Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bathroom reno - Day One

Well, it has finally begun. Two guys came yesterday, and gutted the big bathroom, right down to the joists and the subfloor. They even took the ceiling off, removing old insulation in the process, so now we have a clear view into the attic and the the underside of the roof.

I tried to take pictures, but it's very hard to photograph a bathroom - the space is just too small, and you can't back far enough to capture much of anything. Here's what I managed:
Not much to look at - the first picture is where the shower and tub used to be, looking up into the attic. The second one is just a piece of the top of the wall, with the attic above.
James was quite amazed when he came home from school and saw the transformation. He keeps expecting a "white tub" to magically appear, but I'm afraid he's going to have a couple weeks' wait. Thomas just looked with enormous round eyes.

Since the ceiling was gone, of course the cold air from the attic was able to flow down into the house, so we had to keep the door closed and locked after the guys had gone. By 6:00 PM, though, I was starting to notice that it was getting uncomfortably cold, so I turned up the furnace. After half an hour, the temperature had gone DOWN another degree. Close examination of a vent showed that our furnace had conked out - the fan was on, but it was only blowing cold air. Grrrrr.

I called Direct Energy just as a snow squall started outside, fully expecting that we'd all be huddling for warmth until the next day, but fortunately a technician was able to come out within an hour! They do treat heat failures as real emergencies out here in the winter, I have to acknowledge that. Now we've just got localized cold near the area of the bathroom, and the rest of the house is doing pretty well.

Today the pounding and wrenching continues - they are taking down part of the wall in Thomas's room, to make room for the larger shower that will be replacing the bathtub. We're also discovering just how weirdly this house was put together. We have only about 10" of insulation in the attic, and that after TWO applications! The walls are rather thin, too, and there are very unusual plumbing fixtures everywhere. We think this was "privately" built, maybe by someone who had a friend on the building inspection board! Still, it hangs together, and when we finish our improvements it will be much nicer.

Yin is very taken aback by the strangers in the house, and all the noise and vibrations going on. I put her in Emma's room to keep her safe, and she hurriedly folded herself up very small on the pillow, I guess to make herself a less obvious target for whatever violence was going on down the hall.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little tip on the breezy breeze. Anything you can do to make that hole in the celing smaller will go a long way to cutting your reliance on more heat. Even plastic sheeting, held in place with push-pins (do they call them thumbtacks in Canada?). You can take it down during the day when the workers are there, then tack it back in place in the evening.

Think of it as a hole in a boat with water coming in. Make the hole smaller and your pumps may be able to handle the load, yes? You don't have to get a good seal, and you don't have to reach all the way to the edges. Just block as much of the hole as you can to slow down that cold air coming into your living area.

By the way, on that shower pipe: Sorry, I can't recommend it. Copper and chrome? What ARE you thinking?! How 80s.

12:24 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I quite agree - it's like a wide-open window, considering that the attic has lots of ventilation. I think we have a tarp big enough to cover that room (it's only a bathroom, after all) and it can be roughly draped over the tops of the walls. I'll have to go up into the attic to do that, though.

I don't know much about plumbing - is copper and chrome a bad combination? You pegged the date correctly, though - Dean says the house was built in 1977, and some of it was probably not even up to the prevailing standards back then! Anyway, it's all going to be torn out. I wish I could upgrade all the pipes and vents in the house, but we have to work within our budget.

1:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, no, I was only jesting about the copper and chrome. It was a reference to appearance, style, decor. I understand the copper pipe will be covered again and will not be seen.

Oh well, if I've learned anything, when I have to explain my humor it isn't funny. Sorry.

No, nothing wrong, functionally, with your plumbing. The chromed outlet is probably brass or copper under the plating. Perfect. Exactly what a good plumbing set up needs to be.

But oh, please DO cover that copper pipe again!

1:42 pm  

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