Sunday, July 30, 2006

The things that have been going wrong

We are having a bit of an infrastructure problem at home right now. The bathtub surround has given up the ghost. James pulled out the soap holder - along with several surrounding tiles and a section of the wall behind. I took one look and concluded that this was beyond my ability to fix - a few dabs of caulking were not going to do it. The bathtub was going to have to be replaced.

I decided to remove some tiles myself, just to see what was going on behind. They peeled off like stickers, and the drywall behind pulled apart like wet cardboard. Obviously, there's been extensive leaking for some time; not a surprise, as I'd realized 2 years ago that we were going to have to replace this bathtub. It's original to the house, so there's been no upgrade for at least 35 years, maybe 40. (Well, very little has been upgraded, let's face it.)

Anyway, half the wall on the long side pulled right off, and a couple rows of tiles at either end. Above that, they're still sticking firmly, and the drywall is sound, so that shows were the leakage was. We'll only know if there is damage to the joists underneath once the bathtub comes out, and I'll have to leave that to a professional. But taking the tiles off I can do, since it doesn't matter how much damage occurs to the drywall behind - it's all going to have to be replaced. It's always a bit fun taking something apart, though - it shows me how it was put together in the first place. I took an upholstery course a few years ago, and by far the most fun is stripping down the furniture. I enjoy it so much, that if we have to throw out a piece of furniture, I strip it down first, just to see what's inside.

That's assuming you NEED drywall behind one of those one-piece tubs with the surround that even covers the ceiling. I don't know - we'll have to wait until we consult someone. Maybe one of those things just fits in there against the joists.

The other thing is that the fridge is now making a scary sound whenever it starts up - sort of a grinding noise. I hope it's not the dreaded compressor - people always talk about having to replace that, and it's an expensive proposition.

Also, the kitchen sink is leaking underneath now. Oy. At least the air conditioning is still functioning - hope it lasts.

Altogether, it's been a stressful week, and we have the prospect of spending a lot of money soon. I guess it's just as well we didn't go ahead and get the new windows a couple months ago, even though we really need them.


Blogger Mark Windsor said...

Any low-pressure leak in the sink can be stopped up with silicone glue.

When you do the tub, splurge on the cement backer-board. Get the thin stuff (the thicker version is something like 5/8ths of an inch and weighs something like 75 tons per sheet). The thinner stuff has a fancy name, but I can't remember what it's called just now. It will never rot if it gets wet. Of course, you'd better pick a tile you like, cuz you will never change them (unless, of course, you know how to use explosives in a constructive way). The extra cost will be about $40 for the entire surround.

Can't help with the fridge. Sears seems to do good work on repairs down here.

4:56 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Thanks for the advice! I'm not going to bother with tile - I'm going to get one of those solid, one-piece tub surround units with NO SEAMS, so we never have to worry about this kind of leaking again. (Actually, they're not really one-piece, they just look like it when they're put together. They're 3 pieces: the tub, the wall surround, and the ceiling cap on top. They all lock together and look like one unit.) I'll definitely go for the good-quality board for behind, though.

12:53 pm  
Blogger Allen Lewis said...

Ahhhh! The joys of home ownership!

Good luck!

- a fellow sufferer of the "home repair blues"

3:28 am  

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