Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bathroom Remodel Part 8: The Mirror

Part 1: Demolition
Part 2: Plumbing
Part 3: Material selection and Floor Tile
Part 4: Shower Tile Prep
Part 5: Shower Tile
Part 6: Walls and Caulk
Part 7: Bathtub Siding

Of course because this project was not already super difficult and involved, we designed and fabricated a custom mirror frame complete with overhead lighting as well. Because I guess we hate life and having a life.

The mirror glass itself I got from a coworker who was doing a bathroom remodel of his own and was giving it away for free! They were almost the perfect size for our project, but unfortunately not for my car. He was kind enough to drive 50 minutes round-trip to drop them off just to get them out of his garage though, and in return I gave him a bottle of wine. Fair trade, right?

The mirror was a bit tall by several inches, so we did a little score-n-snap action with a glass cutter and some spray oil. I think it's accurate to say this is one of the only things in this entire bathroom renovation that went correctly on the first try. You probably don't believe me because I've left a lot of our oopsies and mishaps out of the blog (it would just turn into a novel), but I swear, I'm not even joking.

I know I touted the wonderful features of the Kreg Rip Cut attachment for my circular saw back when I was building our fireplace mantel, but now I am SO. OVER. IT. There were just a few too many slightly not-so-straight cuts which became more and more annoying to deal with. Additionally, the design of this mirror called for a 1/4" groove to be cut into the frame for the mirror to sit in, and you just can't afford to fudge that. Finally we decided to just spring for a table saw, as much as they scare the shit out of me. This one has a lot of nicely-designed features as well as a plastic guard so you're less likely to saw through your fingers, so I guess it can stay. 

I designed the mirror frame to be 4" deep, so we set the fence to that plus 1/2" or so. We used Afrormosia wood again to match the bathtub siding.

In order to cut the groove in which the mirror would sit, we had to remove the guard, much to my horror. Dammit, it was scary! I was freaking out the whole time...I can only image how Boyfiancé felt (as the person actually operating the saw).

Thankfully we came out the other side with all of our fingers still attached. And I have to give the saw some credit: it does some really straight cuts.

The top piece of the mirror needed to hold four LED puck lights. I ordered three different sets before I settled on these from Amazon. They were the only ones that were bright enough and the same color temperature as the recessed light above the bathtub. 

I've always wanted to try one of these hole saws, and now I got to use TWO of them. 

The idea was to drill a smaller hole all the way through the material and a larger hole around that hole about half-way through. The larger hole is the same diameter as the LED puck, so it sits nicely recessed and shines down through the smaller hole.

TIP: If drilling all the way through the material, start on one side and then flip the material over and complete the cut on the other side to avoid unsightly splintering. 

The tricky part was removing the ring of wood where the puck would sit, but with some careful marking and cutting, the Dremel tool did the trick. 

Just to create these deceptively-simple holes, these are some of the tools we ended up needing. I even bought a round drum sander to sand the inside surface of the holes.

We discussed a lot of options on how to hang this mirror flush against the wall in a way that was both clean-looking and safe. We finally settled on the pocket hole method straight into the studs like we had done for the floating shelves in our last house. I measured the stud locations in our bathroom and drilled the pocket holes in the frame accordingly.

Once all the grooves had been cut and holes drilled, it was time for the Good Stuff varnish, same as the stuff we used on the bathtub siding. I seriously am in love with how it brings out the natural color and luster of the wood.

Once those had gotten three or four coats, it was assembly time. Pretty straightforward, just a lot of aligning, screwing and clamping. I had predrilled some holes for the screws to be counter sunk as well. The screws on the bottom part of the frame were sunk about 1/4" deep to allow for a wood dowel plug to hide them.

Here we are using special mirror adhesive to glue a piece of hardboard to the back of the mirror to give it strength and stability. We played a really sad game of tic-tac-toe with the glue. I also discovered the wonderful invention of pipe clamps (hardboard and clamps not pictured)! Essentially you buy just the clampy part and attach that to whatever length of 3/4" black metal pipe and you have unlimited clamping options! As my dad always says, you can never have enough clamps.

Now you get to see the whole thing! Gorgeoussssss. 

To hang it, I bolted a bit of 2x4 to the wall to act as a shelf that the mirror could rest on while we centered it. We made sure everything was in place, including the electrical wire for the future puck lights, before screwing in some pocket screws through the pre-drilled holes and into the studs. A few of the holes didn't quite align, so we took the mirror back down and hammered in some drywall anchors for extra snugness. Worked like a charm.  

Boyfiancé is sexy

2x4 shelf removed, installation complete.

The next day I put in the LED puck lights and wow, they really make the whole thing. 

Here's a view of the anatomy below. I used some oak plugs to fill in the pocket holes and sanded them flush. A little varnish sealed and smoothed them out.

Now our guests can officially shower, use the toilet, and fix their face (but they'll have to wash their hands in the shower still). A vanity should help with that. Coming up next! 

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