After all paint work was finished, I wanted to try to see if I could fix up the metal strips used to guide the windows on. These are simple aluminum (I believe) strips that the wooden windows commonly found in (slightly older) Korean houses “ride” on with small wheels. These bars are rather badly rusted, especially because our bathroom is, for one reason or another, very prone to making things rust quickly.
I took the bars outside to our balcony and simply put a sander on it, to see if that would make any difference. I had no idea if this would help at all, but hey, why not. Fortunately this made an incredible difference. It took quite a bit of effort (and I went through two pieces of sanding paper — it isn’t really meant for this purpose after all), but the result was quite impressive. Sure the bars got quite scratched up but the scratching was very fine so it actually looked quite nice. The color difference was the most obvious though, going from an old bronze-like color to a silver shine. Great!
After this I installed them back in the window frame, using new small nails instead of the original ones (as they too were badly rusted and in some cases broken even) and voila. Looks quite nice.
As with most of these kinds of projects, you have to start at the cleaning and preparation phase. In this case that means taping off everything you don’t want covered in paint, taking everything removable out of the bathroom and, of course, clean everything.
We started off by taking out all things detachable from the bathroom, and then taped off the floor with masking tape that has plastic attached to it (150cm long). This was quite convenient, as we didn’t have to separately place plastic on the floor. We also taped around the sink, toilet and shower water control thingamajig. I detached the shower head as it would only get in the way anyway. No shower at home for us the coming week.
Next it was time to sand off as much as we could from the previous tenants’ paint job. Some parts were quite thick, so we wanted to smooth it out as much as possible. This was quite a bit of work, but it had to be done.
I also took out the windows and their rails so we had full access to the wooden frame. As you can see in the photo, it’s quite old looking (and decidedly messy between the window rows. Yikes.
With everything cleaned up and out of the way, no we can get started with the real stuff. Excited? I am!
For one of our first home improvement (or, DIY) projects, Younhee and I decided to take on the bathroom. While we’ll keep our projects mostly limited to things we can take with us (we don’t own this house), we wanted to make an exception for the bathroom as it doesn’t look very good in its current state.
Purple floor tiles combined with pink-ish white wall tiles. Previous tenants had an apparent desire to paint over the grout in-between all tiles but seemed to have lost all interest mid-way through, as paint was left all over the tiles and many parts had no paint at all. Odd.
Two mirrors are attached to opposite walls but both show their age, with damaged, non-reflective parts and rust-like effects, along with chipped corners. The windows are in desperate need of some fixing too; the wood has some water damage and looks old. The window rails is very rusty, making it both look bad and opening or closing windows more difficult than it should be.
So, in short, plenty of stuff to fix.
With limited budget, we decided to do the following;
- Get rid of the bad grout paint job.
- Give the windows a thorough sanding
- Get rid of the existing mirrors
- Paint the tiles over completely
There isn’t much we can do about the floor, short of taking it all out, so we decided to keep it as-is. With the walls eventually looking (much) better (hopefully), it should end up looking quite alright.
I’d like to invite you with us on our journey to a better bathroom. Let’s get started.