Although installing a shower enclosure in the OKC container home would not require licensed tradespeople for permitting purposes, it also wasn’t something that Morgan and I were 100% confident we would WANT to do ourselves (even though we definitely COULD have…).
I had been looking at this DIY tutorial for installing a concrete basin. The procedure seemed straightforward enough, but at the end of the day a shower is the kind of thing one NEEDS done right. If it leaks, the problems created over time would more than exceed any money saved from a DIY job. Like I recently read online somewhere, “How comes there’s always time to redo an incorrect job but never enough time to do it right the first time?”
So, I opted to contact a guy recommended to me from the former plumber. Jeremiah Crim from Rising Sun Tile out of Stillwater stays busy, but he was able to quote me for the installation of a Schluter shower system. His expertise combined with the reputation of the Schluter product would (hopefully) give me the confidence in the shower that I need to rest easy that it will last and long time and won’t leak.
The Schulter sheets provide a waterproof barrier that removes the need for mortarboard for tile. It also has grid lines that aid in the placement of tile. There’s even a component specifically designed to create a cubby in the wall. Last, the system includes a special kind of dense foam that allows for the creation of structural features, in this case, the shower curb.
Next came the tile work to cover the shower enclosure. I wanted the bathroom to be a real highlight of the interior, so I was going for wow factor with my selection of tile style (while maintaining my minimalist black-and-white color scheme as portrayed in the walls and trim).
For the tile, Morgan recommended a friend of his: Brian Adair. In addition to being a great tile man, Brian is also a musician in several locally active bands.
There’s nothing like the addition of trim to make a room feel finished. I really wanted my trim to pop in the OKC container home, so I opted for a high-contrast, black-on-white color scheme that also gives a nod to the modernist-minimalist aesthetic I try to bring to the space.
Before getting into trim, though, I just wanted to mention that I came up with a solution for those ugly HVAC ducts: bedliner. I think Morgan actually already had a partially used can, so I set to work applying black bedliner to each of the HVAC ducts that run from above the bathroom to the edge of the living room. At first, I used a brush, but those results were unsatisfactory, so I switched to a small roller, and that was really the ticket. The thick consistency of the product allows imperfections in the surface to be completely masked by a new layer of texture. I’m really happy with the results and plan to use bedliner in other areas.
Trim goes in
The first thing we did was measure all around the windows, doors and along the wall where it meets the floor to discern how many linear feet we would need to buy. We wanted to paint the trim before it went on, which would actually save us some headache as opposed to painting the trim once its installed against our nice clean white walls.
A miscellaneous post including the pouring of the parking pad for the OKC container home, passing final electrical inspection, passing plumbing rough inspection, and installing one of two pocket walls.
For some reason, finding and hiring a concrete contractor to pour the parking pad was one of the most difficult hires of the whole job and spanned the course of two seasons. One guy quoted me more than $5,000, but I had already had an earlier bid for around $1,200. Another guy played phone tag for about a month before sending his son, but his son was such a greasy slime ball who tried to upsell me from the bat that I couldn’t trust them at all. Eventually, I put a message in a bottle and tossed it into the high seas of Craigslist. Since I wasn’t needing a licensed contractor, all I wanted to do was find an able body with the time, know-how and will. And right price. I found that person in Seattle native Bryan Childreth. He had pics of previous work and could start ASAP, so we worked out the details and he was able to perform and provide labor, arrange the gravel and concrete deliveries, and hire the Bobcat driver for a smooth $1,000. The work was completed during one below-freezing day in mid-January.
Now that we had all the drywall completed and lights installed (including that pesky “future plug” in the bedroom), we were ready to have MinnTech call in final inspection.
We passed electrical inspection.
Plumbing rough inspection
With the hot water heater installed, we called for the rough-in plumbing inspection and passed
Installing a pocket wall and door
The installation of the pocket wall and door was actually one of the first things Morgan and I had wanted to tackle once I hired him, but we soon realized we would need to have that area drywalled before the pocket door kit could go in, and at that point we just decided to drywall the whole place before starting on this otherwise silly wall.
After that, it was just a matter of painting and priming the newly installed partition.
NEXT TIME: Trim all around and some progress on the kitchen.
The tedium of drywall continued even after all the panels had been measured, cut and screwed into place.
The process continued like this:
Cover each and every screw head with drywall tape.
Smear drywall mud over each taped area.
Smear and spread drywall mud into joints where edges meet and corners where edges fail to meet corners flush.
Wait a day for the mud to dry.
Spread mud over entire wall to create desired surface (textured in living room and kitchen, smooth in bathroom and bedroom).
Wait a day for mud to dry.
Sand dried mud and reapply to create smoothness/a
Prime and paint the newly textured/smooth walls
Morgan devised a nifty solution for bringing the walls flush with the natural contours of the container’s ribbed ceiling: By shooting expanding foam into the gap between the top of the drywall and the bottom of the ceiling, we could create a tightly sealed surface on which to apply mud. Then, we could caulk the very top where the mud meets the metal of the ceiling. Prime and paint that and we’d have a seamless wall that conforms to every angle of the ceiling.
Around this time, we also had a problem with Kluck, the plumber. Although generally a mild-mannered and soft-spoken guy, I had encountered what was revealed to be his hot temper way back when the plumbing was starting. He had become irate at the fact that there were some variables to be sorted out in the midst of planning and cutting holes for the plumbing system’s various drains and vents. All of a sudden, he began raising his voice and swearing at me on that day, and I really didn’t know what to do. After his blow up, he left, and his son explained to me that that’s the real Fred Kluck, and although I don’t really want to work with anyone as unreasonable and rude as that, I needed a plumber, so I decided to give him another chance.
Well, Kluck blew his second chance when, in the midst of Morgan and I trying to figure out how we could complete drywall under the sink, Kluck blew up in a similar fashion at Morgan. Although I wasn’t there, Morgan told me he thought they were going to come to blows. So, I allowed Kluck to return once more to collect a check and then fired him directly after. While it’s good riddance on one hand, I’m left having to find a new plumber to complete the job on the other.
Meanwhile, our toil continued. Here’s some pics of the painting and texturing:
NEXT TIME: A miscellaneous post including the pouring of the parking pad, passing final electrical inspection, passing plumbing rough inspection, and installing one of two pocket walls.