Hudson Home Improvement performs a “Construction Intervention” on friend

A friend from high school, who now lives two hours away from me, recently contacted me and began describing a bathroom renovation he was “planning.” He said with schoolboy glee, “I’m going to gut it all tomorrow.”

So I was just as enthusiastic. I began asking questions: “What type of tile do you plan to use? What type of grout and bonded-waterproofing system are you planning?”

My enthusiasm turned to horror when he began describing his methods and approach to the project. I told him I needed to pull a “construction Intervention” on him.

My advice to him was to get trained on the waterproofing system we use. As the instructor told us when we were trained most recently on the system, “If you cannot take a shower without the wall tile installed, you’re doing something incorrect.” The idea is to waterproof all of the walls prior to the installation of any tile. I see this problem all the time. Water penetrates through the grout joint from below the tub deck, etc., and it invades the backer-board. This renders the entire installation a failure and necessitates a complete tear-out and reinstall.

I told my friend to make the two-hour drive so he could witness the methods we use to ensure a quality tile installation. Some examples are as follows: bonded waterproofing system on the walls and floor, self-leveling compound on the floor prior to install, leveling/squaring of the stud system, installation of sound-control techniques where appropriate, installation of a quiet yet powerful extraction fan, use of a licensed plumber and electrician for trade work, and our concept of a “maintenance-free bathroom.”

In terms of his planning, my advice was to select all the materials up-front rather than on the fly as he was suggesting. We have a project spreadsheet we maintain to help organize the procurement of materials. I’ve since emailed this over to him with several recommended products.

He’s put the project on hold until he can stop by and get trained by us on the correct bathroom-installation techniques and only until I can guide him on our methods and offer advice. In the end, the project will be dependent on him to be a success.