Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Long Project Is Long, But Complete

So, the downstairs bathroom is finally done. This project has taken a very long time to complete. Most of this was due to my doing the woodwork very slowly, over a period of months, in spare time here and there. Some more was due to doing the tiling ourselves. I am becoming convinced that except for small jobs, the piecemeal attempt is really not the way to approach them - trying to set into a task during an evening or weekend when you have other things on, or when you're already tired, is asking for trouble. And then the setup, bringing in tools, and the takedown all cut into the available time. Next time I'm working on something like this, I'm going to take a chunk of time off, and do it in one run.

So what did we do? Well, we removed the original bathroom fittings (more strictly speaking, my brother came in and removed them, blocking off pipes as necessary). The fitters from B&Q came in and fitted a new bath, shower, toilet, and sink. We tiled the areas over the bath, and then we fitted tongue and groove wood panelling on the walls. A few low shelves went in, to hold all the paraphernalia that happens in a bathroom. Finally, we painted the woodwork, in the Scandinavian style.

The new bath is much larger, and can comfortably fit two people. The new shower is a work of glory, even if it's not the self-heating shower we wanted; fitting that would have taken extra electrical work, which would have been very complex. The people from B&Q, aside from some problems with getting stuff from warehousing to us, and timing everything, were very good.

The tiling was painful, though. I am very close to saying that I will not do tiling ever again, but I think that might be an overreaction. The issue was, essentially, that the room does not possess any right angles, neither in the walls nor in the corners between wall and floor. This meant that with the best will in the world, starting from a level line (the edge of the bath), and a supposedly vertical corner, by the time we got to the next wall, the tiles and that wall disagreed strongly as to where "vertical" was. However, they're tiles, they're in place, and we've disguised many of the issues with woodwork.

The woodwork was slow. Part of this was tools; until quite late in the project, I was using only hand tools, and turning screws overhead by hand, when you're not used to such an action, can result in violent and peculiar cramps in the forearm and hand. Mitre cuts for the edging were completely impossible with the tools I had, so for that, we had to go out to a friend who has a table saw. And so on, and so forth. However, it's all in now, and I'm happy enough with it to let it be, even though there are things I'll do differently for the next project.

Pictures will follow, once I extract them from the camera!