Issue 1: Bathroom
I love my claw-foot tub. The primary reason is simply that the old iron holds the heat so that you can get a nice hot bath that stays that way for as long as I want to soak.
Mary can't get down into a tub. She requires a shower. A year ago, she bought a shower conversion kit (over $100) for a claw-foot tub, which I installed.
I was never very happy with it. The space enclosed by the shower curtain is tiny and the faucet required for diverting the water up to the shower is ugly and not functional for other things, like attaching a hose. So I always had in mind doing a 'real' shower enclosure eventually.
About six months after that, in August I believe, the faucet stopped switching the water to the shower head. I don't know why. I took it off and looked at it (no small feat, considering the location of the tub) and never could figure out what was wrong. I tried to find some place that could fix it, but never succeeded. I tried to replace it, but it only came with the entire kit. Having the first kit last for six months, I wasn't inclined to spend another $100.
Now, back when we were putting the house back together after the fire, we had this rather stupid idea that the tub would look grand jutting out at an angle from the corner of the room, with a built-in surround, tiled over in white. So the faucet end of the tub was into the corner. So, with great difficulty, I now built pipes up the corner, added a 'wall' about two feet wide and cheap faucets halfway up, rigged the shower curtain ring back up, and voila! a shower. It probably should have stayed that way until I died, since ... well, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Even though it was still intended to be temporary.
But about the second time I used it (which was a while, since I usually just use the tub), there I am all covered in soap and it just simply stops emitting water. I discussed this with others in the house and they said they'd had that problem also. After monkeying with it a bit, I concluded that something must have gotten jammed in the pipe and it was never going to work again.
I assumed that Mary was not able to get her showers, and that she was washing in the sink.
On January 18th, Mary was going to a neighboring city to visit a friend for the weekend. Since Monday would be a holiday, she wouldn't be home until late that day, and she would be gone from early morning on Friday. A four-day weekend. Perfect for moving the tub, throwing up a water wall at the new head of the tub, and installing a standard shower.
We still don't have bathing facilities. This will make six weeks now. And afterward, she tells me that she wasn't really having any problem with it!
I work at it daily. I have pared it down to 3 or 4 hours per day, since I kind of have other things to do also.
First, "they" had suspended the tub on the surround. They had even thrown away the legs, but since I am innately conservative, I had fished them out of the trash and put them back under the tub (not attached). Now the tub has to be moved so that I can complete the floor under it, which they hadn't done because it was suspended and surrounded.
We put the tub up on the surround.
So now I am building this floor, working in the two-and-a-half feet under this 'shelf' with the 1000 pound tub sitting on it.
And it all has to be replumbed. The plumbing that had been done to get it to where it was leaked, so I had to start over, bringing the hot water up from the cellar in new pipes. Then I had to move the drain pipe also, which, incredibly, was even harder. That's now all done.
The floor still isn't done.
See, since I'm doing all this, it ought to be done right. Right? I doubt I'll ever move that tub again. So I thought it would be nice, and not too expensive, to tile the floor. I rejected marble tiles as being too difficult and expensive, and bought ceramic. Then started learning about the requirements.
The floor should have been made of 3/4 inch plywood. I had made it out of 5/8. It will work if it is *very* well supported.
So take it all apart and add supports under it. Go buy cement board to cover over it for stability. Discover that the floor isn't really as level as I thought, one of the supporting 2x4's being a bit too high. Re-level the floor. Put the plywood back on. Discover (and I still can't figure how this happened) that it isn't level after all, by a long shot - it's an inch and a half higher by the wall than in the middle of the floor. Take it all back apart again.
That's where I am now. I still have to:
Put the plywood back on.
Re-make the step up to it.
Wire up the outlet I've added.
Cover the whole upper floor (about 40 sq.ft.) with cement board.
Tile that 40 sq.ft.
Add wood trim by the step (about $50 for the two pieces).
Settle the tub into place.
Hook up the drain.
Hook up the tub faucet. (At that point we can use the tub. Hooray!)
Build the water wall at the tub head.
Install shower wall finish (some kind of laminate to make the wall waterproof.)
Finish the plumbing up the wall.
Install shower fixtures.
Temporarily put up the claustrophobic shower curtain surround.
Build something around the tub to keep the shower water from going down beside it.
Hmm ... etc.
This is because I didn't want to spend another $100 on a new conversion kit.
Next post: The Hot Water Saga