Master Bedroom Remodel: It's Almost Complete

Its hard to belive that I can call a project complete, but I’m getting so close to the Master Bedroom project being complete.

Last month I hired someone to finish the drywall in both the bedroom and bathroom (along with a hallway issue). They taped and cleaned up the parts where the new and old dry comes together then textured them.

Master bedroom needs a closet door

Since then I have painted, put in a new door and installed the closet hardware. The only thing left is to put in trim, all the outlet covers and a closet door. Those will be completed once I decide exactly what I want.

Information I Should Have Known About Gypcrete Before Having It Installed

I installed self leveling concrete in the master bathroom (about 7 by 8 feet). It did not come out good with the primary issue being that it was not completely level. I had calculated how much of the SLC I needed to do the job but some of it seeped through holes in the concrete. I did my best to fill all of the holes but SLC will find it’s way through the smallest of holes. I had a situation where the SLC was draining through holes as it was drying, leaving some sloping in places.

For the master bedroom I decided to contract the install of self leveling concrete to third party. I choose to have Koch Mechanical install Gypcrete. Gypcrete is not the same as the concrete product I bought at Lowes for bathroom, some would argue it’s not a concrete product at all. There are a number of things I should have understood about Gypcrete before I had it installed, thankfully non of it’s issues would prevent me from using it.

Gypcrete is a brand name belonging to the Maxxon company. Although proprietary, the name of the product should indicated that it contains a large amount of gypsum. According to the Manufacturer it is superior at dissipating heat vs normal concrete. Thus, the company that installed it for me specializes is installing gypcrete over radiant floor heating.

Gypcrete is installed in a liquid form and can be walked on in few hours, and is completely dries in 30 days. It doesn’t cure like concrete, it just dries. The finished product is like having a floor made of solid chalk. It can be scraped and dented with sharp objects. I don’t know for sure, but it seems like it could be busted up and re-liquified.

Gypecrete absorbs water easily and might react with concrete products. It also isn’t a structural product and can crack easily. For these reason the manufacturer recommends some sort of anti-fracture membrane or barrier between the Gypcrete and thinset. Since I had it installed over a very solid concrete floor (as opposed to a more flexible wood floor) I wasn’t worried about cracks.

Although the thinset I used stated it was ok to use on top of Gypsum, I felt it was a good idea to put some kind of barrier. I put down RedGuard, which is an expensive waterproofing liquid plastic that is rolled on like paint.

I’m happy to report the tile has been installed and there have been no issues with the tile, thinset or gypcrete.

Master Bedroom Remodel: Ready For Tile

This last November I installed tile in the Kitchen, it was supposed to be practice for the master bathroom tile install. I’m glad I did. I learned a few things: one that the dry winter air made it difficult to keep up with the drying the concrete products, two that it’s easy to lay a tile and think it’s level only to come back later and realize it is not.

My very small kitchen does not need perfect tile. As some point I will remodel it and do something else. I decided that I needed additonal practice and I would tile the master bedroom before attempting the bathroom. Before I could do anything with the master bedroom I had to remove all the crap that had accumulated since I had started using it as storage. To remove the crap from the master bedroom means making space in other rooms. I made about two trips to Goodwill. I still have quite a bit of crap but it felt good getting rid of that stuff.

The master bedroom had been unused for about 5 years with no remodeling progress and once I had the room cleared the project started to move quickly. I started by putting in a larger electrical conduit from the breaker box to the attic, I then ran the 220volt wires from the box to the thermostat location in the bedroom. I also finally wired up the electrical to the master bathroom’s radiant floor heating elements. Then I installed the insulating mat on the concrete floor and the the WarmlyYours heating elements. Getting the conduit to the breaker box was a huge step, since it also allows me to complete a number of other projects.

Before putting down the elements I thought I would try to install wallpaper. After a day or so the wallpaper was in it started separating from the wall. I still need to go back and fix it.

The electric heating elements need to be covered in some sort of cement product such as thinset or self leveling concrete. After my experience of putting in self leveling concrete in the master bathroom I knew I didn’t want to try it again. I considered using a layer of thinset but decided that the risks of having to crawl around on the elements and having to deal with the height thickness in the closet, which had no elements, was too much of a problem. I eventually had a local company Koch Mechanical install a 3/4 inch layer of gypcrete. On a square foot basis, the $400 I payed them for the installation may have been expensive, I could have easily wasted that much trying to do it myself.

The gypcrete was installed on Thursday and I was able to walk on it in only a few hours after it was installed. Good news as I didn’t have to fight to keep the cat out. It’s still very soft and will take a few weeks to fully harden. Also good news as I have other plans for the next few weeks.

This weekend I also installed a ceiling fan along with a separate wall switch and a hallway socket on the same circuit. This completes the electrical work for these two rooms and I can put up remaining pieces of drywall.

I expect to have this room complete, except for painted trim, in thirty days.

Radiant Floor Heating Elements Installed

This was a long work week. 4 x 12 hour shifts and workouts afterwards meant I had little energy left at the end of the day to work on the master bathroom. With the weekend here I finally was able to complete the installation of the heating elements.

The first step was cleaning the living piss out of the floor. I’m installing an insulating layer, which the manufacture of the heating system says will improve heat transfer. It’s not required but I would like to try to use this as the primary heating system for the house. (One Project Closer did this same project and there’s some debate in the comments on whether or not insulation is needed. They went without the insulation.)



The insulating materials is a dense closed cell foam that’s about 1/8″ think. It has a black plastic mat on the under side and attaches to the floor like contact paper. I have to first put a tacky glue on the floor and let it set for about 20 minutes.


If I was experienced at this, I could have cut the mat in one or two sections and applied it all at once. But I’m not so I cut it into small pieces and applied it to the floor a little at a time. It was much easier that way.

Installing the heating elements was a little more involved. Not only did I need to cut it, I had to do some manual wire layout where the floor was not square in front of the shower.

Since I will be embedding the elements in self leveling concrete, it’s important that they are anchored onto the floor so they don’t float up in the SLC.

The heating element is sewn onto the green mat but the round edges are not. They can easily stick out and have to be glued down. The manufacturer recommends using hot glue, a procedure I tried. After about a half hour and when I ran out of glue I thought there had to be a better way. There’s no way I can do this when I do the much larger master bedroom.

I found double-sided carpet tape at Lowes. I taped the green mat to the floor then taped the rounded edges to the mat. Not only does the double sided tape do a better job of holding down the mat it’s a lot faster and easier to put down.

Next up is to lay the self-leveling concrete. Concrete is still kind of magic to me and SLC is just that much more of magic. I will definitely need help with this part.

Master Bathroom Remodel: Plumbing Finished

It’s been almost two months since my last post on the master bathroom remodel progress. I had to wait for a special order shower head to arrive which took over a month. I also had to pay for the previous months remodel.

Shower connections

The special order bathroom fixtures I bought were very expensive. I can’t believe I spent so much on them. Non stock fixtures are simply not cheap and i really didn’t like the stock fixtures. I think i will be really happy with them once they are installed but I didn’t expect to pay that much for them.

Today a plumber friend came over and help me install the new shower and vanity plumbing. OK, really he did all the work. I have never done any copper soldering before so I wasn’t able to do this myself. Now that I see how it’s done it’s really not that hard and i think i could do it myself next time.


The first thing which needed to be done was to replace the dual control shower controls with a single control and route the shower head from the west wall to the south wall. There wont be a regular shower head installed here, it will be a handheld shower with a slide bar. Therefore I thought it would be best to install it on a separate wall from the shower controls.

I decided to move the vanity from the north wall to the east wall. I think i can better utilize this small space and install an extra cabinet next to the sink by having the cabinet on the east wall. The connections points however were too far over to be hidden under the sink. The cold water outlet and the drain pipe both needed to be moved over several inches.

I can now start putting the walls back up. Before I do I will put some insulation in to act as sound dampening materials. I also ordered the electric radiant floor heating for both the master bath and bedroom. Warmly Yours is having a 15% off sale for order of $1500 or more which i took advantage of. It may take me a few more months to pay that off and start work on the bathroom again.

Taking The Master Bath Back To The Studs

About a year ago most house remodeling projects came to a halt. Costs got a little out of control and I ended up with some large credit card bills. I’ve eliminated those bills and am ready to start back on my projects. I didn’t waste any of that money, it was just a bit too much to spend at once. I now have this radical new idea that I will call “planning and budgeting” and I will apply it to projects going forward.

A quick recap on this project, the house was a foreclosure. Though not trashed, it was pretty dated and in need of remodeling in several places. The master bath showed signs of leakage in the shower. It’s pretty clear that it’s been going on for a while, it had leaked into the adjacent bathroom and into the master bedroom.

Tree roots under the shower tile

I was sure the bathroom wasn’t usable in it’s current condition and would need to be tore down to the studs. As I started to demolish the walls of the shower I found that it was pretty much being held together with tree roots. Roots had grown a good foot up the wall of the shower in between the tile. As the roots took hold of the tile, it probably just made the leaking worse.

Cement gaps around shower drain

This bathroom has not been used in at least 4 years. Yet as I broke up the mortar and shower pan I found the mortar was still pretty wet. There were so many roots that it smelled like a nursery. Finally, I think i have found the root cause. The drain pipe is basically floating, there’s a huge gap of missing concrete around it and I can clearly see where main roots have made their way through the floor (this isn’t the first time I’ve had issues with the cement in this house). I assume that a little water made it’s way around the drain, signaling for the roots to come through. As the roots grew threw the tile the wall leakage just got worse causing more roots to grow. At least I know I wasn’t wrong that there was no saving it.

The demolition is about 99% complete. I intended to get a good amount of this bathroom completed this winter. I’ve got a basic plan put together, but that’s a post for another day.

Master Bedroom And Bathroom Remodel Progress

I know what I said, that the sprinkler system is going to be my priority. Give me a break thought, the back yard is sitll pretty muddy and now full of weeds. I’m now sure that the sprinkler project will have to wait till next year.

IMG_7627.JPGIt’s on to indoor projects, the first of which is the master bedroom and bathroom. I had a demolition party scheduled for the end of August, where I invited some of my friends over to demolish the house. Surprisingly, most of them didn’t show up. Enough did to get most of the work done.

For the bedroom the goal was to take the closet from the neighboring bedroom to create a bigger overall closet. This was accomplished.For the bathroom the goal was to remove the framed in shower. Both of these were accomplished. After the demo was completed, with drywall and crap all over the place, is when I questioned what I have done. After two trips to the dump and probably 6 hours of clean up I’m not sure I did make the right decision.

The framed in shower was not usable. It had been leaking pretty badly for quite a while. The lower framing was rotted, the water had leaked into the bedroom and there was even plant roots growing about a foot up the interiors of the wall. One doesn’t expect mold in a dry state such as New Mexico, but there was plenty of mold in the walls.

Picture 15The next step is to plan for the rebuild. Since it’s a small room, 7 foot by 8 foot, I’d like to put in a corner whirlpool tub with a shower. I think I can get a 54 inch by 54 inch corner tub to fit. I also plan to put in a electric radiant floor heating. The plan here shown is from Warmly Yours.

Can anyone loan me a few thousand dollars?