Sunday, January 13, 2008

Third Law of Home Improvement

This weekend was a DIY extravaganza at min hus. Unfortunately, it was a DIY weekend that fell under the third law of home improvement. You know, the law that says any home improvement project you undertake will take at least three times longer than you think to complete it. It all started innocently enough with my tub.

Sure it looks fine enough, but the caulking around the tub was starting to mildew and pull away from the tile. The final straw was when my cat pulled off a chunk of loose caulk and tried to eat it. My plan was to re-caulk the tub in an hour, two at the most, then help the boyfriend paint the basement.

The first problem started as soon as I cut into the caulk on the outside of the shower door and water squirted out. This wasn't a complete shock because it didn't look like the inside of the frame was caulked where it should have been. I showed J and he said there was no way I could re-caulk the door with water stuck in the frame. He suggested taking out the doors, since I had been considering getting rid of them anyway. While nothing special, the doors look decent enough from a distance, but examine them closely and you'll see paint splotches, bits of rust and mildew beyond the reach of my scrubbing.

So we took out the doors and frame to find this gruesome sight (warning, if you're eating, you might want to skip this):

Gross isn't it? J said have fun and went back to his project. I cleaned the stains and mildew as best I could (the magic eraser really is magic), then set to removing the old caulk, re-caulking, and then cleaning that off in a huff since it looked terrible, and re-caulking again. Very tedious stuff. Tip: if, like me, you're not a super-neat caulk-artist then I definitely recommend using painter's tape. Though it's still not perfect or completely done, it finally became somewhat presentable.

Now I just have to decide if I prefer a shower curtain or doors.

I loved the doors when I first saw them, but living with them is another story. They make cleaning the shower difficult, keeping the track and doors pristine is impossible and since my bathroom is so tiny I manage to whack my elbow on the doors at least once a week. All of these things have me leaning toward keeping the shower curtain. Anyone else care to weigh in?


  1. I personally prefer curtains, having had both.
    I like the bit of color or funkyness that a curtain can add... and be changed easily.
    I like that it is easily removable... so I can bathe the pups... something that is hard with doors, since half of the tub is covered and the pup can go hide in the covered part so I can't get him.
    I like that if I bump it in the shower it isn't cold and slippery and that it holds in heat better.

    One thing though... if you go with curtain, get one with weights or attach your own to the bottom so it seals better.

  2. Rock out with your caulk out!! I like the curtains too. They are easy to clean/replace when you get sick of the color. i.e. You can give your bathroom an instant makeover!

    And, I am sure they are cheaper too!

  3. Yup, I think I'm keeping the curtain, although I hate seeing that stain on the tub!

    Marit- I though my 'caulk-artist' was pretty good, but your first line there puts it to shame.

  4. There is a cleaner at Home Depot that WILL get rid of that stain. If I remember when I get home I'll get the name. Our apartment bathroom looked like a crack whore had the runs in 1972 and it was left to rot...till the Fiance attacked it with this crazy (terrible for the environment, no doubt) cleaner and now it's shiny!!

  5. OK, just asked the Fiance...we're apparently out of it and he can't remember the exact name. It's shaped like a Fantastik spray bottle, the label is silver & white and it's a Home Depot house brand cleaner for "mold and mildew". It has scary instructions (open window, small squirts, dance on one leg, etc.).

  6. My shower doors were never installed properly so water leaks when we shower. I am thinking of removing them. How hard is it to remove? Is it something one person (girl) can do on their own? Any tips or instructions?


  7. Tran - Well, it's been awhile, so I'm trying to remember. While one person probably could do this by themselves in a pinch, I think it would be awkward. Just having someone to help hold things while you're taking the doors out would be very helpful. Also, it might depend on how handy you are, I'm not so I probably would have gotten frustrated trying to figure out how to disassemble the door myself.

    However, you wouldn't need a second person for long. One you remove the door and frame, you can easily take care of the more time-consuming steps of removing caulk and cleaning. One thing to think about ahead of time is what you're going to fill the remaining screw holes with. There are some ideas here.


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