Tuesday, February 3, 2009

xiS traP, erutnevdA moorffaB ruO

Well, the tub is finally in, though only by the grace of God and a long-handled spoon. I won't go into a play by play of all of it. Just know that nearly every step of the process took at least three times as long as we hoped and all tasks undertaken in the crawlspace beneath the floorboards of the house took at least twice as long as that.

Here are some highlights from Saturday:

Old bustedWe tore out the valve system for the old tub and put in the Price Pfister valve. Easier said than done, of course. The new tub is taller than the old, so the whole valve works and tub spout had to be elevated from their previous positions, which required some sawing out of an existing stud, the connecting of copper pipes with other copper pipes using joint-connectors, joint elbows and special copper pipe epoxy that refused to come out of the two separated plunger channels in the equal amounts required. And though we'd shut off the water while doing all this, there was still some water trying to trickle out of the cold water pipe after we'd hack-sawed through it. To combat this, the wife stuffed a wad of bread into it, saying this was an old plumber's trick that everybody knows and will result in the bread dissolving and pouring out of the valve once we turn the water back on.

New hotnessAfter everything was epoxied and set, we turned the water back on to test for leaks. No leaks and both hot and cold water ran... at least, initially. Then there came a loud clunk from within the cold water pipe and it suddenly ceased to pour. Much theorizing and gnashing of teeth proceeded but the only thing we could think had happened was the wad of bread had clogged it. No matter how much we beat on the pipe to dislodge the clog, no water would flow. Eventually, we had to cut through it and run a coat hanger up it to poke around. Bread came out, as did a couple of balls of hardened copper pipe epoxy. Ahhhh. Seems we hadn't let the whole thing solidify enough before testing the works. We had to re-epoxy nearly every joint, because our surgery had broken almost all of the still uncured bonds.

The wife's idea was to put in the tub on Saturday night, but I knew well in advance that this was a losing proposition. The tub, as we already knew, was going to be a very tight fit which, if the dimensions provided and our measurements were to be believed, would allow no wiggle room whatsoever. Just getting it into the bathroom on its end was going to be a challenge, let alone rotated 90 degrees and lowered into place. And an addendum to those space limitations was the fact that the front flange of our tub could not be rotated the 90 degrees without passing through space currently occupied by the remaining drywall. Knowing full well how snippy the wife and I get with each other during stressful situations in which there's money and/or valuable new property on the line, I didn't think this was going to be a good scene even under the best of conditions. The knowledge that one false move might break our new tub would certainly put us on edge and I was pretty sure a fight would be inevitable. This, I pointed out and the wife agreed the possibility was high.

Instead of trying to install it, we settled for hauling the tub into the bathroom on its end, rotating it until the front flange hit drywall on both sides. Then we marked where the flange hit, that occurred, showing us where we'd have to bust the drywall out to, then we put the tub back in our bedroom and went to watch TV.


1 comment:

crsunlimited said...

I wish you luck in your copper pipe adventure. Nothing I have ever made of Copper has ever held under pressure. All the plumbing in my house is plastic. I did have some copper pipe leading into and out of the hot water heater, but after the tank leaked and we replace it the copper was never the same.

Now keep in mind this is Missouri and it's full of backward construction people. All piping in the city is PVC. All piping under my house is PVC we even replaced that useless copper pipes with the proper PVC and everything is fine and has been for a couple of years now.

That didn't stop whatever previous owner decided to put in these 2 pieces of ribbed flexy copper pipe. I guess their thought was "you never know when a hot water heater is going to move on you so lets put in something a bit less ridged and more expensive then PVC"

I'm no plumber, but I had my brother in law who works at a hardware store, and who is quite handy when it comes to house repair help me with this. At first he thought the copper would be fine to use as it had been already being used by the old tank. I told him that I had never had copper work in any project I had done, but if he was willing to give it a shot I was willing to let him as we both didn't want to put anymore work into this then needed.

That copper pipe leaked right at the threads of the new tank. It took it 2 days to leak, and it was a very small leak, but it still did. After several attempts of my brother in-law to fix this he conceded and picked up the proper PVC.