Tag Archives | plumbing

It all happened so fast…

I wish I could say Andrew finished up the plumbing quickly and easily this morning and that we were able to shower and make it to work by 8:30. Alas, I cannot say that…or I’d be lying.

Here’s how it happened. Andrew stayed up working until 2 last night, and then got up at 6:55 and went to Lowe’s. David, a plumbing expert at Lowe’s and quickly becoming an acquaintance of ours, asked him how it was going. His response? “Well I’m here at 7 in the morning so not so great!” Too true. He came back with the parts and started soldering. At 8:20 he still wasn’t close to done, so I whipped out the computer and started working from home.

Every once in a while Andrew would request my help in confirming that water wasn’t leaking. We’d call each other on our phones, I’d wait near the plumbing, and he’d go outside to turn the water on. Andrew tried soldering the pipe 3 times, but this pipe was the lowest point in the house which meant that all the water left in the pipes ran to it. Finally he called a plumber to ask for any tips. He said at that point it’s almost impossible to solder, and recommended Gator Bites, or for those of you that shop at Home Depot, Shark Bites, or Sonic, Cheddar Bites…oh no, that’s not right, is it? This is basically a pipe with compression fittings that doesn’t require soldering.

So he finished the plumbing and then off he went to turn on the water. Only problem? He accidentally left a valve open, and he forgot to ask me to watch. So I’m working away, when all of a sudden I hear water pouring into the bathroom!! I run to the bathroom to see water spraying everywhere. It looked like a fire sprinkler went off! I ran to tell Andrew, the whole time screaming like a crazy person. And there was definitely some crying, too. Can’t blame me though. I had visions of our drywall completely soaked and flopping on the floor like wet bread, and having to redo EVERYTHING! Thankfully, that did NOT happen. Everything was very wet, though…including our light fixture. Turns out it’s not quite as frosted as we thought!

We got out the wet vac and some towels and started mopping it up. My heart was still racing. This was probably the most dramatic DIY moment for me yet. I think I may have had a mini panic attack.

It dried out pretty quickly though, so we continued on our merry way and laid down the rest of the hardie backer and then Adam came to tile.

 On a sidenote, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but we decided to hire someone else to tile. Our reasons are the following:
  • We have none of the tools for it, which alone would run us upwards of $300.
  • It’s very time consuming, especially for a beginner, and we both work all day 5 days a week.
  • We want to stay married.

Anyway, he finished up the subway tile yesterday and it looks awesome! Just keep in mind it’s not grouted or caulked yet. At first I was worried it went up too high on the wall, but after looking at it for a while I think it actually makes the room feel taller. Which it needs, as it is neither tall nor spacious. Once we get the other stuff in here and get the shower doors on I think it will be perfect.

We brought it up so high because we wanted to raise our shower head so you didn’t have to bend down  to get wet. Apparently people in the 80s were shorter? Hah. We raised the shower head by about 5 inches, and we wanted to make sure the tile came above that. Then we had to make sure we ended with a full tile at the top. 

Today he did the floor and it turned out out great, too! He started in the back because we decided it was more important to have full and half tiles there than by the door, but turns out we ended up with that on both ends! What a perfect surprise after such a stressful and imperfect day.

It’s really starting to feel like we’re making good progress now. You know those TV shows where they spend 45 minutes showing the demo and all the problems encountered along the way and then all of sudden the room is done and you think, “Did they skip something?” No, that was our experience, too. It seemed like we’d been stagnant for a while. We’d done a lot of work, just nothing really aesthetic so it felt like it was going really slowly. Then it was like all of sudden…BAM! It’s a bathroom! It’s almost bittersweet. I still feel like I should walk past and see studs and subfloor…Nah, almost bittersweet, almost.  Anyway, Adam is coming back tomorrow to do the grout, and then we’ll be ready for the next phase!

We’ve also discovered that Chaucer is really curious about renovations and DIY. He loves smelling and exploring new things and really doesn’t seem all that bothered by the loud noises. I mentioned once before that Chaucer likes to sleep in weird places and that was further confirmed the other night when we found him truly embracing all of these changes…

Looks quite comfy for a cat, doesn’t it? (Just FYI, this is the new, never-been-used toilet. Thank goodness.)

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2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

So remember how I said it has to get worse before it gets better, and that hopefully now we’re in the “getting better” phase? Well, on one hand we are. Andrew finished mudding all the joints and corners earlier this week so now it’s finally starting to look like a room again! 

But I also could see how some might think it looks worse. And I take the blame for that, cause I just love to make last minute decisions that create more work for us!

We’ve been wrestling with the idea of moving the toilet a few inches further away from the side wall because before it was so awkwardly close. I knew this would be a lot of work (and cost more money) so I put off making the decision, but I also knew I’d regret it if we left it where it was. So Andrew cut a hole in the floor in order to move the plumbing. It’s a bit ominous looking…

Tiling actually started on Tuesday as planned, and he finished the shower today. More on that later (pictures, too). That means he’ll start on the floor tomorrow, which means we have to be done with this plumbing, have the hole covered back up with a new piece of plywood, and have the hardi backer down tonight. It’s shaping up to be a long night.
While Andrew was working on the plumbing for the toilet, I chipped away at the adhesive that got left behind along the entire doorway when we tore up the tile. It looks sort of soft, but it was actually really tough and almost impossible to get out, so we’ve left it there…until now. It took me over an hour with a screwdriver and hammer to get it out.

Update: While writing this blog post we discovered one of the newly soldered pipes for the toilet is leaking. It’s not a big deal, except we don’t have the one piece we need to fix it. Basically this means we can’t turn our water on until Andrew can get to Lowe’s to buy a piece, but they’re already closed (as are all hardware stores right now). Guess where we’ll be at 7am?

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Happy Monthiversary!

Well today officially marks 6 months since we’ve been in our house. Here’s Andrew on August 19th at our closing. I remember that day like it was yesterday…or 6 months ago. 🙂

After 4 months of waiting for our offer to be accepted, we were so excited to be able to call it ours. Yesterday I did not feel that way because this weekend has been so frustrating! Our only renovation plan for the weekend was to get our tub installed. Sounds simple enough, right? But if we have learned anything in the 6 months that we’ve been here, it’s that nothing is ever as simple as you think it’ll be.

Yesterday we realized that the drain in our new tub is in a different spot than the current plumbing. Still, not such a big deal. Just move the plumbing. So Andrew measured. And the exact spot where the drain of our new tub comes out is right over a floor joist. This joist.

The drain would have come out right in the center of the joist, so reinforcing it with another beam so we could cut into it was not an option. Plus a notch in a joist severely weakens it, and we really didn’t want to do that. Our only option then became bringing the back wall forward 2 inches so the tub lines up with the current plumbing. Dang. 🙁

We started by screwing four 8 foot 2x4s into the existing studs. Here is what it looked like before:

And now with all the 2x4s in:

Then since 2x4s are only actually 1.5 inches thick, we screwed 2 sheets of 1/2 inch plywood into the 2x4s, in essence creating a new wall.

Now we’re ready to install the tub in mortar, and then we’ll install the cement board right over the plywood and studs (on the sides).
The good news about all of this is that it did give us a peek into the soffit in the kitchen (look at the top of the picture with the 2x4s. That space is the soffit). When we redo the kitchen we want to get rid of the soffit so we can add extra cabinetry or at least just have the extra space at the top. We were worried there might be duct work or electrical running through it, but there’s nothing! Yay!
Time to install this tub. Wish us luck! We’ve already figured out this is not going to be easy. Happy 6th Monthiversary, House!
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Don’t burn the house down!

So on Wednesday we bought a tub and today, thanks to a friend, we got it home. Chaucer is enjoying it already! Well, ok, maybe not enjoying it. He got in it on his own, but then decided he was stuck. 🙁

One of the reasons we chose this tub is because it feels huge! That picture doesn’t really capture how big/deep the tub is unless you know how big Chaucer is. 😉 I had to test it out, too. It’s pretty sweet! Now if only we could do something about those curtains…

The tub is made of this new patented material by Kohler called Vikrell. It’s a plastic material, but much thicker and more durable than polycarbonate or fiberglass. It almost feels like metal. We were super excited to find it because our other options were cheap plastic or porcelain on steel that could chip or rust. We found it at Lowe’s. Home Depot had nothing of the sort. Plus 1 for Lowe’s.

Andrew has been working on the bathtub plumbing all evening. In the process he sent me to Lowe’s twice to get copper pipe things and I’m happy to report that I got the right thing both times! Also, I have to admit I was slightly worried that he might burn the house down.

Once the plumbing is done, we still need to finish sanding the ceiling (the dust is way easier to clean up in an empty room!). Then we’ll install the tub, fix the drywall, install the cement board on the walls around the tub and then we’ll be ready for tile! Woo!
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