Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Laundry Room Half Bath Project – or how a Plumbing Project Touched Every Room in the Retro Ranch (and almost every exterior wall too!)

Episode V: The Plumbing Strikes Back!

When last we spoke dear readers, the laundry room had been gutted (except for the old water heater) and the initial framing had been completed. It was time for the major part of the job to begin – the plumbing. Beth and I came to realize at about this time that even though we referred to this as the laundry room / half bath project, it was really a plumbing project that happened to include a laundry room remodel. The plumbers arrived and the first thing to get moved was the water heater from its corner in the laundry room to its eventual replacement’s home in the garage next to the furnace. So we would have hot water during the project, temporary lines were run through the wall of the laundry room into the garage. The floor was then cut out where the water heater had been, becoming the access to the crawlspace for all of the plumbing work. 

New supply lines were run to the bathrooms that were renovated in the summer of 2017. New lines were also run to both, nonfunctioning hose bibs on the south end of the house along with the wet bar in our fabulous living room. This is when and where the first “hiccups” occurred. Properly replacing the nonfunctioning hose bibs on the south side of the house meant removing a section of drywall (approx. 2’ x 2’) in both the guest and master bedrooms. It also meant cutting a similar size hole in the hall for the wet bar upgrades. 

The decision was made – if we are going to do this we are going to do it right. More drywall repair, sanding and painting here we come! We located a hose bib on the north side of the house near the laundry room. This centrally located spigot allowed us to remove the abandoned bib in the north east corner of the garage, the stand-up hose bib that had replaced it and both the hot and cold spigots on the patio (our 2017 shower facility.) This work effectively took care of all of the exterior plumbing issues in one fell swoop! 

Inside, new lines were run to the kitchen sink and dishwasher as well as the line for an icemaker (in our refrigerator of the future). The faucet in our kitchen sink could be described as quirky (which is a polite way of saying annoying). The single lever faucet’s hot / cold function was not centered and the spray attachment worked with varying pressure levels of its own, random discretion. There were times I felt it was possessed as its change in pressure meant you got an unexpected shower at the kitchen sink. Neither Beth nor I are sorry that its new home is a landfill. Sometimes it’s the little things, daily touch points that, while you get accustomed to them, are a perpetual source of aggravation. 

Lastly, and almost most importantly, the relocated lines for the new / stacked washer and dryer, its drain, and the lines for the toilet and sink in the half bath along with the lines for the wash tub in the garage were roughed in. Phew! By the way, this meant additional sections of drywall were cut out in the laundry room area. (Ted, the drywall guy, would have his work cut out for him.) Oregon Plumbing and Pump sent out a crew to remove the old galvanized pipes. The sounds of a sawzall in the crawlspace reverberated through the house for hours that Friday. This would be all for the plumbers until it was time to install the new water heater and do the finish plumbing work in the coming weeks. A City of Portland plumbing inspection was also required. 

When I mentioned that the old galvanized pipes were rusted and clogged almost to the point of not allowing water through them I don’t feel I was exaggerating. The following photos show one of the pipes and an aerator from one of the new (2017) bathroom faucets. And to think we washed our clothes, brushed our teeth, showered and drank that water. Yum! (Note I have since replaced the aerators but waited until the new water heater was installed.) 

Coming soon, Episode 6 – The Revenge of Electrical / HVAC and Drywall Subs!