Bathroom breaks. We own our home, we can’t just call the landlord. Make a plan to fix bathroom. Since we were beginning to feel better after almost two weeks with a bad cold it was time to get started.
First let me say, thankfully, we do actually own our home. I’m grateful every single day for that and all the good things I have in my life. When we bought the land and picked the house it was well before the 2008 housing crisis. Even back in 1996 we thought home prices were totally outrageous for what was being offered in square footage / lot size. That was quite telling for us as we had just moved here from Alaska, one of the highest cost of living areas in the country. We wanted a home we could both enjoy and afford.
Having said that, when you live in a manufactured home things aren’t always what they seem. Most stuff, like plumbing lines are not even ‘regular’, i.e. standard house. Now add what sometimes feels like having the hardest water on the planet (ok, maybe just the North American continent) and let the games begin.
The bathroom breaks, we make a plan to fix bathroom. As soon as we get over our colds a bit. So while we start to get better we research and learn all sorts of new stuff because we’ve never done this bath remodel thing before. So we make an updated plan to fix the bathroom. For those who may be joining us late, the original issue (broken toilet) is still sitting in the bathroom with its individual water supply line shut off.
Because the house is 20-years old and the water is so hard there was a question about the integrity of the shut-off valve for the commode. Better safe than sorry so we’ll change it. We decided to practice under the sink. It should be easier before going full-critical and shutting water off to the whole house to change the one on the toilet and finding out there was some other undiscovered issue. Since we were going to change the shut-off valves and the toilet needed to be changed we might as well update the vanity and sink.
See how easily things begin to spin off their axis?
No problem, I picked out a lovely little number I really liked, not too expensive and available locally. I’ll be honest, I’ve had my eye on it for a while now. Not…so…fast. Unlike most site built homes where the plumbing is finished for fixture installation out of a wall, our plumbing comes up through the floor about three-four inches away from the wall. This directly impacts both how wide and deep the vanity must be to accommodate all the plumbing lines. We measure and re-measure. We look at the vanity display at the home store while we pick up new valves and accessories. We might be able to make it work but it will be close and could require even more plumbing changes. So we also pick out a possible alternate for the new vanity from those on display, just in case.
After we get home we measure again. Looks like the alternate vanity will need to be used. I’m a bit disappointed but it is what it is. Next day we are headed back to the store for different plumbing fixtures, the first ones are not the right type after all for our situation. We will also look at vanities again and pick up the new fixtures.
So once again Honey Darling and I went to the home improvement store. This time we had some of the supply lines and samples in hand and talked to one of the plumbing guys about changing the water shut-off valves. We get what we hope is the correct hardware and joint compounds, etc., etc.
Just to be sure we look at the original vanity one more time. The size still just looks too close. The alternate vanity, a lovely bead board cottage number, isn’t in stock at our regular location and I don’t want to drive all over to pick one up. The replacement commode will still be white, chair height but the vanity is now it’s just a stock white contractor grade style. We are going to dress it up some and make it work because it covers the plumbing. On the plus side it cost a bit less and is still smaller than the existing vanity.
Now we are really ready to begin. We’ll pull the old vanity and sink out first to give us plenty of room to work. Our little house has more surprises in store. Turns out the vanity is just a false front/side panel built directly onto the wall, screwed into a couple of studs and into the floor. Once we started pulling it apart we were totally committed, only now we also have a wall and floor issue to deal with.
At this point I will confess I am just glad there is any combination of vanity cabinet / sink and new toilet in the garage because for two days we have been trying to get the new sink shut-off valves installed without any leaks. The water has been off and on, and off, on, off, on, off – you get the idea, on and off. Today we have a tentative success. The new cut-off valves for the sink are in. After four attempts yesterday with teflon tape and two attempts today with joint compound on each supply line, hot and cold, there are no ‘drips’ as yet. IF we are still dry in the morning we will pull the broken toilet and change the shut-off valve for that supply line. Then we will really be ready to get started.
The original plan, replace the commode and change the vanity after repainting the bathroom.
Now we will also be installing bead board with chair rail and baseboard all around the room and tub, fixing the floor and still have to repaint the upper wall after we pull the old shower rod hardware. Because after all that work I am putting in the new double shower curtain rod. At this point the only major thing in the bathroom that still isn’t changing is the tub enclosure.
We aren’t done yet.