Saturday, December 30, 2017

Bathroom Update and Basement Work Continues

I had totally forgotten that my wife had a bathroom scheduled for a "Rebath" appointment. The upstairs bathrooms are one of the things we don't care for in the house, but who ever looks at dimensions of the bathrooms when they go house shopping? I can stand in "my" bathroom, put one hand on the wall to my left, and my other hand can touch the wall of the shower. The tub/toilet area in both upstairs bathrooms is only about 6' wide, and it gets a bit cramped in there trying to towel off. My has commandeered the hallway bathroom as "hers", as the sink/vanity area is much larger, and the vanity in that bathroom has drawers, where mine is a cabinet that the sink sits on top of, with a much smaller mirror.

Both upstairs bathrooms have a separate area with the sink and mirror, and a second area with the tub/shower and toilet in it. The sink/mirror vanity area is separated from the tub/toilet area by a door, and the hallway bathroom also has a door leading to the sink/mirror/vanity.

The master bedroom has a doorway leading to the vanity, and then a door to close off the tub/toilet area.

Both bathrooms have/had a multi-piece plastic tub/shower insert of 1980's design, and while they were still in very good, usable, "leak free" condition, the plastic they were molded from is yellowing, and the insert was wider than it needed to be, reducing the space between tub and toilet even further.

The plans for my bathroom include a new tub/shower, removing the wall between the tub area and vanity area, and relocating the door separating the two to the wall that separates the vanity area from the bedroom, and relocating the door to my wife's walk-in closet from the vanity area to the blank wall nearest my side of the bed. That job has an estimated cost (at this time) of $15k~$20k, but it's a major redo, involving plumbing, framing, drywall, tile, and probably a host of other things we haven't thought about.

In the meantime, here's what a $6k "Rebath" gets you. BTW...the guys that did the work were superb, again. Every single thing we've done since we bought the house has been attended to by superbly skilled, friendly, hard-working guys (no gals yet, but Chainsaw Mama will right that wrong when she comes to carve the tree trunk!), who show up on time, or early, do very good work, clean up when they're done, are done when they say they'll be done, and the quoted price is honored even though they might hit a snag which requires more materials or labor. The "Rebath" guys banged a wall moving some things upstairs, but they patched the wall, retextured it, and repainted the spot.

And I can't tell where they fixed the ding in the wall........

Before, from my wife's cellphone:

Next, down to the studs:

The installation guys commented that tub/shower insert was "Home Owner Grade", saying it came from Home Depot, or whoever turned in to Home Depot.

They said it was a first-class installation, and showed NO signs of leakage on the supply or drain connections, and there was NO sign of mold/mildew/brown25 or other biological activity. They sprayed some stuff anyway, "Just-In-Case", and then hung the new drywall.

After which they installed the new tub.

I was out running errands and fixing other stuff (more on that later...), but I saw them bring in the precut sections of acrylic "tile" so it could sit overnite and stabilize, and the next morning they'd do any finish cuts, and glue it up, install some extras, and be done.

I was out and about during that time, but here's the finished result.

I thought I took some pix of the new fixtures and stuff, but guess not. The first time I pulled open the shower curtain (cue 'Psycho' violins...) it struck me as....uh....."Bold"? But the more I see it, the more I get used to it. It's kind of a marble-like look, from the top of the new, bigger tub to the ceiling, and the cut-to-size panels are held on with 3M structural adhesive and sealed at the seams with silicone calk.

And yup...we paid extra for the grab bars. Might need them some day.......

And that pesky 96" baseboard heater standing in the way of construction? Meet his new 72" replacement.

Fits much nicer in the footprint of the workbench I want, and puts out as many BTU's as the old one that was in there.

I had been hoping the power feed was on the right hand side of the heater, as that's where the main wire chase that runs under the house goes, but nope. It was fed from the left hand side, as you can see by the wire coming through the paneling.

And of course, there's ZERO detectable slack in that cable. So, I'll get a surface mount box, some cable bushings and properly rated cordage, and a good terminal strip to tie it together. One cable clamp type bushing in the heater, connect the ground, connect the feed to the element, and test it. The AC line voltage measured 238.5 Volts, and the heater draws 6.3 Amps at the voltage. The house has "240V, 150A Service", which I think is a bit "light". I haven't investigated the cost to upgrade the disconnect, wiring, new panel and additional breakers so it would be 240V, 200A Service, with a couple of extra breaker slots in the panel for a 240V outlet in the radio room.

And today I installed the last of the damn curtain rods, and crawled around on the kitchen floor repairing and adjusting those damn "EuroTRASH" cabinet hinges. I had an Epiphany about adjusting them the other day, and it proved itself when I walked up to one cold, sized it up, asked my wife what was wrong with it, and made the adjustments with her watching, and that set of cabinet doors closed perfectly. So now I guess I grok EuroStyle hinges. I find it to be somewhat similar to the euphoria I felt when my Rochester Quadrajet experiments proved themselves on the street, strip, and track.

I need to make still another Home Depot. Some of the people there know me by sight and say hi.....another thing about living here that my wife is finally getting used to.

Tomorrow I'll post some general gripes, bitches, and moans about the workmanship of the previous home owners, along with the pix to back it up. I'm glad my wife was helping with the hinge project tonight. She got to watch first hand one of these spring-loaded hinges when it decided to grenade, and the All-Hands-On-Deck scramble to find the missing pieces. It prompted a good discussion between us over the fact that this stuff happens Every Single Time I touch something we know the previous owners had their hands on. Her bathroom ceiling vent fan is a good example. It's half a new box BASHED TOGETHER with the old box. It's not square in the hole, and not level, either. It LOOKS bashed together.

I'll go into all that tomorrow.........


  1. Replies
    1. Yep! With the outside temps dropping to near zero, the garage temp drops to under 40*, and it gets too uncomfortable to do anything in there. I'm very seriously considering shortening the garage workbench by a couple of feet so I can squeeze one of my two rollers over there, and use the 30" of resulting empty space along the South garage wall for a small pellet stove. I might only run it 10 or 15 days per year, but if it will get the garage up to 50*~55* I'm thinking it might be worth it.

  2. The (rag heads) people who bought my last house lucked into a place that was done right and maintained meticulously. As you state, not all people do that and when you have to fix their F-Ups, it's a genuine pain.

    1. And the people that bought our little place in Long Beach got the same deal.

      I still marvel that our little place went for over $500k.....

  3. The 150A service is normal for an older home with baseboard heat versus a force-hot-air system. Wouldn't hurt to upgrade to 200A if/when you can afford it, just the same. New bath looks nice, btw.

    1. The Home Inspection guy mentioned 150 Amp service was standard for this area, but that he thought it was a bit light, and I agreed with him.

      I have a slight tendency to over design stuff, and if we're going to spend the money to upgrade the service, I'd just as soon spend the money and go straight to 200 Amps. I doubt if the cost between 175 Amps and 200 Amps is very much. I'm going to be paying mostly for labor; the parts cost is essentially the same....

      My parents house was advertised as being "100 Plus", which meant it was 100 Amp service, with 220 available. The sad thing here is that every available slot in the panel has a breaker stuffed into it. *IF* I really want to get 240 Volts in the shack I'll either have to have a sub-panel installed, or replace the existing panel. I'll have to talk to our "General Contractor's Electrical Guy" and have him come by and take a look.

  4. I spent a few days changing out things in my parents' Florida condo. It's a 40+ yo unit. EVERY wall outlet was worn out. I replaced 14 of them. Some were so bad, plugs would literally fall out of the socket.

    NO GFCI outlets at all. So the baths, kitchen, and balcony all got GFCIs, with the balcony getting an "in use" cover too.

    The kicker was the bath exhaust fan that was, like yours, frankenstein'ed together. No reason for it either as the replacement fan motor and blades were available at the local Home Depot. Of course they'd gone too far for me to simply do it right. I ended up putting in wood backing, remounting their much smaller back box and fan, with the correct duct reducer, clamps, etc, and jury rigging a new grill. The old grill wouldn't fit on the new box, and the new grills wouldn't cover the hole. I ended up using aluminum flashing pieces, metal duct tape, and a whole lot of patience to connect the box to the ceiling plane, and install a heating return grill to cover the hole. What a mess that could have been avoided for $50 and the correct part.

    I really don't understand that sort of cheapness...


    1. I agree, Nick, it makes no sense. "Penny Wise and Dollar Foolish" as my Dad used to say.

      The basement bathroom fan/light I "remanufactured" must have been way beyond the previous owner's ability. The one in the wife's bathroom was at least the correct size, but what a prime example of "It's the right size. Make it fit!".

  5. Ah yes, the 'joys' of new home ownership... Sigh...

    1. Yup. It's like this with ANY new domicile you set up, new, used, rented, etc, etc.

      The first six months after I moved in with the wife-to-be was spent doing things like this to her place, and she prided herself on keeping a well-maintained house.

      This place has been like stepping into The Twilight Zone for a while. I shudder to think of what a few of the places we looked at needed that we didn't know about....


Keep it civil, please....

A Bit Of Rearranging In The Electronics Shop

 Since I've been cranking away on projects, I decided to rearrange things on the bench a bit to make it easier to use my test equipment....