Watch Me Destroy My House (bathroom edition)

in #diy4 months ago

This is now a renovation blog, get with the program.

Hello next victim!

For months now, every time I’d go take a shower downstairs, I looked at these few tiles and thought I need to fix them before they fall out on their own. You can’t see it here but it’s not just dried out grout but you could feel the tiles be completely loose when you push them.

I finally took to the tast thinking it’s just a quick thing to pop out the loose ones, chisel away some of the old mortar and slab them back on with new goo. You can already guess that it didn’t go like planned… and I swear to all the pagan gods I had zero intent nor interest to do anything else than re-attach a few tiles!

Turns out, almost all the tiles are only attached with the grout, and not with the mortar. One by one as I scraped off the grout, the tiles came off too. Who ever did this tiling job sucked at it.


At this point it wasn’t yet a total catastophy but I knew the whole drywall would have to come out and be replaced before tiling again. Fine, we’ll deal with it.


Then I dug through the drywall and what do I find? There is water damage in the wall because the wood bottom plate is at the same level as the floor, missing a properly constructed base made out of concrete or cement blocks. There is also fiberglass insulation to make sure what ever water gets in will never dry out because the fiberglass holds onto it and there is no space for air to move. This wall is between the sauna and the shower and it supports the sauna benches so it’s quite important to make sure the studs don’t rot through. So worse case, we have to take down the whole wall and rebuild. Don’t worry, it’s only downhill from here…


As I kept ripping down the wall, near the shower, I found a fun little hidey hole behind the sauna. And here’s a prime exsample of why fiberglass insulation is the devil and empty space is a way better option: the water damage is worse where the insulation is packed tightly and air circulation is obscured. You’d think the damage would be the worst next to the shower but nope, the hidey hole helped to dry it, even though there was fiberglass too.

I also discovered the original tiles that are left underneith the current ones on the outside walls. Interesting. At this point I don’t yet know this project is going to escalade dramatically.


Once I had ripped off the tiles and drywall from that one wall I continued to a corner next to the door where the tiles were clearly about to pop out also. Here’s where I discovered that there is a much bigger problem than that one inside wall.


As I took off two layers of tiles and the drywall, I first smelled the problem and then saw it. In came a very damp earthy smell and when I took out the fiberglass, it was evident that it’s way too moist in there and it had already started to do damage. Let me tell you the man was not happy when I reported this to him.

What you need to know is that this bathroom is in the basement, underground with concrete walls that support the whole house. So what do you think will happen if you decide to attach wood studs right next to concrete (that will always be somewhat moist), then tightly pack on fiberglass, and seal it all under drywall, water sealant goo and two layers of tiles!? Water damage, mold, bad smell, hell to pay.


Someone who knows chemistry can explain this better but the white nasty looking stuff on the surface of the concrete is not mold or fungus (yet) but it comes from excess moisture that pushes the salts from inside concrete to the surface. Slowly that process will start to erode the concrete and it was very clearly visible here, layers and layers of concrete just scrapes off really easily. Luckily at this point it’s an easy fix, little cleanup, air and warmth and the nasties go away.


You are not even supposed to build rooms in the basement if you don’t first dig out some 2 meters of ground around the whole house and put in some dam panel thingy (I don’t know what that would be in English) to prevent the water coming in through the concrete. That project is crazy expensive though highly encouraged. But since we do not have those, it would be very important to leave room between the concrete and wall panels. When we bough this house the inspector told us to remove the fiberglass behind the panels in the fireplace room and to remove all the plastic paint from the exposed concrete walls elsewhere in the basement, but there was no mention of fiberglass around the bathroom. I don’t think he even thought anyone could have been stupid enough to put that in there and of course you can’t see that when it’s under two layers of tiles.

Now seeing (and smelling) the damage, you can’t really look away and leave it to do more harm, I have to rip down all the bathroom walls that are attached to the concrete frame and rebuild from scratch. Anyone have spare 10 000€…?

IMG_5445.jpeg Peek-a-boo!


I know I sounded very negative up to this point but honestly I am not that mad. I never liked this bathroom, it’s not hideous but just incredibly bland and I’m looking forward to making it into something way more beautiful.

Here’s where I started today:


And this is where I’m ending the night at:

I’m not mad at the layer(s) of bricks I uncovered, I might even try and figure out if I can leave some exposed. I have zero experience with anything like this but no matter what I do, I can’t fuck up as bad as who ever made and renovated this bathroom originally. I honestly don’t know where this all will lead to but I am doing research and toying with some beautiful ideas, like tadelakt and making my lifelong dream of having a bathtub come true. Universe, you better be listening!


'Brick foundation waterproofing membrane' is that English term for:

some dam panel thingy


You understood what I meant!

@eveuncovered pulls one little thread....and the whole house comes down!

Only figuratively, this house is pretty solid and can handle my shenaningans.

Well, you are off to a good start. Fix one loose tile....half the walls are down... :)

As a man, I feel it's my duty to correct you in several practical errors here. Unfortunately, I barely know how to hang a picture on a wall, being the spoilt city boy I am, and will be promply hiring my mum's business in property management to do my dirty work if I ever get to own a place of my own XD

This kind of destruction is scary to think about!

A man who knows his place is a good man! 😝 I honestly have no idea what I’m doing but I lack the filter that would scare me off from trying. I also believe I am always above average in anything I set my mind to 💁🏼‍♀️

I also believe I am always above average in anything I set my mind to

That is an equally useful and dangerous belief haha. I am always learning and trying things but I am certainly more risk averse than you sound XD I'm thankfully self-aware enough to know that I'm a complete dope in most regards. I do own a drill though, which I used to add a shelf once! (applause not necessary but appreciated)

I don’t think I want to do plumming, electrical work or roofing but other than that I don’t believe I’ll hire anyone to do work on the house.

It all starts from the drill, soon you’ll be painting the ceiling and putting up wallpaper!

I recommend sledgehammers in this situation:-P

I was considering dynamite at one point…

Here, we specify a bituminous moisture barrier coating on foundation walls below grade, and often a perforated drain pipe as well. And bathrooms get specially-treated water-resistant sheetrock and even sometimes pressure-treated framing.

All new builds have those probably mandatory now, and it’s of course not as costly when done at that point. I believe back in the day the only water repellant coating around foundation would be something tar based and that’s surely long gone now after 70+ years.

Fo rusre, older homes may not have even had modern material options, and while old-timers in many ways built better, there have also been definite advancements in other ways.

Other than electrical appliances and bathroom with running water in the main house, I haven’t yet found anything modern that is better than what they used to make 😅


At least now you get to choose the new tiles, and I am sure your choice will fall out better than the previous!!😁

I can send some derelict toilet images, if you want a little inspiration?

Please do, that would make me feel better.

Your project is a perfect example of how DIY renovations can lead to exciting opportunities to personalize your living space and make it truly your own. The exposed brick and the idea of incorporating tadelakt add an intriguing twist to your bathroom's potential design.

Thank you for sharing your renovation story and the challenges you've encountered.

Lol. Look it is not so bad as at least you will have fixed what would have been a bigger problem later on. Just don't poke around unless you are looking for more work to do. It amazes me how people do these things. We have a shower in the outside building that has an outflow pipe down the driveway. I have 3 bathrooms that need redoing and I am not brave like you and will get people in to rip them out one by one. A bathroom is a massive selling point if they are modern and nice so you are adding serious value.

Hahaha you are so right about always finding more work if you poke around. I might just be lacking the failsafe that would prevent me from getting into these messes.

I wouldn’t advice anyone to do their own bathroom renovation without experience but I don’t follow my own advice.

This house was definitely on the cheaper side for the size since the bathroom and kitchen are all very outdated. I am doing this all for myself and I do not give a shit about adding value to the house in case we want to sell some day.

The right attitude to have as make it the best for what you want now to live in and enjoy it more. I learned not to poke things lol with one project turning into a 6 month project that was not planned for. I have a great handy man who is good at what he does and he does all my poking around. What you have accomplished so far is remarkable.

This poking around is definitely turning into a 6 month project. You reckon I’ll learn my lesson?

I’m stubborn (and poor) so no handyman for me. I’m not paying someone to make mistakes, I’ll make them myself please and thank you 😝

Lol. Your attitude is right but also brave. My attempts end up costing more most times so it is cheaper to have someone know what they are doing. I do watch and try to learn however just in case next time it is required.

I lie to myself that it’s cheaper to do everything myself 😝😅 and I think in the long run it will be but having to buy so many tools costs a lot at first.

haha, nothing is safe from you in the house 😄

That is very true! The man and the dog should also remember that…

I need my bathroom destroyed like this.

I am available once I’ve fully destroyed my own. I need a crowbar, a hammer and a screwdriver (the drink kind too) and do not get in my way.

Remind me never to piss you off. Kinda feel bad for the tiles, you know?
Also, you're probably the only person I know whose stories will casually mention,

Then I dug through the drywall

you know, like you do. Nothing to see here. Can't wait to see what you make of this, Eve!

Remind me never to piss you off. Kinda feel bad for the tiles, you know?
Also, you're probably the only person I know whose stories will casually mention,

Then I dug through the drywall

you know, like you do. Nothing to see here. Can't wait to see what you make of this, Eve!

PS: You should totally track down whoever built this, and send them pictures of the redone bathroom. You know, vaguely ominous, and probably so gratifying :D

Curiosity killed the cat 😝😅

You already know that who ever build this is a man in his 60’s and no matter what evidence is provided he thinks he’s done a stellar job! If there is problems it was someone elses fault for sure, probably mine because I have long hair and take long showers 😂 you know the type right?

Damn girl, you really went deep with that renovation lol! I have the same problem but I will just paint or fill the gaps between the tiles with some white paste and leave it like that! I'm not as brave as you are, haha!

If it’s just cosmetic that’s fine but if it’s water damage it’s gonna start smelling so so bad at some point and get very nasty. But I won’t advice anyone to be this reckless when not having the experience 😅

I know. I'd do a bit more if it would be my flat, but living in someone's else apartment who gets monthly rent from me, is more than enough, lol

In that case you will do absolutely nothing unless the owner at least pays for supplies!

That's what I thought too 😁

I was rather expecting Miley Cyrus' outfit and tools ;-)))

Hahaha brilliant! A wrecking ball would have made this way faster.