So here’s a situation we didn’t expect to be in this soon.
This was our main bathroom a few short weeks ago.
Not particulary memorable either.
We’ve known about a water leak somewhere, there was always a small puddle on the floor behind the toilet. (No surprise really, the whole bathroom floor slopes slightly towards that one corner.)
One day the toilet tipped… as if it weren’t even attached to the floor… and we knew we’d better address the situation immediately. The broken toilet had to go. We’d been planning to replace it with a match to the one in the Master bathroom anyway.
So I grabbed a hammer and a crowbar to find that reason for the loose toilet AND the constant puddle.
No surprise, the toilet wasn’t attached to the floor anymore.
The flange had broken away from the drain pipe. Completely. Probably years ago. See that pipe with a rag stuffed in it? There should be a flange attached to the top of it to hold the toilet to the floor….
and there isn’t.
Honestly, my first intent was to just to replace/repair as much of the floor as I could, but once I started tearing things out…. I couldn’t stop. The floor tile, the damp MDF underlayment (don’t use MDF as an underlayment. EVER), tar-paper, a layer of linoleum floor (probably original to the house), down to the damp/rotted subfloor. The sink cabinet went next (I’ve never cared for it), the sink, the tile half-way up the walls, ALL of the drywall – down to the studs, everything surrounding the shower,
I was like an unstoppable machine,
until I got to the cast iron tub.
There was no way that beast was moving for us.
I grabbed a Bagster from the Home Depot ($30 for the bag, about $175 for the company to fetch it once it’s full) and we filled it with bathroom shrapnel in a day. The very same day that our neighborhood’s big trash pick up was.
And the city took it. For FREE.
On to Bagster numero dos. This one was solely for the cast iron bath tub. Our plumber removed the thing and dragged it to the curb, where the scrap metal guy, who regularly patrols our neighborhood, pounced on it in less than an hour.
Our second FREE Bagster removal.
That constant leak rotted out a good amount of the subfloor. Which we removed.
Once again, we had a reverse-Nevada-ish shaped hole in a bathroom floor.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing did the work on our other bathroom and I can only think of good things to say about them. Although, this may just be a coincidence, but two out of the last three plumbers had grandmothers die while working for us.
I’m not implying that they were lying.
That’s their karma to deal with.
It’s just that the mortality rate for our plumber’s grandmothers seems to be unexpectedly high.
Plumber Johnny arrived early, and after surveying my damage – and 20 minutes of math in his truck – he came back with a plan of attack. And at a decent price.
The only wrinkle was that Johnny couldn’t start for a week…. his grandmother had just died.
One week later Johnny returned and removed that tub so I could replace the subfloor with a level layer of plywood. (Sistered up all the old floor joists too for some extra stability)
Who doesn’t like an empty box of a room with limitless possibilities?
Now, I’m probably not the most tech savvy guy – Jamie will enthusiastically tell y’all about my flip phone and foil-covered TV antenna that I had when we met – but in the land of online shopping;
I’m a fearless Viking.
In just under an hour I’d ordered a modern toilet, beveled subway tile, and a new door with a frosted glass insert from the Home Depot. Sink, sink cabinet, and shaving mirror from Ikea. Scored an out of production Ikea faucet for a song on eBay. Can lights, bathroom fan, towel bar, and even a modern/industrial light for over the mirror. The West Elm mirror was the only thing we salvaged from the old bathroom.
Still needed a bath tub and all the shower fixturing.
So Jamie and I made a trek to Apex Plumbing Supply to survey deep bathtubs and shower fixtures (I’d been demolishioning all day and probably looked a little….. homeless; ratty T-shirt, shoes with holes, and drywall in my hair) where I was promptly met with,
get this shit…
“Did you need something?”
No kidding. That’s honestly how the chick at the showroom greeted me; like I was freakin’ Julia Roberts trying to buy a cocktail dress on Rodeo Drive in the early 90s.
Obviously, everything there was “VERY expensive”.
At least we established who wouldn’t be getting the commission off of our meager purchase.
While the bitch with the attitude was distracted on the phone with a “real” customer, Ricardo helped us. What he may have lacked in product knowledge, he more than made up for with his people skills.
Here’s the new tub Ricardo had delivered to us.
Beautiful, ain’t she?
And deep. OOOh so very deep.
Especially compared to the 7-inch deep, cast iron “tray” we’d been bathing in for the last 9 years.
Some of us couldn’t wait to try it with water in it..
There is exactly 67 inches between the studs, and bathtubs come in standard sizes of 60 and 66 inch widths. “The bigger the better”, we thought…… anticipating the major wrestling match to get the darn thing in the space. But I didn’t want that weird 6 inches of wasted space on the left side of the tub.
But ya know what? There was hardly any issue at all. A little wiggling was all it took for us to get her through the door opening and sandwiched perfectly in place.
(I was seriously prepared to remove an entire wall if need be.)
Best part, it weighs about 60 pounds. The glory of fiberglass, ladies and gentlemen.
Plumber Johnny returned again and plumbed the tub drain, then set all the knobs, spouts and diverters for the fixtures. I furred the walls to prep for…..
Starting to look like a bathroom!
Am I right?
Jamie ran mesh seam tape over all the seams….
Then spread mortar over all the tape and screw heads, to keep them water-tight.
But the real water-proofing is in the Red Guard water-proofing membrane.
Jamie smeared it on all the wet surfaces.
Up Next: Tile.
So, I know what most of y’all are probably thinking. “Here he goes again. 3 years of teasing us with a bathroom remodel with no climax.”
Not this time.
I assure you.