May the roof above us never fall in
And may we good companions beneath it never fall out.

~Irish blessing

Monday, January 23, 2012

Waterproofing the bath/shower area

You may remember me writing about the shocking state of the subfloor and joists when we started demolishing our bedroom ensuite last year. It was pretty bad, not just mouldy bad, which you might expect under old tiles, but earthworms living in soggy chipboard bad. The bathroom wasn't that old either - only early 90s - but from what we could make of the remnants, no waterproofing of the shower area had ever been properly done, just chipboard with villaboard over the top and then tiles laid straight on. 

Now I'm no expert, but something I've learned is that while villaboard is a water resistant product, it's not waterproof and if it's used in shower or bath areas it needs to have a waterproof membrane applied to it up to 1800mm high. Some people use 'blue board' in their showers as it has a water resistant coating, but blue board is actually an exterior product for eaves and has really poor tile adhesion, so villaboard or wet area plasterboard with a membrane over the top is the way to go.  The membrane comes in a tub and you brush or roller it on like a thick paint. You also need to use a bond breaker (either a 'bond breaker bandage' or a neutral cure silicone - see video) on any joins, cover over any fixings with a waterproof polyurethane product (we used marine sikaflex) and use reinforcement bandage around any gaps such as taps etc.

If you want to tile your own bathroom, but feel a bit nervous about doing the waterproofing there are tradesman that will come in and do just the membrane for you. The video below though should give you an idea of what's involved.

There are membrane kits available from the major hardware stores that come with membrane, bandage etc. Dunlop do one and Crommelin is also readily available. We used Crommelin because a friend had half a tub leftover after doing his own bathroom. Even with two generous coats, it was more than enough to do the shower area in the ensuite #1 and the bath area is ensuite#2 with plenty left over. It's a bit smelly, but not too bad, and only takes a couple of hours to dry between coats so it's easily all done in a day.

You can use masking tape between the wet area to be tiled and the area to be painted, but it's probably not necessary if you have a steady hand. The tiles will overlap a bit over anyway.

And we extended the membrane over the whole floor as it's to be a children's bathroom and splashing is bound to happen.

I've been a bit slack and these photos are actually from last week and don't show all of Tom's late night painting work. Our weekend was packed full of childbirth education classes and similarly themed excursions, but tiling will hopefully commence over this coming Australia Day weekend. Don't worry though, time out is scheduled to catch up with a few friends for some drinks and an inaugural pavlova. Hope everyone has a great long weekend.

Pottery Barn

Does anyone remember that episode of Seinfeld when Kramer keeps receiving unwanted Pottery Barn catalogues and ends up going down there and throwing them back into the store? 

For a long time that was my main association with the store when the name came up, and frankly 'pottery' + 'barn' doesn't conjure up the most glamourous impression. Being hauled up with pregnancy SPD though has left me with a dangerous amount of time to explore online shopping, and I stumbled upon their post-Christmas sale during some browsing a few weeks ago and found amongst, yes a fair bit of dagginess, some rather tempting wares. I have to be honest, the customer service and online ordering has been a difficult process. The shipping is expensive - even at half off which is their current special - and the disorganisation - mislabeled products, photos that don't match descriptions and emails that are responded to without being properly read are really annoying. For instance I ordered a bargain doona cover (or duvet cover as it is known in the states), made in Italy and lovely printed cotton on sale for $37 plus matching pillowcases (excuse me, 'shams') for around $14, only to be told that the 'shams' were sold out after I'd paid. Too late to cancel the order, I had to pay more than double for them through a US ebay reseller in order to get the matching look I wanted, but hey, it was still a lot cheaper than buying bed linen from somewhere like DJs so I didn't fare too badly in the end I guess.

My Romona: The Romana 'duvet' cover, but called 'Romona' on the PB website.

The order arrived quite quickly through DHL, and I'm pretty happy with my various little bargains. Not so happy the 'train rack' (just makes me think 'train wreck') towel shelf I ordered didn't come with it and seems to be lost in international postage somewhere, but otherwise everything seems to be decent quality, certainly for the price, and was packed safely for the journey. 

A nice, simple bedskirt. A glass butter dish. Finally a bin small enough for our ensuite. A 'paper holder' for the laundry loo, and a 'small marble canister' whose dimensions are annoyingly quite different from the photo on the website - I purchased it to hold toothbrushes in the new bathroom but it will have to hold cotton balls or something. It does match the measurements listed on the site though, so the lesson is read the fine print.

So for the most part, it's a thumbs up for Pottery Barn. It looks like stuff I could have bought from say a trendy boutique in Fitzroy but for a lot less money. And that reminds me, I picked up one of these Danlamp incandescent bulbs from Twenty21 on Johnston St.

Thanks Anita for the tip :) It gives the dining table a lovely romantic glow.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Smelling the Roses

Aren't these Dainty Bess roses amazing? All turned east so we can enjoy their pink frilly beauty from the kitchen doorway. 

They smell really divine too, and are just one of the pleasures in the garden right now that make a few adversities that we're facing right now that much easier. Unfortunately in the third trimester I've lost my ability to do much gardening, having been hit with a bad case of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) that's left me hobbling about on crutches. It's enormously frustrating, with nesting urges peaking and boxes I can't lift or do anything with sitting in our still to be set up nursery. Being mostly housebound, I don't know what I'd do without a bit of nature to go out and enjoy every day. Tom is as usual being an absolute superman, and still chipping away at the bathroom renovation between all of the other household duties he's had to pick up. The waterproofing is done now, so I'll take a few snaps and try to do a post on it as promised over the next few days. But for now I'll be grabbing a book (loving Kaz Cooke's Kidwrangling for a bit of afternoon reading right now) and finding a sunny spot amongst the flowers.