I have been pretty lame about writing much lately. It seems like life has taken over and left us without a life. We have soccer two nights and one day a week, we have taekwondo two nights a week and we sometimes have to go buy groceries now and then. I know our situation is not unique, but gee whiz, life can be draining. I hope to have some news in the coming weeks about what we plan to do to remedy that, but that’s another story.
Anyhow, in the time I have on the weekends, I have been working on our house. It’s mostly slow more so than steady, but I have to ponder my progress in between stopping points. Emily wishes I pondered a little less I think, but I always have to work up the nerve to tear into the next portion of a project. Once I start, I am usually fine…it’s just that starting part that’s tough.
Anyhow, I have been working on the basement bathroom for…uh…a year or more? Yeah, I know. Well, it’s because the shower had me scared. Our basement shower has water pressure like a fire hose so that makes it potentially awesome. The problem is that whoever installed it did so with absolutely no vapor barrier and with a drain profile that makes the floor so steep that it is hard to stand in. It was really really ugly and poorly done too. I decided to redo the whole mess and let it watery awesomeness be available for our usage once again! Yeah, sounds good doesn’t it? As I said above, I had to work up the nerve to do something about it. Once I crack the first tile, all was well, but getting to that took a great deal of pondering.
I started banging on the floor with a sledge hammer and a chisel. I needed to get access to the drain underneath so I could remedy that awful slope in the floor. My house has a mixture of clay tile and cast iron drain pipes. I originally thought that the shower drain was cast iron. It had a cast iron top piece. As I worked my way through the concrete, I discovered that the cast iron pipe was a decoy…it hung over a larger clay tile drain depending on gravity and good luck to let the water fall through the cast iron and into the clay…and it basically worked. I was using an electric hammer to do a lot of the work (after an unfortunate finger/chisel/sledge hammer incident). I worked without a care until I discovered the clay…holy cow I did not want to break that or replace it. It was in great shape and under a lot more concrete so I decided to leave well enough alone.
Eventually I got it opened and in tact. The clay tile is a trap so water was laying in the pipe. I was able to feel through the trap and found that it was clear (yes, it is big enough for me to run my arm through it!). The local plumbing supply place hooked me up with some pvc to join to the clay since my original plan to use a boot to cast iron was foiled.
I got the new drain in place and started the process of layering concrete and metal mesh and rubber liner on the floor to make a proper shower floor. The original floor had a slope of 3 inches. By code, the floor was supposed to have a slope of 3/4 of an inch.
My shower is not yet finished, but at least I now have a vapor-barrier-enhanced-properly-sloped-much-nicer-looking-shower-in-progress!