Bathroom Upgrade

Well, it took ten days of part-time work but it’s done! I upgraded everything in the bathroom except the tub. The shower is work for later.

I pulled the stool, vanity and sink were next. After that, off came the medicine cabinet. I took a breath and the real work began, scraping two layers of wallpaper from the walls. I didn’t think the wall prep would ever end, it went on and on. Eventually, the walls were stripped and dried with imperfections filled then walls sanded.

People sometimes think painting is difficult. Painting is the fun last step compared to wall prep. I have always enjoyed painting. It makes everything seem so clean and bright.

Next, I attached the faucet to the new sink. The sink is a man-made cultured material so only silicone could be used on it, no regular plumber’s putty. I set the vanity and sink in place and leveled them with shims. Next, I attached the drain and hot/cold supply lines to their respective supply valves. More fun was just around the corner.

When I tested for leaks I found myself ‘chasing’ leaks. Seems I never tighten quite enough for fear of over tightening. So, I started tightening connections until the leaking stopped… all but two places. Prior to setting the vanity, I told myself I should replace the hot water supply valve. Both valves had been in place since the beginning of time and the hot water side would not shut off quite completely, almost but not quite. Almost doesn’t count in plumbing.

Using faulty logic that when the water supply line was attached and run to the faucet the valve would be wide open so why sweat the replacement. Faulty, faulty, faulty. Yep, I discovered that the valve not only leaked water inside, it also leaked through the valve stem to the outside. Wow, after the panic subsided, I tried using two wrenches to tighten the stem nut. It took a lot of torque, but the leak finally did stop. By this point, it seemed to have a mind of its own. I must have just got tired of leaking.

Another leak was at the drain flange. I guess I thought a little dab would do ya and under applied silicon, thus another leak. Well, this required disassembly of the drain from the P trap up to the sink basin. Yippee. Okay, remove old silicon and apply what I thought was a liberal amount, reattach and enjoy more leaking. Fun times. By this point, I was wondering if plumbing even at this basic level was really my cup of tea. Yank the drain a second time, hey, I was getting good at this, at least, and this time apply so much silicon I knew it had to be enough. And it was.

The next leak du jour was in the drain PVC connections. I finally stumbled on an article online that suggested using Teflon tape on these connections… voila! Success. Did I mention the difficulty getting to the plumbing under the sink due to the cabinet configuration? No? Well, less than half the cabinet was open behind a door. The other half was filled with two large drawers. When I cut out part of the back of the cabinet I was within one-quarter inch of the drawer supports. I was within this little bit of having to reroute the water supply lines within the wall. Had that happened, I would like to think that I would have replaced the faulty hot water shut off valve. I contorted into positions I did not think myself capable of attaining to reach those leaks, uh, I mean connections.

Setting the stool was a snap compared to the vanity and sink. I learned a few things about myself. Prayer works. I have some degree of mental fortitude. And, replace any and all questionable water shut off valves. Oh, yeah, use way more silicone than I think I possibly should use. Also, I learned a lot! One of these days I will tackle replacing the tub with a walk-in shower. Not much can go wrong with that, right?

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(When I tackle the shower, I will add before and after pics.)