stain on their shag rug, who could EVER have though to put these colors together?  Happily it took just a few minutes to rip it out.  Demons of the Disco Era, you are EXORCISED!

With the vinyl up so quickly I made the second mistake from which you can learn:  overconfidence.  Hey!  Since I could peel up the puke-trocious vinyl in big swaths, surely I could take up the wet moldy plywood to see what’s underneath.  Hey!  What’s your favorite planet?

[sigh]  Four hours later I felt like the crowbar and hammer had been prying me apart.  I had to wrest every single nail from the old plywood by hand, and pull up thin slats of delaminated moldy plywood until I ended up with a pile of what can only be described as carne asada from Hell.

Oh, and you see that hole in the floor in the upper left?  It’s the result of a little exploratory surgery through some dry-rotted wood, completely unrelated to the leaking drain.  What happy coincidence I was able to find it!  Tee hee, when I found that I said some exciting words!  Because I don’t relish having an animal-sized hole leading from the crawlspace to our bathroom, I quickly fashioned a fix using my trusty Japanese pull saw (see the dining room table project for an ode to the pull saw).

By eight o’clock my body was wrecked, my brain clogged up with mold spores, and the offending plywood had mostly been pulled up.  Except for that bit under the sink cabinet, which makes this stuff look like dry newspaper.  In the upcoming weeks we’ll get into Part 2 of Destroying your Bathroom, wherein I come face-to-face with the host mold organism, try to save a 60-year old tile countertop and backsplash, and successfully avoid getting human spongiform encephalopathy by using a wafer-thin paper facemask.  Stay tuned!

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