The Decimated Bathroom

In order to bring my existing bathroom ‘up to code,’ the plumber had to tear apart my bathroom and install drain traps on the sink, toilet, and tub.

Wall where pedestal sink and toilet were.
The exposed wall shows no insulation on the exterior wall. Original woodchip insulation must have settled.

While I appreciated his sentiment on the tub, the plumber replaced a worn/cracked polished brass drain outlet with a shiny polished chrome one. I’m happy to have the new drain outlet because the old one did not seal, so baths were had by plugging the hole with washcloths. I had tried removing the old one several times, but it was beyond my skill and strength.
Anyway, the plumber also replaced the tub overflow, which had no issues as far as I was aware. So now I have polished brass tap and shower hanger, and chrome drain and overflow. Who on earth would think that’s acceptable?

The next day when I got home from work, the wall was re-drywalled and the toilet installed. Presumably sink will be done today.

The floor is my own disaster. When I first saw the sink and toilet out, I thought it would be very easy to pull up the 1980s green tile and get it down to the fir, which I would later restore.

Worse for wear 1980s green tile.

I did that because if they were re-installing toilet and sink I wanted it to be at the floor level that it is meant to be at. But, it was only after I started pulling out the tiles that I noticed that part of the original fir floor had been removed a long time ago and replaced with a sheet of plywood. Then, a second sheet of plywood somewhere along the line, maybe when the green tile went down.

Plywood, sitting on joist.
Tile, sitting on nothing.

So, now I just have a big mess and I’ll have to pull out everything, lay down a new plywood, and then tile. At least that gives me a chance to do in-floor heat for this bathroom as well and bring it into the 21st Century.

Threshold to bathroom – looked easy enough to remove the tile.
Ugly mess.

Bringing the Existing Plumbing “Up to Code”

I’ve heard it said many times that whenever work is done on an old house, whatever is touched by renovation has to be ‘brought up to code’. Of course that code changes yearly and is designed to keep manufacturers and industry folks busy and rich, and I’ve never questioned whether it’s true, because the Canada Building Code and its Provincial subsets are not public documents and must be purchased at great expense (every year). So, I have no idea whether it’s true. But on the basis that it is, the plumber noted that my existing bathroom plumbing, which was upgraded in 1999, did not have ‘p’ traps. Or ‘y’ traps. One of the alphabet traps.
The result is that my only bathroom has been torn apart. As has my dining room ceiling. And my living room ceiling. And living room wall. That’s additional work and cost I wasn’t anticipating, and mental stress as we struggle to manage around the living situation. The only non-disaster/untouched room in my house is my bedroom. And it’s a disaster anyway, because it is crammed full of things from every other room in the house.
I wouldn’t ordinarily gripe about this situation, especially since as far as I know this is the only unexpected thing to happen and the only unexpected cost, but I’ve been living in shambles and half-done work since July 2016 – 18 months at this moment. I’ve moved the same things around in my house, from space to space and room to room, trying to make room to live in for 18 months. I am DONE. Actually, I was DONE in December. And that’s when my friend Craig stepped in to take responsibility.

Anyway. I’m sure you’re not here to read about how angry I am. So, photos!

Here’s my living room ceiling after the plumber caused a freezing pipe at Christmas – the ceiling stain is from sewage.

Holes in the ceiling, cut to see whether my existing plumbing meets money-making code.

What was noticed by the builder at this point was that the previous plumbing company (Go Gregs!) cut through the joists to install pipes. So, my cast iron tub was not properly supported. Scary. The builder fixed that.

2x4s supporting joists until they can be sistered.

New plumbing in living room wall. What was interesting to see from this cut, was that plumbing was always installed in the houes – that is, there are no plaster keys in this area and it was always walled at an angle across the corner. Cool.

Long view of ceiling and wall cut outs in living room.
View of bottom of bathroom floor.

This shows the original fir floor in the bathroom (from below), but it also shows that the fir was cut away and replaced with plywood. Two layers of plywood now. So, in restoring that bathroom I will have to re-tile it.

Next post to display lovely photos of inside the destructed bathroom. Stay tuned.

Bathroom Floor

Tiling of the bathroom floor is done. It is marble hexagon tile, with in-floor heat. It looks very nice.

The bathroom is 6×10.

Clawfoot tub along back of wall, under window. Toilet, vanity, and sink along the left wall. Wiring on right wall is for in-floor heat and convection wall heater. There is no forced air heat in the bathroom.

Beautiful, shiny new marble tiles.

In-floor heat is installed. That is real luxury and will be much appreciated.

The required toes in flooring photo.


The plumbing can’t be done until the mudding and taping is done. Then, I’m planning for beadboard or panelling. And then the tub, sink, and toilet can be installed. Since the plumber tore apart my only existing bathroom on Tuesday and as of Thursday it is still torn apart (see the next post), I’m feeling the need to get moving on getting at least one of these bathrooms done. I find it very difficult to make decisions on fixtures. That’s what slows me down.

Basement is “done”

My contract with this Builder was to create a 7 foot basement. He gave me 6 ½ feet instead. One of his many delightful surprises.

With flooring, that will make it pretty much my son’s height and into an unusable family space. However, it is square footage we never had before and hopefully we can get something good out of it, other than storage. Maybe a ping pong or fussball table?

View from one end to the other (south to north).
Looking into space from the old basement.
View of the pass through to the old basement.
This is what my old basement looks like, crammed full of stuff.

The old basement will always be short and mostly useless, other than laundry and storage. I had hoped for more from the new basement. We’ll see what I can eventually make it into.

At least now the formerly bowing basement wall is no longer a danger to the house. In fact, the Builder tells me I could (theoretically) take down the entire wall between the two basements, because the engineered beam that the addition is built onto is also supporting the original house. I’m not going to test that theory without consulting an engineer.

Update on the Main Floor

The main floor is insulated, wired, plumbed, and drywalled. There is an open area for a family room, with bay windows:

Where pass-through to front door area will be.

The wall area by the windows that is not drywalled is  where an opening to the old house is going to go. It will be a pass through directly to the front door area. I’d call it a foyer, but it’s pretty tiny and cramped.

Looking from the living room area to the kitchen, where there is a new wide pass-through.  Lovely.

To the right of the pass-through seen above is new powder room. It’s small, but just what a main floor needs. Just room for a toilet and a sink. Had to convince the plumber that the sink had room to fit in front of the pocket door entry, and the toilet could go by the window.

Awaiting flooring and fixtures.

Closet space by back door – one for coats and boots, the only one in the house, and one smaller one for tools. These are directly across from the powder room, and right beside the back door.

Tool closet and coat closet.

And, finally, the back door.

Back door (temporary builder’s grade door).