I took a vacation day yesterday – about the only way I can get more than one day off in a row these days. I had one goal for yesterday and today: Get the bathroom to the point that it can be used. I spent almost thirteen hours yesterday and a little over ten hours today trying, but came up short.
I got the tub leveled, to the extent possible. I built the head wall, hung drywall around the edges, and glued the surround in place. Note to self: If there is one tub surround kit for $68, and the rest start at over $100, there is a reason. The surround is extremely thin, with no rounded or formed edges, or any other features other than the flimsy shelf-like things in the corners.
Second note to self: Make sure to buy enough stuff to finish the job, otherwise one will have to make an unscheduled trip to the local home improvement store to buy a second tube of glue midway through. Yes, being the dumbass that I am, it never occurred to me that I might need more than one tube of adhesive.
I also spent way more time in the crawl space under the house than I care to remember. I made three attempts to connect the new tub drain to the sewer line. The old connection was rigged, so it couldn’t be used. Then the part that I bought was the wrong size. Finally, I got the right part (I think), but I got sidetracked with other tasks, and never made it back under the house to connect it.
I replaced the elements in the hot water heater, which is also in the crawl space. The most it could manage was tepid before I started re-plumbing the house and turned off the water completely. The old elements were intact, and didn’t have much buildup on them. I didn’t see any evidence of excessive rust or other sediment in the tank. Hopefully new elements will fix the problem.
I am replacing the existing supply plumbing with CPVC pipe, mostly because even I can measure, cut and glue. Excuse me, not glue, solvent weld. Initially, all I planned to do this weekend was run a new line from the main shutoff valve, tie the hot water heater in, and run connections to the tub and toilet. I was going to add in tees to supply the kitchen sink, refrigerator, washer, and bathroom sink as those items came on line. For some reason that made a lot more sense then than now, I ended up running the supply lines for the washer, and the pipes are in the ceiling for the bathroom sink, ready to be dropped down. The next time I mess with it, I will route them into place and install the valves.
I did not, however, connect the water to the tub. I managed to cut the appropriate holes in the surround with only one slip of the knife that created a nasty gouge. At least it is under the faucet outlet, where nobody will ever see it. The lines are routed into the wall, but I haven’t decided exactly how I’m going to anchor the control valve. Once that is done, and the valves put in place for the bathroom sink and toilet, I will be ready to go back under the house, connect the tub drain, and turn the water on. I’m praying for no leaks. CPVC is usually idiot-proof, but there are (or will be) nearly a hundred connections, and I’m usually pretty talented as an idiot. I’m sure I fucked up at least a couple, which will need to be re-done.
Once the plumbing is done, the lines bled, and any necessary repairs completed, I will caulk the seams in the tub surround, install the curtain rod, and take my first shower. I don’t usually do a lot before/after work. I sweat profusely, and with no way to wash afterwards, I try to limit my activity out of respect for my co-workers who will have to smell me the next day. However, I’m close enough that there is a good chance that the “first shower” will take place within a week. Wish me luck.