Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wallpaper Removal. Is It Worth It?

Or More Like What Worked and What Didn't.

One of the first and most daunting tasks a lot of people face when they first move into an older home is what to do with the wallpaper. For most people, living with it just isn't an option. Wallpaper preferences are not only deeply personal, but trends come and go so quickly, it gets outdated pretty quickly.

When we moved into our 1974 house, there were six different wallpapers in the house and I wasn't going to keep any of them.

1. Rip off what you can.

Sounds like common sense, and it really is. If it's possible, do it. Some of the wallpaper in our house had been there so long and the air so dry, that it was practically falling off the wall as it was. THAT was awesome! In the living room, where an entire "focal" wall was papered, it came off in huge strips--like a quarter of the wall at once. My son and I had so much fun!

But even if it doesn't come off in large pieces, it's easier and cleaner than anything else.

While monotonous, pulling off pieces was highly satisfying when you get a large chunk. I started to feel like I was playing Minesweeper. In the picture above, you can see by the shadow that it isn't stuck, so I would tug on that part, and sometimes I'd get a big piece to come off, and others it would be disappointingly small.

What didn't come off easily, I tried to pry off with a scraper. NOT a good idea as it left pits and scratches and even huge gouges. Which meant that I would need to repair the wall before painting it.

2. Spray with Mixture of Laundry Detergent and Water

I wasn't very exact when I mixed this up. You could probably find a "recipe" somewhere online if you're worried about it, but I think I did about equal parts liquid laundry detergent and water in a spray bottle. After letting it sit only a few minutes, the liquid penetrated and the wallpaper was easily scraped off the walls.

The biggest problem with that--there was an awful residue left behind. I ended up washing it with a mild dish washing liquid and water mixture until the sticky was gone, and then rinsing with pure water. It took a little work to get rid of the slippery soapy feel and the sticky wallpaper paste residue.

3. Roll-On Wall Texture Paint

Looking for an easy way to texture the walls where I'd removed the wallpaper, I decided to try out wall texture paint. Instead of adding texture to the paint, I purchased a pre-mixed roll-on texture. I wouldn't recommend it. We tried to apply it with both the recommended texture roller, which made for very close, very rough peaks, and a regular paint roller, which still looked awful.

Not sure what I did wrong, but the texture paint didn't create an appealing look.

Not only that, but it didn't stick well at all. (Which may have been due to the laundry detergent trick.)

So I just tried to scrape it all off the wall so I could start over.

4. Forget What I Said and Do This Instead!

What I learned from this project was that the easiest solution is to rent a hopper and texture over the existing wallpaper. Period.

When we realized how long this process had taken just for a small bathroom (out of three) and one focal wall when we had entire entryway and breakfast room still to go, we knew something else needed to be done.

Enter hopper and texture. As in the kind you mix yourself and spray onto the walls. We rented a hopper from our local home improvement store, bought some of the dry texture, mixed it up, and were on our way.

Well, okay, so it wasn't quite that easy--we had to do a lot of prep. Most of the time it took us to do this project was in masking off light switches and wall outlets, as well as draping windows and doorways. And of course, you need to protect your floors as well, except that we were planning on replacing our carpet, so we only had to protect the floors in a couple of the rooms.

Prepping for texture. That took the most time.

The hopper was easy to use and it only took a few hours to do all the rooms versus the days I'd already spent trying to remove the wallpaper in the two rooms I'd started on. It was so worth it!

Be warned though, it is a very messy, fun, two-person job--which is why I didn't get pictures taken. Sorry about that. But it was so nice. My husband sprayed and I followed behind, lightly knocking down the texture with a knockdown knife. One tip about using the knife, you will need to make sure you wipe if off every time and look out for build-up that can leave lines in your texture.

One thing I loved--we didn't remove the wallpaper border, but with the texture, you couldn't even tell one was there under the texture.

The same wall in previous pictures.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Adventures in Insulation

We'd never done it before, though we've lived in several houses that could have used it. But in this 1974 house, it couldn't be ignored. The house had almost NO attic insulation left. What was there had compressed so much, it only measured a couple of inches in most spots. As in two inches--nowhere near where it should be.

So we decided blowing in attic insulation would be high on our priority list in renovating this house. We moved in at the beginning of the summer, and in Texas, there was no way I was going to send my husband up into the attic in the sweltering heat, possibly to never find him alive again. (And I wasn't volunteering myself, that's for sure!) We did, however, want it done before winter.

Phase one of the project involved my husband installing an attic pull-down ladder. Instead of expanding the woefully tiny attic access that only the circus tall-man could have slipped his skinny little body through, he chose to create a new space where the ladder could be easily accessed and sturdily attached to the ceiling joists. (Later he did trim out the hole so it doesn't look quite this rough.)


Once we had comfortable attic access, we scheduled the day for blowing insulation. The first Friday evening in October, we prepared everything we needed. By purchasing the insulation from Lowe's, we were able to borrow the hopper free of charge for 24-hours (with a ten package minimum purchase, which was about a quarter of the amount we used). Using charts we found online and in the store, we calculated the number of "bales" we thought we needed for the size of our home and the existing amount of insulation, and loaded our garage for an early morning.

Not having any idea how long this little project would take us, we got up at dawn-thirty on a cool Saturday morning and hoped we wouldn't make too many enemies in our neighborhood with our racket. We hooked up the hopper--which consisted of plugging it in and dragging the hose up the attic ladder to the furthest point in the attic.

My job was easy: making sure the hopper didn't get low. So basically, I just fed the monster all day long. It was noisy and dirty and completely boring. Pretty much almost as soon as I opened the plastic and pulled off chunks of the insulation (which came off rather easily) and dropped them into the churning hopper. I was pretty happy with the insulation we chose. It was clean and easy to use, and the hopper never got stuck.

My husband's job was just a tiny bit harder, but mostly on his knees and his head. His mission was to wrangle the hose, angling it over our cathedral ceiling and into each crevice, while simultaneously making sure not to fall between the ceiling joists. All the while, he needed to remember to make sure his head didn't get snagged on the roofing nails that jutted out like a medieval torture device.

It took approximately 7 hours and 39 packages of the GreenFiber R-13 to R-60 to insulate our home. One of the easiest (says me, who only had to stand there) and most effective projects to date.

You Will Also Need:

Make sure each of you also has a good air mask and goggles (personally, I would spring for the anti-fog variety so you can actually see what you're doing).

And a MUST for the person in the attic: a headlamp for hands-free light!

Tip I wish we'd been smart enough to consider:

Make sure to do any electrical work BEFORE doing this. We are still planning to install recessed lights in the kitchen. Now hubby will have to dig through his hard work in the attic to get access. Eh, but why make it easy on him, right?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to Build a Floating Wood Fireplace Mantel

One of my favorite renovations in our house--and certainly my husband's pride and joy--is our fireplace mantel. Not only does it look fabulous, but it was cheap, easy, and a fun way for father and son to have beating something up.

As with pretty much every surface in the house, when we moved in, the fireplace was all one color--vanilla. Boring.

After painting the brick a brighter white (I would have loved a whitewash look over the natural color of the brick, but I wasn't about to go through the work of somehow getting rid of the previous coats of paint), we were left with this "lovely" look for a mantel. Granted, it was a different color, but that was because we knew it wasn't going to stay. I mean, look at it! Maybe in 1974, but nope, not in 2016.

The best thing I can say about this mantel is it has an outlet.

Scouring Pinterest (oh, such torture to be forced to perform one of my favorite pastimes, right?), hubby and I decided on a plan. And it was a simple one.

After measuring, we decided on 1x6x8 and 1x10x8 pine boards. We liked the softer wood of the pine to work with. While we wanted the boards as straight as possible, we weren't too worried about how rough they were because step two involved beating up the wood as much as possible. That's where father and son had some fun using their muscles to scar the wood with screws, hammers, chains, and anything else they could do to make it look a little more rustic.

Inside the floating mantel. Crafted to slip over the existing brick one.

Once the wood was sufficiently beat up, my handyman crafted this box to slide over the existing brick mantel. You may notice that he didn't miter it anywhere--and that was on purpose.

No-Miter Mantel

Using the same Minwax mahogany gel stain I'd used on the beams overhead (see blog post about that here) in that room brought out the detail of the "flaws" and helped tie the room together.

The nice thing about the fact that the new mantel slides over the existing one is that there aren't any screw holes that had to be fixed, it can be changed at any time with no demo, and--it makes a great hiding place for letters or valuables or whatever. . . Not that I've done that. Probably.

Checking the fit before finishing the stain.

I think it turned out pretty great!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Great Review of Remodel Novel

While I love remodeling my house, it's more of a hobby than anything else, which makes my blogging about it a hobby of a hobby. (And thank you for reading it!)

My real job, however, is that of being a novelist. My latest novel, The {Re}Model Marriage which has a lot to do with remodeling, was released at the end of March 2016. Just the other day, my book was reviewed by the prestigious InD'Tale Magazine, and I'm thrilled with what they had to say.

Among other things, the reviewer said,

"This is a beautiful allegorical work that is seldom seen in this day and age. A wonderful story filled with heartwarming surprises, this is a novel that should not be passed up!"

Overall, the book garnered 4 1/2 stars!

If you'd like to read the entire review, please click on the images below (two different web pages, same article).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Home Remodel Novel Finalist in Cover Contest

The InD'Tale Magazine is holding its cover contest again, and the cover for my latest release, The {Re}Model Marriage, has qualified as a finalist and I need your HELP!

Click on the image to vote for your favorite cover (which I hope is mine!).

The cover for The {Re}Model Marriage is one of four covers chosen, and now I need YOUR help! It's simple and takes only a minute. Voting does require signing up for their free monthly magazine that comes complete with reviews in many genres (and you could unsubscribe any time, though you won't want to). After signing in, take a look at the four covers and vote for your favorite. Easy as that!

Thank you so much for being willing to help! It means a lot to me!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

More Home Renovation Tips

Ten More Home Renovation Tips

to make your remodeling project go a little easier!

1. If you are unable to loosen a tight or rusty bolt, try these steps:

* Tighten it the wrong way, and then try the right way.
* Tap it with a hammer.
* Use a heat gun or hair dryer.
* Use a product like Liquid Wrench or WD-40.
* If all else fails and you don’t need to use the same hole, use a reciprocating saw and cut it off.

2. Salvage your molding.

Oftentimes it’s difficult to find molding to match the rest of your home—especially if you live in an older one—and you might need it for another project. To remove the molding safely:
1. Tap a 3-inch scraper behind the edge of the trim.
2. Rock it back and forth until you can fit a pry bar in front of the scraper.
3. Slide the trim outward, being careful not to dent the wood with the pry bar.
4. Once the molding is free, pull the finish nails through the back with pliers.

3. Paint dries quickly when you are painting trim with a brush.

To minimize this problem, pour a manageable amount of paint into a smaller container and add latex extender. This will give the paint time to level out and leave a smoother finish.

4. When tiling, if you have a section where you need to build the height to match something else, use kitty litter in the thinset.

It will soak up the extra moisture, help the thinset dry with the tile in place, and will harden like concrete.

5. If a hole has become too loose to hold a screw tight (for a hinge, etc.), fill it with a toothpick dipped in wood glue, break off the toothpick at the surface, and then screw back into the same hole.

6. Tiling tip for difficult cuts and mesh-backed mosaics:

Draw the cut line on the front of the tiles, clamp the tile sheet to the workbench, and cut the tiles with a 4-inch side grinder.

7. Old plastic shower curtain liners and plastic-covered tablecloths make the best drop cloths for painting.

They are just the right weight, have straight lines (no gaps for drips), are a manageable size, and drips won’t bleed through.

8. Attach a strong magnet to the end of your hammer to hold nails while you’re working.

9, When replacing anything in your house, keep the old fixture in the best condition possible until the project is completed.

You never know when you might need that extra tile or faucet piece. If you don’t end up needing it,
you can donate it to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for someone else to use. There are also others who restore old homes that might be looking for exactly what you have. Check online before you throw anything away.

10. Headed to the hardware store?

Use your smartphone to take pictures of your project before you go. That way you can find specific products or consult with an expert and find exactly what you need to finish your job.

These and other great tips can be found in Maria Hoagland's first Romance Renovations novel, The {Re}Model Marriage.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Home Renovation Tips

Ten Home Renovation Tips

to make the process a little easier and a bit more fun!

1. To create a neat bead of caulk

* Cut the tip of the tube at a 45° angle.
* Apply even pressure on the trigger as you move the caulking gun slowly across where you want the caulk to be.
* With a damp finger, slide with slight, even pressure across the line of caulk. If it’s too wet the caulk will be runny, too dry and the caulk will pull up, sticking to your finger. If you press too hard, it will squish out and make a mess. With a little practice, you will get the hang of it.
* Wipe the excess off your finger frequently. When you start again, overlap just a little where you stopped, and the finish will be seamless.

2. To remove a stripped screw, place a thick rubber band between the screw and the screwdriver.

You might need to go up a size on the screwdriver.

3. To keep from hitting your finger or thumb with a hammer, use a comb or bobby pin to hold the nail steady while you drive it in.

4. To drill straight, use a block of wood to the side or bottom of the drill as a guide.

5. Choosing paint colors can be harder than you think.

Start with your fabric as a guide, and choose at least ten paint chips to look at in the space. After narrowing down the selection, buy three or more samples to try on the wall. Live with the samples for a day or two, taking note how they look in the changing light throughout the day. A word of warning: Just because it looks good in one room, doesn’t mean it will work in another—try it out first.

6. Use a paint stir stick to scrape off the wax ring when replacing a toilet.

The stick is free, disposable, and will keep your tools from getting gunked up.

7. The rule of thumb when painting a room is from top to bottom: ceiling, walls, trim, touch-up.

8. Everyone’s heard, “Measure twice, cut once.”

Another thing to take into account is the amount the blade will remove from whatever you are cutting. When you measure, make sure to tell yourself whether to “Cut the line” or “Save the line.”

9. To remove mold from drywall, studs, trim, or tile

Scrub with a mixture of 1 quart water and ½ cup bleach with a soft brush until all traces of the mold are gone. Make sure to let it dry completely, moving it to direct sunlight if possible (trim or tile).

10. What to expect in a remodel—

* Dust
* Noise
* The Unexpected
* Cash Concerns
* Changing Your Mind
* Decisions, Decisions, and Even More Decisions
* Delays & Setbacks
* A Party When It’s Complete!

These and other tips can also be found in Maria Hoagland's first Romance Renovations novel, The {Re}Model Marriage.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Home Decorating Tips

to Give Your Home a Quick Update

1.Take a close look at landscaping on an older home.

Boost your curb appeal by removing overgrown vegetation, especially if it is too close to the house or it conceals the home’s unique architecture.

2. Add character from a hallway into a living area, by adding trim to a blank corner making it look like a column.

Add crown molding and baseboards and paint in trim color to complete the effect. It is a great way to separate different room colors.

3. Add a pop of color in an otherwise neutral room by painting the door an accent color.

4. Previously painted wood can be repainted to have a woodgrain look.

This technique works best for wood that will not be inspected close up (like ceiling beams).
* Paint the undertone you want—usually a yellow or reddish color.
* The more paint colors you apply, the more undertones you will see.
* On subsequent layers, use a chip brush so that the paint covers unevenly. You want some of the undertones to show through.
* Finish with the gel wood stain color you want. Again, apply with a chip brush so that it doesn’t block out all your other work.

5. Upgrade your stairs.

Remove the carpet and add stained bullnose wood on top of each tread.

6. If you’re looking for a way to add character to your home, consider trimming your builder-grade window wells with thick millwork.

If you have a window that doesn’t need privacy, consider dressing it up with corbels or brackets in the corners.

7. To add some finished style to your home, put a decorative frame around your flat screen TV and light switch plates.

8. Build a Window Seat 

If your house doesn’t have a built-in window seat but you have a wall where you want one, construct your own window seat from old kitchen upper cabinets turned upside-down (check the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area) or a free-standing bookshelf turned on its side. Add caster wheels or furniture legs if you need more height, and pillows for decoration and cushion.

9. Is the metal in your home outdated?

Spray paint light fixtures, fireplace screens, door handles, and hinges in the metallic finish you want.

10. Sewing with limited experience?

There are several non-sewing options for curtains and recovering pillows. If you decide to sew, choose a pattern that has stripes, plaid, or a recurring pattern where you can cut a straight line—it will make sewing that much easier!

These tips and more can also be found in Maria Hoagland's first Romance Renovations novel, The {Re}Model Marriage.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Cleaning & Home Maintenance Tips

Eight Cleaning & Home Maintenance Tips

that Will Make Your Life Easier

1. Spray your lawnmower blades with cooking spray to keep the grass from sticking.

2. Sweep talcum powder into cracks to reduce squeaks in hardwood floors.

3. Fix a popped floor nail before it cuts your foot or rips your sock.

* Remove the nail with locking pliers against a 3-inch plastic scraper (so you don’t dent the wood).
* Replace the nail with a wood screw.
* Cover the screw head with wood putty in a color that matches the rest of the floor.

4. Make your own DIY room freshener.

Fill a 16 oz. spray bottle with 6 oz. of water, 6 oz. of lime juice (lemon, grapefruit, or orange would be nice too), and 4 oz. of baking soda. It is economical, chemical-free, and leaves your room with a clean, citrusy smell.

5. Cut a lemon in half and rub it onto fixtures to remove water spots.

6. Shoe storage in a closet or mud room

For heel storage, mount a length of crown molding a foot or so off the floor to your closet wall. Hang the heels over the molding. Hang other shoes on pegs or hooks also mounted to the wall.

7. Store chalk in your toolbox to keep your tools from rusting.

8. Holiday Storage:

Wrap string lights around a hanger to keep them from getting tangled.

These tips, as well as others, can also be found in Maria Hoagland's first Romance Renovations novel, The {Re}Model Marriage.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Multi-Book, Multi-Author Book Giveaway!

The {Re}Model Marriage by Maria Hoagland Released this Week!

To celebrate, Maria Hoagland and her author friends are running a giveaway!

Fifteen Books and fifteen winners will be announced on Maria Hoagland's newsletter April 15!

 Use the Rafflecopter below to enter the giveaway.

Enter, share, enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 1, 2016

Romance Renovations Book One: The {Re}Model Marriage by Maria Hoagland

I'm excited to announce that
The {Re}Model Marriage is now available!

The {Re}Model Marriage

is available in Paperback & eBook

What's even better? The reviews are coming in too, and so far, they've all been great!


Here's what some reviewers have said:

"I loved this book. I could relate to it on so many levels. So many people say that remodeling or building a house will cause you to divorce because it is so stressful, but just like Jamie and Kirk in the book, it was like therapy for us. We loved being able to work together and play off either others strengths and to build our dream house together. I love when an author tackles real life stuff that others don't want to approach. Life is hard, marriage is even harder it is refreshing to read a not so fairy like tale once in a while. Maria really hit it out of the park with this one. I absolutely loved it! It is a must read for sure!"

Arrived at my doorstep!
"Maria Hoagland’s skillful writing kept me entertained during the highs and lows of this couple’s battle to reignite their smoldering love through to a sweet ending. Well done, Ms. Hoagland."
--Debra Efert

"This book is cute and creative! I really enjoyed reading it. Jamie and Kirk were great characters. I loved the way that their relationship was kind of like their house...old, tired, and not everything worked anymore . . . I loved the way that as the story goes along, the house becomes almost a character as well. I loved the way it had secrets that Jamie and Kirk were able to find and add to as well. The plot of this one is cute, and it moves along pretty quickly. It's cute, clean and fun! Make sure to grab a copy to read!"
--My Book a Day (follow link for full review)

" I enjoyed the unique way the author found for them to share their true feelings even though their trust had eroded. A quick and enjoyable read."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What's Behind that Crooked Tile in the Shower?

When the Drywall is Anything But Dry

You've bought a new-to-you old house and some parts are just gross. Like the moldy caulk that is peeling in the kids' shower. You go to take a closer look and realize that some of the tiles look a little crooked, like a six-year-old about to lose his first tooth. Not worrying too much about it, you go back to what you came for--peeling off the offensive caulk so you can apply some fresh, beautiful white latex in its place. Except when you pull on that string of caulk, it comes off easily--too easily, in fact--but also, unexpectedly, so does the tile behind it. That's when you know you're in for some trouble.

A note of warning, some of these pictures are gross and disturbing, and I'm almost embarrassed to post them, except they were like this when we bought the house--I promise--so it's not my fault!

Ew, Gross! Time to Fix This

Moldy caulk, crooked tiles, ugly mismatched grout. Time to go!

Obviously, seeing this in the shower completely grossed me out. So I decided to take the time to pull out the dirty and ineffective caulk. Not only did I want to improve the look, but as you can see, the caulk had receded so far (see right side of photo), that I doubted it was very effective. Instead of trying to clean it, I decided to pull it out and replace it with a nice, clean, even line of fresh caulk.

Is there anything more beautiful than a bead of fresh caulk? (If it isn't gobbed on, that is.)

So I pulled out my trusty utility knife, grabbed a trash can to drop the old stuff in, and figured in half an hour, I'd be ready to caulk and be done in forty-five minutes or an hour. No problem, right?

Until the Tiles Fell Out on Me

Pulling on the string of caulk at the front of the shower/tub under the faucet, I was surprised by the clanging of tiles as they dropped into the porcelain tub. I had been concentrating so much on the caulk, I hadn't even realized the tiles were loose, and in one pull, I had three tiles on the floor of the tub.

You might be able to tell from the picture that the drywall behind the tile was sopping wet. As evidenced by the mold, it had been going on for a while, I had to guess.

Pulling Off the Rest of the Tiles

Knowing there was no way we would want to put the tiles back up on saturated drywall, I started removing the rest of the tiles that popped off with the slightest pressure from my fingertips. Basically, the only thing holding them on the wall was the grout between them.

There was so much water, it was probably that it wasn't a result of faulty caulk at the base of the tile, and I knew we needed to find the source of the problem. In fact, the drywall was so saturated, it was crumbling.

Drywall paper and the backs of the tile. Lovely mold, huh?

I continued to remove rows of tile from the bottom up with the intention of stopping when I came to a place where the wall was completely dry under the tile. That took more rows than I thought it would. In fact, I didn't end up stopping until I got to a place where someone had replaced the drywall before at some point. I could tell this because there were two pieces of drywall next to each other with no mesh or tape or connection of any type between the two pieces. That, actually, was probably a good thing because there was no way for the water to continuing bleeding up into the upper segment.

By the time I found dry drywall (that should be redundant, but it was not), I'd removed all these tiles.

 I saved and reused the tiles I could (after bleaching off the mold). The mold shows the water problem areas.

Then Comes the Hole in the Wall

Removing the saturated drywall was easy. I just ripped it down with my fingertips and got so involved with it, I forgot to take pictures while I was making my mess. But trust me, it was a total disaster.

So then this is what I ended up with: a big hole in the wall, but with nice straight edges.

This is also where my husband took over the project. He's the handyman; I do the finishing touches (like caulk). We could tell by the mold on the two-by-four wall stud and the green patina on the copper fitting that the problem had been ongoing, and the pipe joint must be the source of the problem.

I can't tell you all the technical details (though there are some to come), but my husband successfully replaced parts and got the leak stopped. We actually were stalled at this stage for quite a while because we were just going to replace the broken piece and put everything back in place.

After weeks of online research, visiting local plumbing and box-stores (even a small shop in a mobile home that sells vintage parts for trailer homes), and ordering a part or two online that didn't end up working, we realized there was no way to repair the 1974 fixture. How my husband wished he had kept all the pieces to the old faucet! If he'd just had one small part from the original, he would have been able to make new handles work, but he had tossed it all out thinking we'd just get new. (And that was when we realized that you ALWAYS need to hold on to the old parts until the job is complete. But anyway. . . )

And the New Plumbing

Not wanting to solder the pipes (something my husband has done many times before, but not in this house), he went with SharkBite couplings to connect old copper pipes with the new ones. As you see below, he used some 90-degree ones as well as straights.

Aren't the new pipes gorgeous? Since we already had the wall torn up and were replacing pipes, and because we had no choice but to replace the entire assembly, we decided to switch from the two-handle fixture to a Delta one-handed twist on/off

When we made that decision, we were aware there would be some tiles we would need to replace because of where the cuts were made, but since our shower was tiled in the plain white square tiles that every hardware store in the country sells for a few cents a pop, we figured we were good.

With the water now running where it was supposed to go, and not running where it wasn't supposed to, we were ready to close up the wall again. Of course, we did it with hardie backer board made to go in wet places and behind tile instead of drywall. The plumbing work was gorgeous and efficient, and now the project was handed back over to me.

Time to tile. Except we ran into a little trouble.

2016 tile on the left, 1974 tile on the right.

With {Some} New Tile

Yep. A size difference. Not much, but enough that I was worried it would be all too obvious when it came to lining up to the adjacent wall.

Luckily, we had cleaned and kept all of the tiles that were intact or could fit around the new plumbing, so we only had to come up with a few new tiles. I decided it wasn't worth retiling the entire shower--time, expense, or work. I'd line them up as close to straight as I could, centering the small tile so that with a little extra grout all the way around, maybe no one would notice.

New and old tile mixed together.

For the grout, I purchased a tube of premixed, non-sanded grout. Almost as easy as the caulk I was supposed to be using when I started the project.

It worked out okay, even if a forty-five minute project turned into a month. At least we had another working shower!


Not too bad--as long as you don't look too closely.