Please pardon out mess …

I vowed when I started this blog that it would not be one of those “here’s what’s in my fridge” blogs, where the writer posts photos of the inside of their refrigerator, and tells you in great detail what they are going to do for the rest of the day (laundry? really? do I care?) And writing about my bathroom renovation project is skirting dangerously close to the edge on this promise. But if you’ll indulge me a little bit of a vent, I can once again focus on the more worldly topics of this blog. If you don’t have any interest in home renovation, perhaps you’d like to skip this post and come back later.

So. Once upon a time there was a slightly leaky supply line to the toilet tank in the upstairs bathroom. A simple fix with a $5 part. But as I was on my hands and knees with my head behind the toilet (and yes, that was a new experience for me — all previous experience involving being on my knees and a toilet has been in front of a toilet), I noticed the linoleum seemed to be very damp underneath. Very damp indeed. Crappy linoleum it was, so Unnamed Partner and I decided to pull it up and see how far the dampness went. It went very far.

You saw the picture last week, so you know how much fun that was.

We decided to go ahead and take up all the layers of linoleum and tile the floor. We realized that some of that dampness may have in fact been coming from … wait for it … the toilet seal. Yes. “Eeew!” “Yuck!” “Oh, sweet J!” So “we” (with big brother’s invaluable help) put in a new toilet last week.

To take up all the linoleum, we also had to remove the sink and vanity, which was o.k., because it was very old and beatup and was actually much too big for that space. It also turns out that the shutoff valves underneath the sink were leaking ever so slightly.

I have kind of a love/hate relationship with water at the moment.

These shutoff valves should have been in the Smithsonian. Or else in an industrial supply catalog. They were a little bit of overkill from another era, and they were impossible to remove. We realized this would be a new skill for us to learn to cut and “sweat” the pipes to put in better shutoff vales, or call in someone (and pay for it!) But wait! There’s more! We had successfully made it to the point of putting down the backerboard in preparation for the tile.

That’s when I heard the water dripping from the kitchen ceiling.

Ripping up the subfloor, we found that the copper supply to the bathtub was lying in a notch on top of the floor joist, directly below the subfloor. Miraculously we had not put a screw into it — but someone else had years ago, and as we worked on the subfloor and backerboard, we jiggled the old screw loose, causing a waterfall onto the kitchen ceiling below.

Time for Len the Plumber.

As for actual water damage, there was very little because we caught it in time. We can basically let the ceiling dry out a little more and paint should cover the spot. The pipe is fixed, and we have new shutoff valves. We can now put down the rest of the backerboard, and then begin tiling. And then we can paint the walls, and then put up the wainscoting. And then we can install the new sink and vanity.

And by the way, we’re going on vacation for a week on Thursday. Thanks for listening.



  1. I feel your pain. Been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt: our worst plumbing experience began as a simple effort to unclog a second floor bathroom sink that eventually led to a lath-and-plaster kitchen ceiling being ripped out. In home repair it’s a given — one thing always, always leads to another.

    Enjoy the vacation. You’ve earned it.

  2. Morgan, thanks. And no, there was neither corpse nor cash beneath the floor!

    Nan, someone had already replaced the original plaster kitchen ceiling with drywall. Too bad they never tried to find out what actually caused the water damage …

  3. Sending good thoughts. Water and I had a rocky relationship in my last house – so I totally get that.

  4. You are in good company with water/pipes/’ISSUES’….

    Given the comments today, your water ‘ISSUES’, and what happened to us – I think we could make a book out of the horror tales…
    Then we could each pay for the rooms of our dreams….

    Meanwhile, what books are you taking on vacation? (I DO hope you are planning to rest on vacation!)

  5. Vacation is going to be a good thing. We’ve had those little projects that turn into major overhauls. Not fun.

  6. FranIAm, thanks for the good thoughts! I think it wouldn’t be so stressful if we weren’t also trying to get ready to leave town, relying on a young relative to house/pet sit while we’re away, and oh — did I mention that this week, I’m finishing an online course that I’m taking?

    Cootamundra W., I like the book idea — and the “room of our dreams”! Maybe I’ll work on that when we’re in Vermont!

  7. you never know exactuly what you will get into when you start a renovation, but you can be sure it will be much more than you are expecting.

    enjoy your vacation and forget about the water problems. they will be there when you gey home!

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