Updating Bathtub Fixtures

triplevertubdrain

courtesy of This Old House – click on graphic to go to TOH page.

Overflow drain projI updated the bathroom but left the tub fixtures as they were, knowing I would need a plumber. I tried to do what I could. The old overflow cover’s lever no longer remained either up (to hold water in the tub) or down (to drain). This is a simple fix any homeowner can do, especially because the drain itself was in good shape. The overflow  part is sold individually for about $10 at most home repair stores and requires few tools. The old cover is unscrewed and when it is pulled forward, the old lever’s attachment pulls the linkage mechanism forward also. A clip on the new overflow connects the new lever to the existing linkage. The new overflow is then screwed into place.

The diverter I tried to replace myself but the old nipple had to be rethreaded. Given that, swapping out the spout is as simple as unscrewing the old one and screwing on the new one. An adapter is included with most diverters to suit most plumbing.

20141005_19431020150205_171326The faucet itself is a bit trickier. I knew to shut off the water and unscrew the old handles and the collars. From there it took a plumber, who removed the valves within and replaced the whole thing with a new assembly. It is very important here to either replace the unit with the same brand or be prepared to pay for replumbing to retrofit a new brand. I guessed, after living with my dad, that the old one was most likely a Price Pfister, and bought that brand for the plumber to replace.

The whole thing needs cleaned up a bit, but here are the before and after shots.

Replacing a tub spout – easy for anyone but me

20141005_19444420141005_195153When I was redoing the bathroom, I found an extra tub spout, with adapter. It sure looked better than the old one! So last night I decided to make the swap. It’s a threaded kind, so if I had a charmed or even normal life, it would be a matter of unscrewing the old, wrapping the threaded connection with teflon (or plumber’s) tape, and screwing the new one on, as shown. Unfortunately, neither the original threads or the adapter’s threads matched my connector so now I just have an empty spout sticking out of my wall until I can find the right spout at BigBox (if it exists) or get a plumber in to put a standard connector onto my copper plumbing. I tried to put the old spout back on, but it was so corroded that it literally fell apart when I took it off.20141005_194355

Rag Rolling

20140810_093358Now that hockey season has started (if you have kids that seriously engage in the sport, you know it requires about 13 months and billions of dollars a year), I will have some weekends to myself as Andy travels or hosts for hockey showcases, championships, and tournaments. Lucy plays while Gracie values the dad-time. Sometimes I go, but sometimes I need to sit out to allow their full bonding time. This weekend, Andy had two hockey dad house guests for a weekend kickoff to camp. I was hoping to get the walls and floor done with my copious spare time. Ha!

20140715_201112I have heard two schools of thought on stripping wallpaper: those who think it’s a nightmare and those who think it’s relatively easy. My opinion is somewhere in the middle but I will tell you, my mind has been changed about stripping all the wallpaper in the house. I heard about a secret weapon called a paper tiger but I couldn’t find one, so I just peeled, squirted, peeled, wiped, rinse, repeat. Because this job alternated tasks and I am doing this alone, the tool belt from SafetyGirl was really quite essential for keeping my screwdriver (scoring) and cleaning rag right near where I was working.

As I was stripping, one of the wall sconces fell off the wall and nailed me in the forehead. Luckily the wires remained nutted and the bulb didn’t break. “I know Daddy built you, light fixture, but Daddy ain’t here. I have no trouble tossing you in the garbage.” Remember my fear that I would find something amiss under the wall sconces? I kind of did – when the paper was removed last time, that second layer was left on and the new paper applied over it. It was almost impossible to remove.

I have to give credit where it is due: my dad was the king of repurposing and making things work. My mom is the queen of doing things right. I have to assume my dad was the one who left the traces of paper there.

The stripping took about a week of after-work work. Saturday I wiped down the walls, patched the dings, sanded, and primed. I used the half mask respirator when I sanded. If you’ve done drywall work before you know the value in this. So nice not to have to remove dust from my hair, nose, eyes, skin – you name it!

20140816_145517coverallI was going to rag-roll a seafoam glaze coating over white walls but the glaze ended up turning the very pale paint a warm beige. I am ok with that. I experimented and used a wet rag and the additive method, rolling the rag by hand, then scrubbing when almost dry, to smooth the pattern a bit to look more organic. That job was beyond a mess and I was glad to have Discount Safety Gear’s disposable coveralls. I wore one for the entire wall painting job, and I probably could have broken that down into two, the thing was so covered. The disposable rugged blue gloves were also a necessity because I would still have sticky glaze darkening my hands as I write.

An out-of-town friend was to stay with me Saturday night after spending time with her mother, which forced me to cdisp work gloveslean up mid-project. Gail ended up canceling due to a death in the family but I was very glad I was forced to clean for her arrival anyway. Andy invited me over to meet his friends, since I’d be available. Oh, and can I pick up a bottle of tonic water on my way? Mrs. Ford likes vodka and tonics and she may come out. Really?!? Picking up groceries for another woman? He said, “I’ll pay you back.” “Oh, no you don’t!” I said. “I prefer the right to bring this up for years to come, rather than have the dollar.” I arrived, tonic in hand, hyperventilating with all that still had to be done. Lucy, Grace, and what seemed like seven or eight other girls (I think in actuality there were only three) ran to the street fair down the road while the adults visited for a bit.

20140817_190925Sunday morning, I looked at the bathroom with fresh eyes before church. The walls looked unfinished, so I used the same metallic textured paint to paint a border at the ceilings, then I filled it in with chunks of texture smeared on with a small scraper. I think I got the stripe a bit too wide but I like it anyway. Again with the gloves and coveralls. Since I was using found and extra paint and glaze, cost for this phase was only $2.50 for the patch.

Painting the floor still makes me nervous, because while the vinyl tile is a step away from gone, everything I read said painting it can turn out great, or a disaster, and I can’t afford to replace it. I am also toying with the idea of what is called a Chattahoochee floor, or river stone/pebble floor. I am reading conflicting reviews, however, on whether this is best done by epoxy, or mortar and grout. I think if I did this, I would overlay the existing vinyl tile with black landscaping plastic and work that surface. With the weight and stones hugging the toilet it would stay in place, but also be much easier to remove if I don’t like it. I will ponder the floor for another week.

I ended up being glad I stopped for Mrs. Ford’s tonic, even though Mrs. Ford herself didn’t show up. Andy made me the best gin and tonic I have ever tasted. Quality gin, fresh lime juice, lovely garnish. I could happily live in that man’s kitchen.

~BS