ORC: Basement Bathroom Week 5


Well, I started this thing off with a feeling that we might be biting off more than we could chew. It’s now pretty much 100% safe to say that I was right. With only one week left to go in this One Room Challenge, we are far from being DONE with our new basement bathroom.

If you’re just jumping in, be sure to catch up on all of our progress on this project here:

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

On the bright side! We are finally done with the mudding, taping, sanding, (and repeating) on the drywall. Ok… almost done. We still have a few corner seams on the outside of the bathroom that we did last minute, which need a skim coat and sanding.

But we’re focusing on the bathroom here, not the outside of the bathroom. Details.

This was a seriously tedious part of the process, requiring patience and lots of waiting around for coats of mud to dry.

Here is how it went:

Jesse started mudding and taping the living room and laundry room walls one night, and he felt like it was taking way too long and he was over-working the seams and they weren’t looking that great.

Jesse mudding drywall

Youtube to the rescue. This guy makes it look easy.

The next night of mudding and taping inside the bathroom went much more smoothly (in more ways than one).

First coat joint compound on blueboard bathroom

I helped tape and filled in screw holes with joint compound while Jesse was mudding seams.

Kelly taping corner seam drywall

We waited a full day before applying a second coat, so that the mud was able to dry completely.

Jesse youtubed some more, and practiced his feathering skills with a second coat.

Jesse troweling second coat joint compound on blueboard walls

Reagan was not impressed that we were more interested in finishing drywall than we were with her games.

Reagan bored with bathroom remodel

Over the weekend, we also mixed up some mortar and taped and packed the cement board seams in the shower. We tried packing the mortar in and then laying this mesh tape on top similar to the process with joint compound on drywall, and it did NOT work. Jesse scraped most of the mortar off, we laid the tape down flush with the concrete board, and then re-packed with mortar.

Mortar patch cement board joints shower walls

Then, Jesse worked as quickly as he could before the mortar dried out to level/scrape down the joints with his hands so that they weren’t protruding from the walls.

Mortar patch cement board shower walls

It wasn’t pretty, but it worked. I think.

Cement board shower walls with mortar joints

After waiting another day for the second coat of drywall joint compound to dry, we did some quick sanding to knock down any ridges or uneven spots. Jesse then really tested his own patience and self-control with the third and final skim coat.

Jesse applying skim coat joint compound

This final coat was really a multi-day, two step process. You can really only finish one side of each corner joint at a time, otherwise you risk messing up the side that you just finished if you bump it because it’s still wet.

Joint compound corner seams of blueboard

We did some more serious sanding after the third coat had dried for a day or so.

Jesse sanding drywall joint compound

Our floors looked like this:

Drywall dust

And our entire basement is coated in a layer of dust.

Drywall dust covering bathroom floor, Reagan

And upstairs, actually. That shit gets EVERYWHERE. Really.

We went to Home Depot over our lunch break yesterday, and bought this shop vac that looks like a tool box, and will store and stack so nicely! This fancy new shop vac may or may not have been the highlight of our project this week.

I vacuumed the floor while Jesse finished up sanding the walls. I then took the brush attachment and vacuumed the ceiling and all over the walls to clean the dust from them as much as possible before we started texture.

Which brings us to… texture. We bought 4 cans of this Pro Grade Homax Wall Texture on our lunch trip to HD. We went with the water based product, which cleans up easier and doesn’t give off fumes like the oil-based option. I think it was the right choice. We also found that while there are cans of texture specifically for walls or for ceilings, the wall texture can be used on the ceiling as well. The only ceiling option at the store was popcorn, and we needed orange peel, same as our walls.

Homax wall texture orange peel on ceiling

We read some mixed reviews about the spray can texture, and watched a few how-to videos. After using up two cans to texture the ceiling and all of the interior bathroom walls, I think I’m pretty satisfied with the results.

Applying Homax wall texture spray to bathroom walls

I would agree with a lot of the comments I read that the stuff does not cover nearly as much area as it claims, so it’s a good idea to buy more than you think you need. Also, it’s pretty pricey, so buy it on Amazon if you can. Cheaper than the hardware store by several dollars per can.

Homax Orange Peel Wall Texture on bathroom wall

It’s really hard to tell at this point if the texture we applied last night is going to be sufficient. It doesn’t appear to be nearly as thick as the finish of the existing living room walls, but with the blueboard showing through it’s difficult to judge. I can’t wait to get primer on (tomorrow night!) to see how it looks.

So… we’re down to the final week of the ORC. Our to-do list is impossibly long. Sigh. At least we crossed one and a half things off this week!

  • Finish framing/furring strips
  • Insulation
  • Vapor Barrier
  • Drywall/Cement Board
  • Shower pan/curb – In progress, still
  • Build shower shelf
  • Mud and Tape Drywall/Cement Board 
  • Order wall tile – Out of Stock! CRAP!
  • Texture wallsPossibly done?
  • Prime walls
  • Paint walls
  • Hang doors – 1 of 2 done!
  • Install Floor tile, grout
  • Install Shower tile (ceiling and walls), grout
  • Choose/purchase shower curb finish material
  • Order glass panel shower wall
  • Install Bathroom wainscot tile, grout
  • Finish trim/baseboards
  • Have glass panel shower wall installed
  • Set, trim plumbing fixtures
  • Install fixtures/electrical trim
  • Purchase towels, accessories
  • Hang mirror, hardware, final touches!

But, I’m hoping to at least have some real finishes in place by next week (finish texture, prime, paint, finish shower pan, and start on floor tile)! It may just start to come together. Wish us luck.

You may also like


  1. Wow! Kudos to you all for taking this on – I can’t even fathom my husband and I attempting anything this scale (I was just proud of us for hanging shelves and not killing each other). Look forward to seeing what the final space looks like because I’m sure it will be amazing!

    1. Thanks Jenn! It is a ton of work but it’s also nice on projects like this to know that you did a lot of it yourself… Or are we the only ones patting ourselves on the back 😉 thanks for checking it out and for the encouragement, I need it because we still have a lot of work to do!

  2. Kelly the wall transformation is fantastic! I can’t wait for the reveal! I love the direction the room is going in. As a fellow ORC participant it’s been wonderful to gather some fantastic inspiration. I’d love for you to share your progress at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Our readers would love to see it. The gathering is at http://www.decortoadore.net

  3. Drywalling is definitely the most time-consuming part of the bathroom. You need to wait 24+ hours for it to dry, only to realize you need to do a whole other coat! I’ve been hit-or-miss with those cans (sometimes they end up perfect, sometimes not) so it’s good you were able to get the texture you needed 🙂

    1. It really does test your patience! I’m glad to be almost done with drywall and on to finishes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *