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September 2021
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Toilet Mold Remediation

In working on the Particle Board Bathrooms, after removing the wall paper was the mold issue behind the toilet. Part of the problem was the water leak from where the toilet was attached to the wall. Removing the mold was a simple issue of wiping the area down with household bleach. An effective and cheap method.


These are wall mount toilets.

Wall mounted toilets are for the most part a commercial product. Partly
due to the ease of cleaning in a commerical arena.  One of the more annoying spots to clean
in your house is the floors and walls around the toilet in your house.
Especially with the cheaper toilets with the snake sides with all those
nooks and crannies that attract dirt and crap.

I thought for some time that these were cool items, because of the
cleaning deal, but I have revised my thinking. The setup and backing
necessary is not for the faint of heart and certainly outside of the
range of your typical tract carpenter or builder. Cost and replacement
is another consideration. Big people may have a problem over time, as
the wax ring is vertical and is the major source of leakage, which can
go unnoticed until the backing has rotted and it falls off the wall. These are not the things that you can run to the mega store and buy off the shelf.

The second issue was the water stains. After repairing and smoothing down the wall surface, I applied KILZ to the wall areas where the stains were.


A coat of primer and two coats of semigloss and we are done.


Definitely a high number on the weirdness scale.

Particle Board Bathrooms – Continued

Having gotten over the weirdness of particle board as a wall material in bathrooms, the next stage of the project is bag the room again prior to sanding the walls. ( We did it once already for removing the wallpaper.The walls have to be sanded to remove bits of trash and glue left over from removing the wallpaper. Plus the fuzz from the water used getting the paper backing off the wall, and the odd bits and holes from the compound popping out from the paper removal, and the leftover silicone caulking.
There is some water staining around the base of the toilet, that will get repaired and a coat of Kilz, before priming and painting. It is remarkable how little water damage there is considering this is a bathroom. Good Wallpaper. It is also amazing how much time these two little rooms are taking.

Here I have covered the floor in Red Rosin Paper, taped and bagged the counter, toilet, and  shower. All of the towel bars, mirrors and other fixtures are sitting in the tub while I do this.

Tech Note: Remember to wipe down and vacuum the areas where your tape goes.  You get a better seal and only have to do it once. The deal is to do it right or do it over.  I don’t do over.


Having bagged, it is time to skim coat. I am using 45 min. speed set, in the belief that I would be able to skim coat,  sand and prime  this day. Silly me.

By the time I got finished skim coating these two rooms I had seriously run out of time for the day. Next up is sanding, touch up, vacuuming up the dust, caulking the inside corners,  walls and ceilings, baseboards and door trim, KILZ around the toilet, and primer.

For those of you contemplating doing a bathroom refresh by removing the wall paper and repainting, allow enough time to be able to work around surprises. For example I have around 16 hours in these two to this point. Sanding, cleaning, touch up,  caulking and priming will suck up another 6-8 hours. This is taking longer because it is smooth wall, and that is how it is done.

Particle Board Bathrooms

It was a simple condo repaint job.  Patch the holes from picture hangers,  remove the wall paper and repaint the two bathrooms. 2 Bed, 2 bath, no real oddball features until I started removing the wall paper in the first bath. I pulled the medicine cabinet and was greeted with this. Particle board.

Particle board detail at medicine cab opening

I thought that this was an anomaly until I went around the room. The entire bathroom is sheathed in particle board. Stapled to the studs, a smear of compound to cover the staple holes and wallpapered over. No primer, no sealer, just particle board and wallpaper. The first bath was relatively easy to strip as they used a fabric type wallpaper that came off easy.
wall detail

The detailing behind the wallpaper at the corners was very good however. The are a couple hundred condo units in this development so the builder got it down to a science.
corner detail at shower

The second bath was a different animal having a paper wallpaper. Here I stripped off the  face and then softened and scrapped the paper back  off with water. About 4 hours of mess.
paper wallpaper takes more time

Skim coat, Primer, and Paint.  Particle board walls? Another entry in the Weird Construction Techniques category, for sure.

Remodeling Don’ts – Electricity

I have done a lot of remodeling over the years. I have done some crazy things like the 6 ceiling repair, the turkey feather floor,  the garbage disposal toilet adventure,(tales for another day) and some other remodeling disasters. I have seen some things that defy belief as well as gravity and or common sense.

My brother sent me a series of photos that are making the rounds, showing some really bad and some cases dangerous remodeling. I have no idea where they came from, but will be happy to credit the photographers.

Make no mistake, I have a healthy respect for electricity. If I can't find the breaker for a circuit, I will pull the main. Healthy. Probably dating back to the time I was doing a gut job and trying to remove a stand up air conditioner that had only three wires holding it in place, so I took my pliers and snipped the wires,(220V) resulting in me being blown across the floor and ruining a expensive new set of pliers. In reality the closest I like to get to electricity is the molded rubber plug that goes into the outlet.

Here are some images of really bad and dangerous electric work.
This is a main panel somebody thought would be a good place to store tools and stuff.Electricnightmare3-1
TIP: Electric Panels are for Electric things only. Period. Full Stop!

Electric junction boxes come in many sizes and styles, depending on application. There is an electrical code that lays out the maximum number of wires/conductors in a box. There are 2 main reasons.
1. Heat. Copper wire gets hot when electricity runs through it. Boxes are sized, by cubic inches, which is either marked on the box or on the label at the store. The number of wires allowed insures that there is air flow in the box, to avoid an electrical fire. Electric fires are terrifying because they will burn for a long time before you notice smoke or it breaks through your walls.
2. Space. This is related to heat above, but is far more practical in being able to physically close up the box after you have made your connections.

Here is an electric box with way too many connectors. How the hell do you find anything in this mess? Junction3-1

Here is where somebody ganged together a bunch of boxes to make a turn. Junction2-1

According to the email, the pipe next to this connection is carrying fuel oil for the heater. Electricnightmare5-1

Speaking of Plugs here is an interesting switch concept.

Maybe it was for this bath fan?

Electricity is deceptively simple on the residential front. Some boxes, some romex, devices and covers. It is not rocket science, but does require some serious thought to do right.

House Tree or Tree House

My Brother sent this to me. House Tree or Tree House?
The line on going green is moving…..