Archive for December 2nd, 2022

Annex 90

This is what my new bathroom looked like two days before Thanksgiving.  Since my highest priority for the holiday was getting the new toilet functional, the bathroom itself took precedence over the shower; I did the walls on the 16th and 17th, then the floor on the 19th-21st.  The product we used is called Durabak; it’s frequently used to protect the beds of pickup trucks, but is applied like paint and will bond to nearly anything (including human skin, which I discovered the hard way).  It’s tough, skid-resistant, waterproof, and comes in a variety of colors; it’s thus the perfect material for coating the inside of a shower, and I decided it was best to do the bathroom with it as well.  Durabak costs about twice as much as decent paint, and is applied with rollers and brushes (for corners); it’s really sticky and is xylene-based, so it’s quite smelly and some people (including Grace and Jae) are sensitive to the fumes.  Luckily I’m not, but I was surprised to discover that large drips or splatters will go right through fabric to leave stains on the skin beneath, which can only be removed with more xylene (which irritates the skin) and a lot of really hard scrubbing (which irritates it even more).  Once a can is open, you’ve got three hours to use it before it starts to harden; after the two-hour mark it starts to get really tacky and doesn’t go on as smoothly, so time is of the essence.  On the first day, I did the first coat on all of the walls; it took two cans, but the second can was enough to get the second coat on one wall, then the third can finished the second coat all around.  After the first coat, it looked so awful I was thinking, “Ye gods, what have I done?”  But as you can see, the second coat made a huge difference.  Grace discovered in the process that the stuff really needs to be mixed mechanically, with a kind of whisk attached to a drill; that made the third and subsequent cans much smoother and shortened application time to under two hours per can.  Since the cans can’t really be resealed and there was no way to add a second coat to the floor until the first was dry enough to walk on, I left a narrow walkway from shower to bathroom door and then used the rest of the can to do one of the shower walls because they’re the same color; I then used the last of the can to paint over my escape route as I exited.  Then I repeated the process with the second and third coats (walls need only two, but floors need three or four).  When I went to do the second coat, the floor was still too tacky even 24 hours later, so after I applied that coat (and fixed the faint footprints I’d made in the first) I set up a space heater with a fan to blow hot air into the room overnight, and that did the trick nicely. After the third coat and another night of drying, we put in the lavatory (not yet functional) and toilet (functional!) in time for company; look for a picture next Friday.

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