email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Friday, May 20, 2016

Bathtub Area Replacement

First, getting up at 7 am to be ready for the demolition crew was a novel experience.  Second, getting the cats stashed away into a safe room was only a partial success.  Third, no renovation work ever goes smoothly.

I managed to get up on time, fed the cats, and went to get them into the bedroom.  I called them and Marley and Iza came right in.  Ayla was not so cooperative,  sensing that "something" was up.  I know better than to chase a cat, I just follow slowly.  But she was ducking from room to room and upstairs/downstairs until she was upstairs and I wasn't sure where she was.  I figured she was either in the Mews Room or the Computer Room, so I just closed both doors.  It turned out she had to be hiding in the Living room somewhere.  I swear that cat could hide in a coffee mug!  But since she stayed in hiding and didn't try to run out through the frequently opened front door, all was fine. 

The bathtub area demolition was impressive.  I took a LOT of pictures for possible insurance reasons, but I will only inflict a few of them on you.

The before shot shows the mess.  When the tiles began to come loose, I duct-taped plastic around the front and side, not realizing how bad it was getting behind the plastic.  And under that situation, tub-cleaning seems to have fallen off my schedule.
So, they went in and just started pounding the tiles and backer board into pieces.  Well, the plastic was more waterproof than the tiles were!
Bathroom renovators are notorious for finding "more repairs needed" when the backer boards are removed.  These guys said everything looked mold-free and no rot.  I looked at it and agreed.  I don't know tiles, but I know about wood.  So they vacuumed all the dust and debris.
And started to replace the backer board.  It is a special concrete and laminate product that basically can't rot.  So was the original stuff, but after 30 years, the modern product is better.
Next, they installed the new tub and covered the inside with padding and plastic.  And it was a good thing they did!  Because after that, they constructed and installed the new pipes.  I wasn't thrilled to see them using a plastic pipe, but they assured me that it is better than copper pipe.  "Not one failure in 10 years and it sheds mineral deposits that can collect in copper pipe with hard water".

Well, I have soft water, but if the cemented plastic holds better than soldered copper, OK...   BTW, the first day I moved in here 30 years ago, I tasted the water and decided it was the best municipal water I had ever tasted!
So then we had a few "adventures".  The first was a pipe cap blowout.  You see that copper pipe sticking out over the tub?  There is a temporary pipe cap.  The Senior Repairman said they are called "shark valves" because once on, they never come loose until you want them to come loose".

So guess what came loose?  Right!  The shark valve...  The assistant went running to the door shouting at Senior guy that "the water is on".   Well, yeah, it had been turned back on, but I realized he suddenly didn't WANT it to be on, so I ran into the basement (bad knee and all) and crawled into the access where the whole-house shut off valve was and closed it.

That apparently saved about 50 gallons of water pouring out the open tub into the basement.  And I stuck a bucket under the leak. 

They were very apologetic.  Those caps "never fail".  Well, until they do, of course.  At least I got some credit for fast-action!  The assistant is not the brightest bulb in a room of lamps, he meant "water is flowing and it shouldn't".  I had noticed the senior guy mad jokes about the assistant (his BIL) and I had joined in slightly, but I stopped after that.

But, no harm was done.  The plastic in the tub caught most of it and my bucket caught the rest.  The senior guy was really pissed off, but I joked "that was fun, let's do it again". 

After they vacuumed up the water and replaced the plastic lining with a dry one (and made sure I saw they were using a brand new pipe "shark valve" cap), they proceeded with the job with the water turned back on. 

Then the second little "adventure"...The last backer board to be installed was the one that fits over the tub faucet and shower valve.  That takes very precise cut-outs.  And senior guy cut it wrong!    Oh wow, did the assistant have a relieved turn with that.  I had noticed the the senior guy just wrote the cutting dimensions randomly on a piece of paper.  Well, I suppose when you have been doing something for 38 years (as he said he had), you know where your numbers are. 

Oops, he got the left and right measurements reversed..  No problem for me, it's a fixed price contract (and the senior guy did mention that it comes out of company expenses.

I mentioned to him that when I put wood paneling in the basement, I had been careful to use a huge piece of cardboard from a bookcase box to make sure I cut it right.  Ans then traced that onto the wood paneling so that I COULDN'T get in wrong.  And got it wrong ANYWAY because I put the cardboard on the wrong side of the panel.

True story, but it did lighten up the situation...  The last thing I want are angry embarrassed workers doing work in my house.  I've done enough house work myself to know that when you get mad, you don't do your best work! 

So senior guy cut out another concrete backer board panel and it fit like a glove. 

They return on Monday to install the bathtub fixtures and do the tile installation.

Ayla, Iza, and Marley recovered quickly.  Food helped, attention helped, deck time helped.  quietness helped.  But I bet I will have to get sneakier about getting them shut into the bedroom Monday morning.  At least the final work is quieter...

1 comment:

Megan said...

I'm glad they turned up and actually got started, Mark. And goon on you for maintaining good spirits throughout. Hope it goes well on Monday.

Sydney, Australia