'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

07 November 2013

MB Remodel Part VI. Holy Crap!

Today was rough in plumbing day. This morning I cut out the sub floor to expose the main drain line and give myself space to get at everything. But.

Let me take a moment here to speak about DIY projects. There may very well come a time when you find yourself in over your head, especially in an older home. Try to keep your ego out of it. Know your limitations and never exceed them. There comes a time when calling in the experts is the smart choice. For me that day was today.

The plumbing on this house dates to 1950. That's 63 years. When I uncovered things this is what I found.

The down pipe is the drain from the bathroom toilet that runs into the main drain line to the street. The rest of the house ties in here as well. If you look closely you'll see two things that concerned me. The first is the Lead and Oakum joint. That is no bueno. Heck, I've never actually seen one before. Neither had Car Guy and he's seen everything. The second is the broken pipe. That is even no buenoer. To the left of the down pipe is a second 3 inch cast iron pipe. It runs from the down pipe toward the upper left in the picture. It's tough to see but if you look closely you can see that the top of the pipe has basically rotted completely away turning a pipe into a trench. Yep, we have a major problem here. It also explains the odor that bathroom has had since forever.

I can handle basic plumbing but this was way beyond my skills. I called a friend of a friend who is a licensed plumbing contractor and his number one guy for help. They managed to worm their way under the floor and remove the bad pipe and Oakum joint.

And installed a new joint and new ABS pipe. This is a Y pipe that services both the old bathroom and the new. I prefer ABS over PVC mostly because ABS has better impact and wear resistance than PVC. 

Here's another look at that repaired joint and drain pipe. Those are the floor joists they somehow managed to worm through. Frankly I was prepared to rip up the bathroom floor for access. Thankfully I didn't have to.

The rest of the rough in went without a hitch. here's the main feeder drain line running through the footer and under the threshold.

From there it runs to the new bathroom.

Shower on the left, toilet in the center and vanity sink on the right. I discussed it with my experts and we decided that an air admittance valve vent under the sink was adequate since the rest of the plumbing is well vented. That's the top pipe over on the right, just above the sink drain pipe. I'll run a 90 degree elbow in there for the vent when I install the sink. I forgot to take a picture before I back filled but all the pipe is ABS. And don't forget to leave room under the shower drain for a P Trap. Man, that second bathroom is finally looking like becoming a reality.

Once that was all done it was time to button things up. I prepped the floor by building a frame so I have nailers on all sides and in the middle. It's attached to the floor joists and braced left, center and right. I laid two layers of 3/4 inch plywood over the frame and screwed and glued it into place. I was still a bit too low so a layer of 7/16 OSB went over the plywood bringing me back to floor height.

I kept the old flooring so I could at least have a somewhat normal looking floor while we finish the build. When done this will all be tiled. Still, if you didn't know I cut out a 3x6 foot hole in that floor you'd never see it. It's even, solid and squeak free. Lu is a happy woman.

If you're contemplating putting in a new bathroom in an existing structure where one has never been before this is the kind of stuff  you will have to deal with. It's a tough job but imminently doable. Just remember what I said about knowing your limitations and you'll be fine. If I can do it anyone can.

Tomorrow I'll mix and pour the concrete over the new plumbing. That will level the floor, provide the strength I need and get it all ready for framing. I should be able to start the framing by Saturday. Maybe even Friday evening. We're on a time table here and I can't afford to get behind. I have a few days to play with but something always goes wrong. Like today for example. Someday I am going to fix all the problems in this house.




Monkeywrangler said...

Wow...lead and oakum? That is really old-school! DH tells me there is some sort of antique telecom cable junction that involves wrapped lead that while still in use, no one left in telecom basically understands what it is or how it works, or how to repair it once you peel it open!

Six said...

That's incredible MW. It's amazing how much of the really old stuff is still out there. I had never seen Lead and Oakum joints before and I must admit I panicked a little. It's not just the replacement but the disposal. Those landfill folks are pretty nasty about this stuff. Luckily the contractors handled that end.