Hallway Bathroom Update: How Is Our DIY Bathroom Renovation Holding Up After 1 Year?

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We’re closing in on one year since our hallway bathroom renovation has been completed, and many of you have been checking-in with me every so often to ask the loaded question: “how is your DIY bathroom renovation holding up?” This is a common curious thought for many people who are hesitant about doing their own home improvement versus hiring contractors to do the work instead, and a completely valid question to ask. I figured, today I’ll be elaborating on this!

If you want to see the progression of this bathroom renovation through videos, check out my Instagram story highlights “1 BATH RENO,” “2 BATH RENO,” “3 BATH RENO,” and  “4 BATH RENO.”

Just for a recap, this is originally what our hallway bathroom looked like when we first moved in:

90s style bathroom before DIY shower renovation

before image of old 90's bathroom before renovation

And this was the finished product:

Image of DIY bath tub and shower renovation featuring black wall tile from Tilebar and gold hardware

And alas, this is what it currently looks like now:

I debated on doing a really big deep clean prior to photographing the bathroom, but after trying to wipe down the hard water stains off the shower door I decided I should give you an honest look at how our bathroom looks lived-in. Since we completed this bathroom, we’ve stopped using the master bathroom shower due to the cracks in the tile causing mold (and has very likely seeped through into the underlayment), so we needed to dry out the shower as much as possible to prevent more mold from growing.

This means that this hallway bathroom has sustained heavy use as this is the bathroom we now use on a daily basis in place of the master bathroom. Many of you have been left wondering if our DIY job was truly good enough to withstand the test of time and heavy use. Well, I’m here to tell you that yes, it was! *claps excitedly* We’ve experienced zero water leakage, electrical issues, plumbing issues, or any structural or functional failure of any sort.

Here are the previous updates on this bathroom:

Gold shower and tub hardware in black tile shower

Grouted shower niche with a Schluter anodized metal trim

Image of square tile installed with feet for size comparison

Shower Tile and Floor Tile

I’m really happy to say that as expected, no visible wear-and-tear is apparent on the tile floors, and no water has leaked through the tile in the shower (better not, because we waterproofed the absolute hell out of our shower!). Early on, we noticed that the grout in the shower niche had pulled away from the tile, which was allowing a wee bit of water through, but we caught it early on and used waterproof caulking that matched the grout color to fill in that gap, and now all is good.

Caulk has more flex, and since the grout that holds the tile in the niche together spans different directions and planes, the grout was expected to crack – this often happens with shower niches on a wall that’s facing the exterior of the home, like ours. The wall that the shower niche and window are on faces the front of the house, so because the area immediately behind the shower niche doesn’t have any insulation the temperature in the niche’s area gets colder and warmer since it’s more receptive to the temperature outside. Because of that, it was bound to happen that some of the grout would separate over time as the tile had more time to settle into place. It wasn’t really alarming as we expected this to happen and we fixed it immediately.

Regarding the tile: in many tract homes where the showers are tiled and not a simple plastic shower surround, the tile often stops just above the showerhead and never goes all the way up to the ceiling. I’m so glad we made the decision to tile up to the ceiling because condensation doesn’t look cute on textured drywall that’s just above a shower enclosure. Tiled shower walls that extend up to the ceiling makes the shower look more finished and stays looking cleaner for much longer. Honestly, we haven’t had to deep clean the shower tile since we moved into this bathroom!

To see how we tiled the shower and floors, check out this blog post for the shower and this blog post for the floor.

Gold shower and tub hardware in black tile shower

Spray-Painted Shower Hardware

If you watched our Instagram stories that documented this entire home renovation project, you probably remember that I had a hard time finding gold-toned shower hardware that fit into our budget. Modern brass hardware is often incredibly expensive, so we had to improvise. The showerhead, shower hose, control knobs, and tub spout are from all different brands, but I tried to source hardware that was very similar in style so that the differences were unnoticeable. But then it turned out that the tub spout was a little too orange. On top of that, the shower door hardware that was designed for the glass door only came in silver, so we needed a solution where all the shower hardware could match.

I called a few local hardware shops and automotive body shops to see if they could plate all of our hardware in the same brass-tone, but was quoted for thousands of dollars. We had to improvise and spraypaint some of the hardware with automotive spray paint for longevity and then seal it off with an automotive gloss. Although the paint obscured the texture of the metal, we were able to create a more cohesive look across all of our hardware in the end. However, I was extremely worried about wear-and-tear ruining the paint.

I’m relieved that the spray paint has lasted so far and has not chipped or shown visible wear. The only gripe I have is that the spray-painted hardware tends to look dirtier with hard water stains compared to the metal hardware that wasn’t painted. But honestly, it’s a very minor issue, and it probably just means I should stop being so lazy and clean my shower more often, haha.

Image of DIY bath tub and shower renovation featuring black wall tile from Tilebar and gold hardware

Shower Glass Door

I really wanted a plain glass shower door with no texture or frost to give the picket fence-style shower tile the spotlight it deserved, and this Delta Shower Door and matching Delta Contemporary Sliding Door Kit were a great affordable solution. Unfortunately, the compatible shower hardware designed to frame the door was mediocre at best with poor engineering, and I kick myself for not having read the reviews more. The bottom where the glass meets the lip of the tub had far too big of a gap, which allowed a lot of water to pass through and splash on the tile floor outside of the tub. Jun had to improvise and get a wide, flat piece of metal that was spraypainted with the same gold spray paint and then add it to the front of the door to extend the height of the shower lip, which solved the backsplash problem.

Painted Countertops

We originally had builder-grade cultured marble countertops in every bathroom, but as much as I wanted to change out the counters to quartz, we would have needed to buy new cabinet boxes at the same time because they’re old, musty, and the cabinet doors are dated (even though I painted them white). Getting new countertops and cabinet boxes would have blown us so far out of our budget, and I wasn’t trying to drive myself into tons of debt to renovate this bathroom.

Although we definitely plan to upgrade the cabinet boxes and countertops in the future, we still have so many other home renovations that take precedence (like new flooring throughout the house and a whole new master bathroom, for starters), so in the meantime, I decided to salvage the existing countertops by painting them with this amazing Giani countertop paint kit to achieve that quartz look. The kit contains an epoxy topcoat, which is extremely durable and gives the counters that glossy finish.

I was a little concerned about the longevity of the glossy top coat, but it’s held up extremely well considering the counters are subject to tons of wear-and-tear from me scattering my endless supply of beauty products across the counter day in and day out. There is minor dimpling on the surface from where I may have dropped some things on the counter, but it’s really unnoticeable.

Giani recommends cleaning the counters with water or gentle cleaners to maintain the glossy finish, and that’s basically all I’ve been doing this whole time. The gloss hasn’t faded in the least bit! I definitely recommend this countertop paint kit if you’re looking to give your existing counters a makeover on a budget. We still have so much product left from the paint kit that we definitely have enough to do the small guest bathroom and the master bathroom counters as well (we hope to start at least one of those renovations this year!), so there is a lot of value in this kit. I documented the process on this blog post as well as my Instagram stories, so be sure to check out my “4 BATH RENO” highlight to see videos of the step-by-step process!

Black Walls

A few people expressed their concern about the black paint potentially showing unsightly condensation from running a steamy shower. But the walls are knockdown-textured and the paint we used is an eggshell finish (color is Dark Secret by Behr), so it does a pretty good job at minimizing wall sweat from the shower. The walls really don’t sweat a lot like a lot of people warned me they would – the most apparent area that sweats are the walls just outside of the shower doors, but even then, it’s really not a burden to wipe them down with a wet towel every so often to prevent build-up. Every month I wipe down any water stains on the walls and baseboards, so it hasn’t been much of a hassle to clean thanks to my preventative cleaning measures.

 

It’s safe to say that although this was a DIY project, we managed to yield contractor-grade results without the contractor-grade expenses. Not only is this bathroom completely functional thanks to Jun’s handiwork, but it’s also custom-designed by me, which allows me to revel in our work with pride as I take my daily showers or occasional bath. I’m sure there are many people hesitant to tackle this elaborate of a DIY home renovation, but if you take it slow, do your research, and watching lots of Youtube videos like we did, you can upgrade your own bathroom on a budget too!

My Bathroom Choices:

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4 Comments

  1. February 21, 2021 / 9:13 pm

    Wow, such an exquisite + powerful look to this bathroom! I love the vibrant pictures you took for this post!
    Thx for the deets, Aileen!

    CHEERS!
    SARA
    https://thecliqueblog.com

  2. May 1, 2021 / 5:59 pm

    You are brilliant. As a 50 year old woman who lost her sense of style, I had found your post about “badass” fashion, and LOVED your black outfits – which you totally rock by the way – but then I wandered to your bathroom renovation post. I have been a professional interior designer for 20 years, have done tons of DIY renovations myself, and redid twice all by myself one of my bathrooms (including installing vinyl flooring on the ceiling, retrofitting a ceiling pendant into a wall mounted one, and spray painted my tub spout because the new one required welding skills I do not have). But your renovation eclipses mine. I am really impressed but also humbled by your candor. Congrats and keep inspiring us.

  3. November 15, 2021 / 11:31 am

    That looks incredible! And awesome to hear that everything is in good condition. Just the inspiration I need to get started on my own project 🙂

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