Trimming the edges

With the floor and shower walls finished, the bathroom finally felt like it was coming back together. It had been two full months since I first discovered the mold, and the house had been in a state of disarray ever since, with drywall dust settling on every ledge, in every room, but that would now come to an end.

To protect my newly tiled floor, I was careful to lay newspaper on the floor, taping all of the edges. Then, prior to painting, I used a primer that is meant for unpainted/virgin drywall. It helps seal the drywall, and makes the paint cover better and have a uniform texture/gloss afterward – an important step.

When picking a paint color, I considered the color of the floor and the shower walls – both tan/brown. I had originally planned for a rich tan on the walls, but feared I would end up making the room look like the inside of a cardboard box, so I chose a deep green instead (Behr Amazon Jungle UL200-22), and a lighter shade of the same color for the ceiling, to add a bit of dimension.

Everyone has a different method, but I always paint all of the corners first using a paint brush, and then fill in using a roller. “Behr Premium Plus Ultra” paint was on sale at the time for $31/gal, so that’s what I used. The paint claims it does the job of primer and paint in one, requiring only one coat. While it covers well, it’s not magic, and since I was painting dark colors over white primed walls, it required two coats.

After the paint had dried, I installed all of the wall plates – the light switch and outlet covers. I also connected all of the light covers for the exhaust fan, and the over-shower can light.

Since I knew I was going to be using fairly thick baseboards and crown molding, I was able to be sloppy with the paint around some of the edges, but the next step was the cover-up work…

For all of the trim, I used primed MDF (medium-density fiberboard) in different widths. Prior to trimming to size, I gave it a coat of paint, so after it was on the walls I would only have to do touch-up work.

I started with the window.

Since I’d firred the walls outto be 6”, the window sill was about 2” deeper than it had been before, so I had to replace the casing using 6” MDF. I first measured the top and bottom of the window and cut those pieces to length and then cut the sides to fit between. To affix the casing to the framing, I used a brad nailer and 2” finish nails.

After the casing was built, I moved onto the trim around the window and the door, using 3” MDF. I wanted to create a faux-craftsman look, so I first measured, trimmed and affixed the sides. I then measured the top and bottom, and trimmed the boards so they would hang over the side trim on each end by about an inch.

Same for the door

After the door was complete, I moved onto the floor trim, where I used 4” MDF, because it tied directly into the shower base, which is also 4”, creating a very finished look. For the floor boards, I mitered the corners at a 45 degree angle, so they tied together perfectly.

Now, onto the crown molding… (wah, wah, wahhhhh). Crown molding is the most difficult, frustrating, and time consuming trimwork. It could be that I’m not the strongest at math (which is why I work in communications), but getting the corners to match up took so much time, multiple cuts, and 3 trips to Home Depot to buy additional trim (not cheap at $1.69/linear ft). Just when I thought I had it right, I’d take the pieces into the bathroom, put them in the corner, and there would be a quarter inch gap on the bottom, but they would overlap on the top. AHHH!

For dummies like me, they now have double-sided crown molding – the idea is that you make one cut, turn the piece over, and have a perfect corner, but it comes at a premium. If you’re doing a lot of crown molding, an don’t want to shell-out the cash for the double-sided stuff, check out these techniques for making perfect cuts every time.

I finally got all of the trim installed, so I filled the nail holes with wood putty, sanded it down, and then touched up the paint.

After all of the trim was installed, I noticed a few places along the wall where there were gaps. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I used a bit of white ALEX (painters acrylic latex calulking), to fill the gaps. It matched the trim, filled the gaps, and made the trim look seamless.

Next step: make the bathroom a bathroom….

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