Downstairs Bathroom Saga

It was when the walls began to melt that I had a sinking feeling. Clear eyed I’d go back each morning. Is this really happening?

Homasote and pin hole pipe leaks are incompatible bedfellows. Homasote is such a lowly thing as it is and pin hole leaks are insidious. Depicted below are the first stages of tear down, showing no less than four layers of wallpaper, said homasote, and that which is underneath. The homasote had acted as a sponge, carrying the moisture several feet from the corner and fostering a vigorous growth of black mold.


That corner contained a wide drain pipe, hot and cold feed going up, an several wire conduits.

Witness that wet green. And yes, the ceiling too. After finding the leak(s) my friendly neighborhood plumber replaced the failed copper with pex.

No less than seven rodent skeletons (it’s a very old house) were found in removing the old sheathing. One perhaps was a now extinct dire rodent.

I had help with the new walls and ceiling, a mirror cabinet and nice cherry casing for the pipe run. I was prepared to celebrate. I even trimmed the window, the door, and the baseboards in cherry all by myself.

Not so fast, Rabbit. In the course of temporarily moving the toilet and sink to allow the work to be done it was discovered that both of these had slow leaks, leaks that had to some extent rotted the floor boards adjacent. Without fear of wind or vertigo I undertook to replace the floor using the ample stocks of cherry wood in the barn.

Of course removing the floor meant once again taking out the toilet and sink. Showing subfloor after removal.

Cherry for the floor milled accordingly.

Cut to fit and again prepared to celebrate – but

the old subfloor, not rotted but tired, very tired. Screwing through the cherry to hold the boards down, the screws would not bite but rather spun, endlessly if so twirled. Vexation in heaps. Decided to replace subfloor as well, with two fit cut sheets of plywood, 1/2 + 3/8 thick to emulate the thickness of what was being replaced.

But observe, on the left of the toilet drain where the old subfloor had to be cut, that if a new floor were placed there, there’d be no support. Maybe a new floor joist in the wanting spot? At this point it was largely a journey of amazement anyway.

just to the right of the blue pex above note the notch I carved to support said new joist.

said new joist, of lvl.

and sparing you the minor challenges, this time arriving at success. Here it is fully tarted out, with a new sink no less.

Learnings? Not to underestimate, of course. Underestimation is the hallmark of the optimist. I have often too bright a regard for what is possible and too little a realistic sense of what it will take to actualize.

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