Reviewing my own house – Ensuite bathroom (part 2).

First off, sorry if you subscribe to my blog through email and were surprised to find several inappropriate links.
Yes, yes, that little heist did take place on April Fool’s day but it wasn’t my doing (contrary to what many of you may think of me).
So to my hacker friend, if that was just an A.F. joke…good one!
Now fix it you jerk.

Ahhh, now that I’ve got that off my chest let’s move on to more interesting matters…part 2 of our en suite bathroom.
Monday I reviewed the cabinet, counters and faucet.
Today we’re talking the shower, closet and flooring.

During the construction phase we knocked down a wall and extended it 2-ish feet.
Seemed like a lot of effort for just 2 feet but it felt like we gained triple that and it really did make a world of difference.

As for our shower, we installed 8×12 honed carrara marble tiles from Home Depot.

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If you haven’t noticed by now I was going through a bit of marble obsessed phase at that time with our kitchen counters, bathroom counters and now shower. Not saying I’ve left that phase…if I had my druthers I would have thrown all good taste and sense out the window and put in a marble driveway, a marble kitchen floor, marbled toilets, marbled bed frames, marbled closet doors…there’s no end to my insanity when it comes to marble.
Sadly, I’ve learned 2+ years later that marble is a “to be seen but not used” material when it comes to my personality threshold.

Soon after we started using the shower I noticed many of the tiles would change colors. Almost as if the were wet.

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But how could that be?
Every single tile had been professionally sealed (I saw with my own eyes).
I had the tile installer come back and he didn’t have an explanation.
I asked if it could be a leak or crack in the grout and perhaps water was getting through?
We were both on our hands and knees with a flashlight inspecting every inch of that shower and both of us found no comprised tiles or grout.
Over the course of a year I had two more highly recommended professional tilers inspect it who both scratched their heads.
We threw water over there to see if the water beaded up meaning it still had the sealant coat on and it did.
Although all the tiles seem to change at one point or another the corner tiles stay looking darker.
They really couldn’t find anything wrong that might be causing it.
My next step is just to remove and replace those corner tiles…stay tuned for that little adventure.
The bottom line is that marble is just a sensitive stone that is prone to staining (even by water).
***Help me out here…who has marble in their showers? How does it perform and react for you guys?***

VERDICT:
I wouldn’t do marble in a shower again. I’ve seriously got to get over my marble obsession. Please, someone direct me back to these posts next time I start considering marble again.

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The shower head and wand are Moen’s.
They a-ight.
They weren’t my first, second or even third choice.
The plumber installed Moen component parts behind the wall without asking what brand we had chosen. Apparently many plumbers in this area seem to prefer Moen because they are the easiest to install.
Then I brought a non-Moen fixture home and he was all like, “um“…
Then I was thinking, “WHAT THE FRICK!?” But what I said was something much more sweet and Mini-Mouse-ish.
So we had to go with a Moen. Honestly, it’s not been bad at all.
The hand wand is one of those features that you never knew you had to have.
Figuring out the controls was a bit like trying to fly a plane at first. Seems straight forward but not so. The first week we thought it was broken and took cold showers.
The only buggy thing is that you have to be so careful adjusting the temp. One-quarter of a centimeter = a 400 degree temperature change.

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The other feature we hemmed and hawed about for long while was what kind of shower surround to install. Our choices were full framed, semi-framed or European (aka frameless). Full framed means there is chromed metal that goes all the way around the edges of the glass so no water escapes the shower.
Here’s an example of the fully framed shower that used to be in this room before we demo’d it…

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Keep in mind we had just installed all this lovely tile and I didn’t want to take the focus off of it by obscuring the view chromed metal everywhere.

The second choice was semi-framed which to me just meant “still a lot of chromed metal around the doors just a little less”.

The last choice was European style doors which we went with. This mean there was no chromed metal around the edges of the glass, only clips which hold the glass in place. There is a minimal gap between the glass and the actual shower edges. The benefit is you have a clean look without metal frames.

IMG_1740We do have minimal water spray that comes through the cracks but we just wipe it up with the towel floor mat when done showering, but again, it’s really minimal. When my kids shower in there once in a while, that’s another story. They think they’re Jedi’s when they shower so water is EVERYWHERE. It’s not proven to be a kid friendly feature.

While there really isn’t that much water leakage through the entire run of shower it isn’t completely fool proof. One edge more water leaks than the other, and still isn’t a whole lot, but enough to cause the paint on this baseboard to wrinkle. We’re planning on removing this baseboard and replacing it with a marble baseboard (see, there I go again with the marble. I’ll never learn).

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The trick to making a full European style work is that you have to have a enough clearance so the water isn’t spraying and running down the inside of the door which will run right out the bottom and on to the floor. You also want to make sure the curb isn’t completely level but has a slight run-off in to the shower.

***What kind of shower frames do you guys have? Like? Dislike?***

VERDICT:
Thumbs up on a European style door. I would just take extra precaution to make sure the circumstances were conducive to making a frameless shower work.

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The bathroom floor is a faux wood tile.

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2+ years ago, faux wood tile was still pretty new. The faux wood tile industry has made huge strides in making the ceramic tile look like real wood. If I compare this faux wood to the faux wood we recently put in our basement I get a twinge disappointed. It doesn’t look as authentic as the basement but oh well. On the flip side it is the EASIEST flooring to maintain EVER. It cleans up beautifully! My only regret is that I wish I would have matched the grout to be almost the same shade as the tile itself.

VERDICT:
100% yes to faux wood. Next time I would make sure to match the grout color to the tile itself. I would also recommend going as thin as possible on the grout lines.

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The closet came from none other than IKEA.
When it comes to IKEA I have my reservations.
In design we’re always going a custom look and Ikea feels…so…not custom.

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But, these Pax wardrobes are so customizable.

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You build them, shape them, organize them according to your vision and needs.

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They have been AWESOME! They are sturdy, take a beating, can be switched around if I need more room below for boots during the winter…I’ve LOVED THEM! AND, for a custom closet you just can’t beat the price.

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VERDICT:
Yeah baby!…to Pax wardrobes from Ikea.
Nuff said.

***Who else has a Pax wardrobe from Ikea? Yea? Nay?***

Read part one of our en suite bathroom review here. You can see more before and afters of the entire en-suite bathroom here.

Comments

  1. I’m not sure about using this in an area that gets as wet as a bathroom, but it seems to be very popular and well reviewed: http://www.younghouselove.com/2014/01/how-you-like-me-now-grout/
    I’m really enjoying this series by the way.

  2. I love the framless look! When I travel for work, most of the hotels we stay in have frameless showers. They all have a clear plastic gasket on the door (& the other edges) that seals it up so water doesn’t spray out. Maybe you could slip one on?

  3. We have marble in our shower as well (thresholds and floor) and I do find that some of the tiles seem to absorb water when I shower (maybe 1/5th of them?) but they dry out after an hour or so. I try to ignore it (because otherwise I’ll obsess and worry about leaks etc).

  4. We have a marble floor in our basement bathroom shower. We installed the tile and the first time we ran the shower, I noticed the tile looking darker in spots. We completely dried it out, using fans, thinking perhaps it had something to do with the grout? But the same problem kept happening and it was consistently inconsistent… only a few tiles would go darker. I can’t worry about it or I would want to rip the whole thing out (not gonna happen) – so I just don’t look down when I use that shower ;)

  5. Melissa says:

    Love the Pax system! We have slowly been putting them in all of our closets. It has saved one child in a small bedroom from needing a dresser. She is so happy she can have a queen size bed instead.

  6. We have marble on one of our bathroom floors. We had the same problem around the toilet. Replaced the wax ring on the toilet several times. Had a plumber look at it. He had no idea either. Finally
    We replaced the tile with something out. Yay! So glad. It looked so icky before with the wet stain look. Yep, will never have marble in my bathroom again..

  7. We have a master bath full of marble as well-countertops, shower and flooring. I wanted that classic look and I have it but I gained the highest maintenance bathroom I have ever had! I have accepted that the water will discolor the tile because it does return back to normal. But I cannot accept the fact that I cannot use bleach in my bathroom! I never think this bathroom is clean! Our floor is also marble so I use a speciality cleaner that I order online and it works very well but it is not bleach. Another great downfall is that I live with a husband, three boys and a large dog. All of which use the bathroom and marble scratches easily. My floor has scratches from the few times the dog has stepped foot in there and two large scratches from my husband hanging a towel rack. So between the water issues, cleaning issues and scratching issues I have given up and just accept that I made a HUGE mistake!

  8. Oops just re-read my post. Living with my family is not a downfall. :) Living with me who don’t understand that they have to tip toe across my floor is the downfall. :)

  9. Hi Michelle, I have been following your blof off and on for a while now. We are in the process of renovating the basement “finished” by our (otherwise beautiful) house’s previous owner (the one the neightbours figured was in the witness protection program–but that’s another story). Our plumber is putting Moen fittings in for our bathroom, too. (Popular, as you say.) Just wondering about your Moen shower fixtures? Are you liking them? What models are they? And how about your single-faucet sink fixtures? We need a couple of those, too. Thanks in advance!

    • Paula,
      Our Moen faucets have been just fine. That are attractive and work fine. Both shower heads did both end up leaking where the wall stem meets the shower head but my husband watched a Youtube tutorial and was able to fix and tighten them. Other than that they are just fine. For all our advances it seems like they just don’t make products like they used to anymore. Best of luck with your remodel! I hope you share pics of your finished project. :)

  10. We had the exact same issue with Pax. Our solution was to use the Pax guts and DIY custom doors/frames. 2 years later and we’re still loving it! http://megandmartinmen.blogspot.com/2013/01/ikea-pax-wardrobe-hack.html

    • This is such a brilliant idea. I’ve seen people do this with Ikea kitchen boxes then have custom door made but it didn’t even cross my mind to do custom closet doors. You’re turned out awesome!!! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Love this series. Okay, here is my crazy question. I see these gorgeous glass showers on pinterest. My last glass shower was all murky from mineral deposits and what not. It was one of those chrome-framed beauties. Anyway, I would love to put in a glass shower like yours, but am wondering how hard it is to keep the glass itself clean and lovely. I look on pinterest and think how pretty, but wonder in real life if I’d hate it.

    • Hi Sarah,
      Yes, it does take some work and attention to keep it clean but it’s really not that daunting as you may think. After every shower I always use a squeegee and scrape down excess water off the door walls and floor. I even will use a towel to wipe off my chrome handle. To keep the shower door from getting soap and mineral build up I will use a Magic eraser sponge and wipe it down once a week. Some people swear by Bar Keepers Friend but I find a magic eraser works great without the chemical. Hope that helps!

  12. Loving the reviews in this series.

    I can’t add to the marble convo, however, I can advise on the floor grouting – at least from my own experience.

    I used a grey 12×24 Italian tile I can’t recall the name of but it’s popular enough that you’ve probably heard of it. Anyways. the installed convinced me to go with a matching grout to make the tile the star of the floor show……. um……. no, that doesn’t work. It’s all a see of indiscernible grey. I had wanted bright white between the grey so they would stand out. They convinced me, and I was right. I hate it. Now, I know I can dig out the grout and re-grout, but really – I am not feeling ambitious enough to take this on as yet.

    So while the faux wood might be a different nuance, I really like the bright white you used here….. I supposed if you want to emphasize that it’s NOT tile, I get your point. Anyway, that’s my two cents. Highlight the tile? Use a standout grout.

    Happy Hump Day!

  13. You can always dye your grout darker. When we installed wood tile in our home we asked for dark grout. But, upon move in it was still quite light. When we told the builder we thought they were going to have to rip it out but they sent in two men who spent a couple of hours with some grout dye and the color is perfect. Were going on 3 years with these floors and the grout color is still just as dark!

  14. We have the same type of frameless glass shower. However, there is never a problem with any leaking because it is sealed along all the edges with clear silicone. There is also a guard, as someone else mentioned, under the door. My brothers are builders and they say this is how one would always install that type of glass so it doesn’t leak. Could this perhaps be a step your contractor missed?

  15. As for the temperature of your shower getting scalding hot with just a tiny turn, you should try turning down the temperature of your water heater. Usually it just entails removing the cover on the water heater and turning a dial. Easy as that. You can experiment with where to keep the dial, but turning it down a bit will make the temperature difference less drastic when you turn the shower controls.

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