(See also: Hinterholz 8.)

Well, there is progress in my bath, not stellar but not to be sneezed at either.

Not a lot happened until Thursday, too much work. Then I got rid of the old tub, the grotty vanity and cleaned the place up a bit. Lots of lifting again, dropping off crap at the garbage transfer place and so on. I also researched a bit regarding the drainage setup (things like tiles and mortar beds, having a four-way riser but no traps before it and so on).

 vanity removal tub removal detubbed detubbed

On Friday first I bought a few crucial bits of plumbing hardware, took care of the final planning of bathtub siting, frame dimensions and so on. Then I made a lot of mess.

 anglegrinder dust dusty but good screed chiselled back

This is not a bath on fire but the result of using a diamond blade in your angle grinder to cut some villaboard and the under-tile mortar bed: the new tub stands out further into the room. The last photo is the result of a fair bit of chiselling (by hand) - there was another 10 cm or so of mortar bed/screed on the left side of that line.

Another messy bit happening that day was the making of the support frame under the bathtub rim. The new acrylic tub has a reinforced botton (and thus needs no mortar bedding) but the drawn-down lip still needs to be supported all the way round. The messy part was using my router table (repeatedly) to nibble off sufficiently much of the frame timbers to make them conform to the irregular underside of the bathtub, as you can see on the first photo. (Simply using smaller timber would have been cheating and Not Strong Enough.)

 new tub support frame new tub support frame

The frame was then screwed together and glued to the bathtub with one and a half cartridges of general purpose silicone sealer (silicone: the Goo Of The Gods).

Saturday Rob came over for a brief visit, to lend me his plumbing gear and for tips. After that I progressed making a mess, but first a brief excursion.

 tub mockup

After the old tub was gone on Thursday of course I immediately mocked up the new one - renovations are depressing until you have finished destroying things and started (re)creating stuff again and I needed that bit of bright future to look for. It's quite obvious that the location of the mixer leaves something to be desired.

So it should go, move over across the stud and up a tad. So I got a new mixer with copper tails already in place and got Rob's torch and other stuff to silver-solder the copper pipes together with 90° elbows. Only my main water shutoff doesn't work properly anymore and didn't get things fully dry: a stupid trickle of water remained. And the site of the soldering is definitely lower than any other outlets in my place.

Need I spell out that constantly trickling water makes soldering copper pipes just about impossible? (I actually had read that somewhere before starting, and also that you can temporarily fudge up suck trickles by stuffing bread down the pipe: it'll dissolve quickly - only I had no bread at home. crackers won't do.) The copper got hot, steam from the open outlets burnt me, the solder melted on the copper, more steam and trickling everywhere - and not a tiny bit of solder entered the joint.

And then, to make things worse, the rubber of the main shutoff got even worse and the trickle became a stream. Goodbye solder, hello bucket, rag - and olives.

Rob had recommended that I use normal compression fittings with olives anyway, but I had wanted to solder the stuff. Serves me right.

Only being cagey I did in fact buy compression fittings as a backup - but stupidly got straight ones, not 90°. With the trickle now a stream I had no chance of making bodgy bends in the pipes to get the straight fittings in. So I quickly cobbled up two stop-off fittings, opened up the other taps everywhere and went for a hurried drive to the hardware shop (Bunnings). (Why open the taps? I figured that the stop-offs were ok but not great, and if the main shutoff had let go they should have held. But, BSTS, the open taps would have taken the pressure off(sic) of the dodgy stop-offs: I'd have vastly preferred roaring taps in the other rooms over an open pipe spewing across the bath.)

Twenty minutes later I had the fittings and ten minutes later that part of the plumbing was finished successfully. sigh of relief.

The rest of Saturday I spent on building the support frame for the bathtub. Now this frame is likely stronger than the whole house construction but then I don't worry about overspec'ing things.

 plumbing and new frame plumbing and new frame frame front being built frame front being built frame complete

The tub is set off from the wall, in a semi-island setting: there are flat surfaces outside of either end of the tub and on the wall side. The beam carrying the wall-side of the tub is a leftover piece of 100x100mm timber, screwed into the studs and supported by four 100x100 and 90xsomething stubs. The bottom of the tub will rest on some more 100x100s. The front beam is the usual 35x70mm, and the cross members I rebated into the beams (mostly, and screwed them in elsewhere). Not a single nail was harmed in the making of this frame. (I really dislike nails and used screws everywhere.)

Overloading this frame is, eh, unlikely. I like things that way. And of course I did have to retest the tub in its new frame.

 tub test in frame

Sunday I was a bit more relaxed (and also tired from the days before), so I ripped off more tiles, removed the mirror, and reestablished for myself just why I do this renovation exercise in the first place: that's the definitely rotten backside of the villaboard that holds the shower tiles. As soon as the tub is in and operational I will tackle the shower (and wall behind it).

 rotten shower wall

After that I finished up the tub frame: recycled villaboard for the island surfaces, plastered in the usual joint- and corner strips and added another 35mm to the wall-side beam (as the tub is offset from the wall just a tad too much for a good contact with the actual beam itself).

 board on frame board on frame board on frame

Some more villaboard shopping tomorrow, waterproofing of the island surfaces and then I can put the tub in for real. Yay, progress!

[ published on Mon 16.03.2009 00:26 | filed in interests/au | ]
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