Wood Look Tub Surround for $50

I’m slowly working through sections of the house, getting everything put together. I’m saving the big house tour until all things are finished, which will probably be summer sometime. Instead I’ll show you teasers with all the places I’ve gussied up enough to take pictures! Let’s start with the tub. The glorious, glorious haven of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

I wanted something different from all the tile that’s in every builder-grade bathroom. I’ve seen pvc beadboard, but I wanted to get away from “cottage” and get to “country”. I wanted wood planks, but wood + water = mold, so what to do? Well, duh! Use house siding! We chose Hardi Plank, a cement board that comes in 5 1/2 inch widths about 12 feet long. You can get it at any big hardware store. The tub area was already prepped with tile backer board and waterproofed, so all we needed was to cut the planks to the right size.

While I was the mastermind behind the bathroom (as I am with pretty much all of our projects!) Jacob was the executer with it. I don’t know if you’ve worked with Hardi board before, but its tough stuff. I tried to put in one screw and drilled it through my thumb. It’s still healing. šŸ™ Plus it was still frigid outside and the cold saps all my energy and kindness. He was pretty much shoving me back inside whenever I reluctantly offered help. I’m solar-powered and like quality electronics do not operate well below 50 degrees.

We measured each section that needed a board, and luckily our tub insert was square so we didn’t need any fancy cuts. We started out with a table saw, but it was already on its last legs and completely burnt out halfway through our first rip. We moved on to using the jigsaw with a metal blade and that worked well enough, we just had to swap out blades often. Then we just popped a board in place and screwed them down with special Hardi screws (well, I held them at least) and then caulked the ever-living-daylights out of them! I love that they have nice grooves to mimic wood, but will never rot or warp. It’s the exact same stuff that’s on the back of our house.

Once the boards were in, I topped them with three coats of Olympic premium interior latex and will coat that with exterior grade spar varnish like the vanity in Charlie’s bathroom. I had a lot of fun decorating my space. I added the more “private” of our maternity photos here (draped pose, the classic “booby grab”) as well as a painting by a good friend. It may seem weird to have nice art in the bathroom, but when it’s 400 square feet I think it qualifies as a genuine room!

As far as the screw holes, I elected not to fill them. Not only is it virtually impossible for me to sand cement boards, I wanted that rustic look. Or I’m just lazy and am saying that to make myself feel better about skipping steps. Either way, I’m really happy with how it turned out. I still need to touch up the paint, but I’ll get to it later. Right now I need a vanity and a closet more than pretty paint!

We already had a light above the tub area, and my discount West Elm Chandelier (for $25! Score!) didn’t have the electrical, just the “shade” portion. So all we did was use some wall anchors, screws, and fishing line to secure it to the ceiling and voila! Fancy fixture. Nearly all the boxes for a luxury bathroom are checked. All except…

My future tv! Hubs was so kind as to gift me a small television to add to my area in the *somewhat near-ish* future. I’m going to build a shallow hutch like built in to house it. I may even hook up the Wii so I can have basic channels as well as Netflix. Now wouldn’t that be fancy? I think I’ll even add in a magazine rack. I’m serious about bath time guys. It’s my wine-down nightly ritual!

Oh, and the best part of this project is that it cost a mere $50. Yes, fifty dollars! All we needed were a few planks of cement board and special screws, caulk and paint. Tiling that area would be at least three times that amount, if not more. Plus, it’s pretty unique. I couldn’t find anything like it online and my tile guy (who was working on the shower) kept giving me the side-eye when I tried to explain my idea. But once we installed it he admitted it was a great idea. So if you’re getting bored with your current bathtub situation and are looking for a change, consider this!