Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Vanity, Thy Name is *&$%@#!!

The other day I noticed the bathroom faucet was dripping, so I changed the washer, but it didn't help. I took a closer look at the valve, and it was pretty worn. So rather than just replace the valve, I decided it was time to replace the whole fixture. I talked to Kat about what to get, deciding on something to match the light fixtures and towel bars (brushed nickel) and picked up a new faucet at Home Depot.

I figured I'd work on it after working on the addition, after it was too dark to work outside. But this morning Kat and I woke up early, and rather than annoy my neighbors with some 7AM hammering and sawing, I decided to work on the new faucet. Well, as frequently happens, the project got bigger.

My first discovery was that the shut off valves under the sink didn't completely shut off the water. So I added those to the "to be replaced" list and turned off the water to the house. While I had the water off, I took the opportunity to drain the supply lines to the addition, and the DWV pipes as well. I don't know when I'll be working on the plumbing next, so there's no need for the water to sit there.

The new faucet came with a new tailpiece (the pipe immediately below the sink), so I disassembled the trap to start, because it makes getting to the other stuff easier. The trap had a fair amount of corrosion (not to mention some really unpleasant gunk), so it got added to the "to be replaced" list, too.

I then moved on to disconnecting the water supply lines, and quickly discovered why they wouldn't shut off completely -- the valves were full of corroded crud, courtesy of the old galvanized pipes. Back when I redid the shower, I replaced the water supply lines for that with copper, but didn't touch the ones for the sink or toilet. That day will come...the supply lines going into the wall are galvanized, and were full of more crud.

Then I went to remove the old faucet and tailpiece. The faucet wasn't too bad to remove, thanks to having a basin wrench from installing a new faucet in the kitchen some years back. The tailpiece shouldn't have been too bad, but I struggled and struggled with it, unable to get the two pieces of it separated. I eventually gave up, got my sawzall, and made short work of it. I then discovered why I'd struggled so much -- they'd soldered the pieces togther when they installed it. D'oh!

All of this was increasingly difficult, because the vanity in the bathroom is pretty small, and has an edge at the front of the cabinet that makes leaning into it awkward. So I set up some wood to support my back over that, and put a stadium cushion in the vanity for my head, and then it was at least possible to stick my head under. But oy! I've never had a problem with claustrophobia before, but I had to come out for a break several times, because I just got freaked. But I eventually got the old stuff out, and the new stuff in, which just left the trap.

After a couple of trips to the local hardware store to get a chrome trap, I decided I'd just replace the trap and other drain pipes with plastic. The new tailpiece is plastic, so why not? Plastic is a lot easier to get leak-free, and is more forgiving of pipes not quite aligned. Well, one why not is that the connection into the wall, instead of being a normal compression fitting for chrome pipes is a threaded 2" cast iron pipe. Huh. Finding anything to connect to that is going to be a challenge. I temporarily put the old trap back in, but with a tub to catch the inevitable leaks...and discovered that the hot water supply line is 99.99% plugged with corrosion.

I wanted to get back to work on the addition! So I cleaned up my plumbing tools, and I got out my compressor, the nail gun my brother-in-law loaned me, and was ready to roll. Or not. The nail gun has a different kind of connector than my compressor and air hose. Hmmph. So back into the basement went the compressor, and out came the ol' framing hammer.

I installed more of the subflooring today, getting almost all of it done, including the tricky parts in the bathroom that had to fit over various pipes. YAHDT was necessary for more adhesive, a new connector for the nail gun, and of course some bits and pieces of ABS piping for the bathroom sink. I found everything I needed for the bathroom, except of course the 2" threaded connector. 2" ABS isn't the same size as 2" cast iron, of course.

But despite getting side-tracked with the new faucet and dealing with the compressor, I got a fair amount done today. The addition really looks like part of a house now since it has a floor and plumbing stubs. Tomorrow I'll finish up the subfloor, and build the steps up to the bedroom level. That shouldn't be too bad since it's only 3 steps, so maybe tomorrow I'll start on walls. And it was better than yesterday afternoon, which was filled with a trip to Camron-Stanford House to finally finish updating the artifact database so they can update their insurance. Of course, now they want membership lists and other stuff...

4 comments:

Katarina said...

Hmm. All this talk of gunk and corrosion might inspire me to change the Brita filter soon. Though I'm sure the pipes that bring water into the kitchen are completely and absolutely altogether different, separate, and unrelated to the pipes that bring water to the bathroom faucet....

CaptKirk said...

Um...No. It all comes from one place through one likely very corroded main. Until Gene has a chance to replace the run from the street to the house (and all the other plumbing that is downstream of it), paying attention to the Brita is a very good idea.

Of course, it's minerals and stuff. Build strong bodies 12 ways, don't 'cha know.

Gene said...

The really scary gunk was in the drain. It was pretty obvious why the sink had been draining slowly of late. The water supply pipes only had corroded gunk, fully of minerally goodness. Mmmmm...

Katarina said...

Hey, we could bottle this amazing water and sell it! Who doesn't need minerally goodness??