Monday, 18 March 2019

Bathroom project - Tiling

Tiling well is difficult.  Tiling is where any imprecisions in the horizontals or verticals, or in angles that are supposed to be 90°, all come back to bite your bum.  You can easily spot the mistakes, as the tiles that are supposed to be four-square, march in zi-zag pattern up the wall, or thin lines of grout widen to rivers along their length.

I don't claim to be expert in this.  On the plus side, grouting can cover a multitude of sins, and with this in mind I used a brilliant white grout, the same colour as the tiles.  Grouting in a contrasting colour is for the very brave or the supreme expert, neither of which description applies to me when it comes to tiling.

One of the things I discovered in the DIY shop, and which worked well, is a new kind of spacer.  It's designed not only to space the tiles accurately in relation to each other, but to make sure they are all at the same height so that they make a flat surface.  The manufacturer is Pavilift, and there is all the info you could possibly need on their website.

This photo shows them in action in the shower cubicle..  Tip: make sure there is no tile glue behind the black clamps, as it can scratch the tiles.  Also, make sure that the tiles don't move as you tighten down the clamp.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Not Champagne

These days, you're not allowed to describe fizzy wine made according to the method originated in Champagne as being made according to the Champgne method.  You have to say "traditional method".   This doesn't disguise the fact that champagne (the drink) is overpriced compared to the competition.

Last night we opened a bottle of fizz as part celebration of Anita's birthday.  It's one of the ones we bought on holiday in the Alsace region; a rosé, slightly off a hard brut in sweetness, and delicious.  And made, of course, using the traditional method.  I can't remember how much we paid for it, but I am confident that it was a lot less than a champagne of similar quality.


Later addition: I had a quick look on the Metz website; it looks like you can get a bottle of this fizz for a bit more than 8 euro.  Can't get a decent champagne for that.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Bathroom project - Electrics

In the UK, you're not allowed to do your own house electrics - you are supposed to call in a professional, and you can't buy the bits in DIY shops any more.  They're less anal in France, and you can do your own work if necessary.

There wasn't much electrics to do in the bathroom.  I just replaced the existing sockets and light switches with new ones.  You don't need to have light switches operated by a pull cord (so the switch is away from any sources of water) and you can have standard electrical sockets on the wall, as long as they're not over the sink (or in the shower, or any other stupid place)

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Bathroom project 4 - Plumbing

A renovation of a bathroom inevitably involves plumbing.   I've described the shower waste connection and the connections for the sink.    The toilet water supply pipe I had to send up vertically then out horizontally to the cistern.   This needed a bit of pipe bending and a 90 degree soldered joint, but the result is fine, even if the solder joint could be cleaner.   With the plasterboard in place and tiled, the effect is quite good.  I can do the cosmetic stuff on the pipe and the hole later.

For the shower tap I used a fitting that I've not used before.  It claims to make fitting shower taps easy, and it does seem to work.  You fix a metal plate to your wall, and two 90° connectors (hot and cold) slot into it.  You have to cut matching holes in the tiles of course, but if you do it right, you can take the connecting pipes out for inspection later if needed.   (The photo of the metal plate shows the water pipes that are to be connected to the 90° connectors.)

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Bathroom project 3 - The shower

The shower posed a bit of a challenge.  The old waste pipe ran at ground level and disappeared into a wall.  Anita wanted a new shower tray that she didn't have to step up into, which means the waste pipe going down through the floor into the room below.  Fortunately I was able to chase the old pipe into the wall and reconnect a new one without too much damage downstairs.

The floor under the shower tray was anything but level, so I had to flatten it by putting a cowpat of mortar down, covering it with plastic and letting it set with the shower tray on top, wedged up to make it level.  This seemed to work as a technique.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Bathroom project 2 - First steps

The very first step was to decide the extent of the renovations.  The tiling job on the floor is atrocious, so replacing the floor is an option.  The floor is also the ceiling of the room below, so replacing that would also involve re-doing the downstairs as well.  In the end, it's staying; we're going to smooth it out, then cover it with PVC floor covering.

The sink will go, as will the shower.  The bog is functional, and also happens to be mortared into the floor.  I'm not sure we could get it out without wrecking the floor, so it stays.  The shower and sink will be replaced, and we'll put up wall-mounted storage units instead of the floor-standing ones.  Oh, and the wall(s) will be grey where they're not tiled.

First step - remove the old sink, put up a new tiled wall, get ready to attach the sink and wall units.

The old sink is out, the water pipes capped off temporarily.  Now extended all the tubes so they will reach through the new wall.

Put some steel frames for the plasterboard, get the new wall in.  Tile it.  Not my best job of tiling, but I've tried using some new-fangled tile fixing gadgets that I hadn't got used to.  It's all good experience, I'm sure.  And with careful planning, any inaccuracies will be hidden behind the wall units or under the sink.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Bathroom project 1 - The old bathroom

Well it really was a bit grotty. 

The fetching pink tile background to the sink features a practical, if narrow, shelf for toiletries.  Those that don't fit are stored in attractive stacked plastic baskets on wheels.  A wooden storage unit and electric radiator complete the view from the door.

Against the opposite wall (actually the same wall because it's round) the bog is fed by a water pipe coming in at a jaunty angle from lower down the wall, with the cleaning stuff and spare bog rolls tastefully arranged beside it.  The shower unit to the left of the picture is a cheapo free-standing cubicle unit from a down-market DIY.  You have to push the walls to the right in order to open the door.

The walls are 40 shades of beige.

Something Must Be Done.
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