Arthur strives to balance aesthetics, functionality, and quality with costs when planning DIY projects in the home and garden.
Having previously modified the built-in wardrobe and airing cupboard and fitting new cupboard doors, to paint and decorate our en-suit bathroom as part of a larger DIY project to renovate our main bedroom.
The airing cupboard in the bathroom was originally built to house a thermostatically heated electric copper immersion tank, but many years ago, when we upgraded our central heating system, we replaced it with a combi-boiler, which are much smaller than the old immersion tanks, and thus takes up far less space.
Last summer when our ageing combi-boiler died, and we replaced it with the latest state of the art eco-friendly combi-boiler, I took that as an opportunity to downsize our airing cupboard so as to enlarge my built-in wardrobe.
This invariably meant making new doors for both the airing cupboard and my wardrobe, which I covered in a previous article. Upon replacing the doors, I then stick mirror tiles to my wardrobe door, but the tiled mirrors didn’t stick to the door too well. Therefore as part of this bathroom makeover I decided I would have full length mirrors ‘made to measure’ for my wardrobe doors, and secure them with proper mirror clips. I decided not to do the same thing for the airing cupboard because those doors are a little too narrow for it to be practical.
Task In Hand
The bathroom is largely tiled, so the makeover is relatively simple, and consists of following basic steps:-
- Wood-stain the built-in cupboard doors and wood surrounds.
- Freshen up the ceiling with a coat of white emulsion.
- Paint the walls,
- Fit the new wardrobe mirrors, and
- Put everything back
- Measure the wardrobe door and place an order with a local glazier to cut the mirrors to size, and deliver them to our door e.g. the mirrors would be too long to fit into our car, and ordering them in advance gave time for them to be cut to size while I got on with the decorating.
- Order the mirror fixings and felt pads for the back of the mirrors either from a local supplier or Amazon.
- Clear everything out of the bathroom, and temporarily remove any fixtures and fittings that would be in the way of the painting.
- Clean and wash all the surfaces.
Wood Staining the Cupboard Doors
I’d previously made new bi-fold cupboard doors from 10mm (½ inch plywood) when I resized the cupboards; now, as I was painting and decorating the bathroom, it was a good time to finish them with wood stain. While wood staining the bi-fold doors I also re-stained the wood surrounds.
The wood stain I use is translucent, so for a good finish you need to apply three coats (in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions), leaving four hours between each coat:
- Apply the first two coats, leaving four hours between each coat.
- Lightly sanding down after the second coat is dry.
- Wipe over with a cloth and white spirit to remove the sawdust, and leave for half an hour for it to dry, then
- Apply the final coat.
Lighting sanding down after the second coat ensures a smoother final finish.
And to blend the new bi-fold doors in with the cupboard doors above, I also applied one coat to small top cupboard doors.
Painting the Ceiling
The white emulsion on the ceiling had discoloured since it was last decorated, so I just used one coat of white emulsion; just to freshen it up.
Painting the Walls
Most of the walls around the bath and shower are tiled, and didn’t need any decoration; so it was just painting the small area of walls that wasn’t tiled. The previous paint was still good, so the only reason for painting was to change the colour scheme from a light pink to a light green.
To get a good finish, and to completely cover the previous colour, took two coats; leaving four hours between each coat.
Most people use rollers, rollers is something I’ve never got on with so I do all my painting with a large paint brush; it might take longer, but I think the end results are well worth it.
Fitting Wardrobe Mirrors
When I made the new bi-fold doors I initially fitted some mirror tiles to the wardrobe doors; spare mirror tiles given to me as they were left over from a DIY project that he’d done. The mirror tiles were quite effective, but they didn’t stick to the doors as well as they should have done. Therefore, as part of this bathroom makeover I removed the mirror tiles and had a pair of made-to-measure mirrors made for me by a local glazier.
To keep the weight down e.g. you don’t want heavy mirrors pulling on the door hinges, the mirrors I had made are only 4mm (approx. 1/8 inch) thick. The mirror fittings which I ordered from Amazon are for 6mm (approx. ¼ inch) thick mirrors. Therefore, to make up the difference I bought a pack of 1.5mm thick self-adhesive pads from a local DIY store.
Thus the combined thickness of the mirrors and the felt pads came to 5.5mm, which is approx. 50th inch short of the 6mm mirror fittings; that seemed a good compromise as the mirrors then fitted snugly in place, without putting any stress on them through over tightening the fittings e.g. if the mirror fittings pressed down too tight on the mirrors the stress caused would risk the glass to crack.
The process for fitting each mirror was as follows:-
- Stick six 1.5mm self-adhesive felt pad to each mirror, one in each corner, and two in the middle.
- Using a spirit level, tape measure and pencil, mark up where I wanted to fit the four bottom mirror fittings; two for each mirror.
- Then gently placing each mirror in turn into the bottom mirror fittings, and
- While my wife gently pushed the mirror flat against the door, I quickly fitted one mirror fitting to the top of each mirror in turn.
- Then with the mirrors held in place by the two bottom and one top mirror fittings, I then had my hands free to screw the final mirror fittings in place.
I decided not to put fitted mirrors on the airing cupboard doors as they are much narrower, and in my opinion really too narrow for mirrors.
With the bathroom painted and decorated, and the wardrobe mirrors fitted, it was just a case putting everything back into the bathroom e.g. the window blind, glass shelves in the alcove and all the knickknacks back onto the shelves.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Arthur Russ