After considering Dan's suggestion of hiring someone to fix the bathroom wall, I did some poking around on the magical internet. I have some experience with drywall (my 7th grade English teacher, the great Mr. Dormaier, was remodeling his old farm house, and he kindly taught me the ins and outs of drywall, mud, tape, sanding and finishing. Plus- have you caught on that my dad is a walking DiY manual for everything?) but I've never had to deal with water damage. It can be bad if I don't let the wall dry out, or if the water seeped further than where I replace - locking the moisture in the wall and causing more paint bubbling. The internet is full of wonderful sites and videos and after get a peptalk from John at Lowes I felt capable of handing this repair on my own.
*NOTE If Dan were here I would have been more reluctant, but I have the day off and he won't be around bugging me about being too proud to let someone else do it.
Which he has a point about and I'm working on that whole, asking for help thing.
So. Here I go:
I stared the project by scraping away as much of the damaged area that came freely. That meant to start it was the area where the paint bubbled and the mush where the curtain rod was tension-held.
It turns out the condensation followed the seam tape and the entire length from ceiling to floor came off easily, along with most of the strip next to the shower stall.
(If you're wondering why there is a blue/green color present, bathrooms typically use a different kind of dry wall that is treated to repel mold growth, and that is the coating you see, not actual mold.)
I removed the tape and the damaged bonding compound in the crack between wall and tub. I put a fan on the area to dry it out completely before moving forward.
To pass the time, I figured now would be a good time to remove the caulking in the tub, let it all air out properly, then redo it too at the end of this project. (Which I'm glad of - as I peeled it away there was moisture trapped and starting to discolor. )
Here is a close view of the worst spot near the ceiling. The ceiling seems to be fine, but I lost a corner of drywall. The spot isn't large enough to warrant a patch of new dry wall.
My tools and equipment:
2" Trowel (not shown)
Medium grit sanding sponge
Caulk to re seal the tub when the wall is done drying and painted. It won't be used for a few days.
I realize now I didn't take any in progress shots. Sorry.
The compound I used is premixed, so no messy spills and powder everywhere and inconstant texture. This huge tub was about 5 bucks and I figured I'd rather have more than enough than not enough.
Starting at the bottom of the crack by the floor, I slowly wedged the compound into the seam until I reached the line of the top of the shower. I then smeared a good deal of compound along the whole length, about 2.5 inches wide and smoothed it with the larger trowel. I cut a piece of drywall tape to fit, pressed it into the mud, then applied another coat of compound on top of it. I smoothed it as best I could and feathered it into the existing paint. The more feathering, the less sanding later.
I then did the area near the ceiling, adding compound, tape, then more compound. Last I did the section next to the shower - again with compound, tape, then more compound. Even though there was un damaged paint between the ceiling and the shower, I coved the entire area with mud to make the final result less obvious of a repair. It is easer to create the illusion of a square wall with a larger area.
To help the process along, I hung a light weight fan on the shower rod. It isn't necessary, but it makes me feel better to have the air circulating, especially since the initial problem came from condensation.
This is what it looks like right now. The mud is drying. It needs to set over night, especially the thick parts near the ceiling and near the floor.
After this is done drying, I'll sand any high points down, and feather the edges before applying another coat of mud to finish the wall. My walls also have a slight texture in them, and with the second mud, I'll try a few sponges to see it I can replicate it. It will then dry another night, then it will be ready for any final sanding and paint.
I'll post more for sure. I need proof to show Dan!