Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Step 0: Address some small plumbing issues

One of the ongoing challenges of the house is the plumbing. Similar to other systems, (e.g. the electrical system and the decorating system) some corners had been cut over the past 85 years of rentals and repairs. Notably, before we moved in, the line between the house and the sewer was not working. This resulted in a rather unsavory situation under the porch and at another point in the crawlspace that has since been remedied.  This required digging up the front yard!

The digging was delayed by freezing weather, but fortunately was complete before Snowpocalypse (pictured here) came to Durham. 

Although that was the largest thing, we've had a few other plumbing issues come up.

1. It was clear after our home inspection that one of our bathrooms had enough water damage/rotting wood in the floor that filling the tub might result in a sort of cable-less elevator situation riding downward into the crawl space. We weren't sure whether the tub/toilet/sink in that bathroom had an ongoing leak, or whether it was old damage. We've subsequently had the toilet and sink cleared, and are deferring use of the tub until we can replace the subfloor and flooring and make sure that the walls are made of something other than mold.

2. The upstairs bathroom is just the sort of endearing space that I love and that normal height people cannot comfortably navigate. We've been somewhat uncertain as to whether water leaks from the fixtures here also, and so have limited usage in that bathroom.

Good luck peeing standing up, gentlemen over 5' tall...

3. The other downstairs bathroom, which we referred to as "the functional bathroom" prior to confirming it was safe to use the toilet and sink in the other downstairs bathroom, is also a work in progress. All of the fixtures seemed to work, which we considered a win, but there was only a tub and no shower. Eli, who likes to drink from the tub preferentially, did not mind, but it was not working well for Lynn and I. 

Although Lynn has done the lion's share of the house work, I did participate in the conversion of the tub to a shower! I learned more about plumber's putty and pipe joint sealant than I ever really wanted to know, and can now recognize "the plumbing guy" at Home Depot. Prior to completing this, I was drawing a "quick" bath each morning before work, which is not really a thing that people do... Now I've installed the shower and Lynn has hung the shower curtain, which was really the much more significant task. We removed a hideous cabinet from the wall and have learned a great deal about mounting things to plaster. 
 The faucet removed from the tub. You'll notice that part of the metal is spontaneously disintegrating because it's so old and corroded. That curved water spout piece was the closest we had to a functional "shower" for a few weeks...

Eli looks disparagingly at the disassembled faucet. 

Removing the cabinet revealed several interesting prior paint choices in the bathroom. You can also see where there was a different shape of window previously. 

The upside-down bathroom cabinet is a temporary stand-in for pantry shelves!

And the shower works!

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