Friday, March 24, 2017

Upstairs bathroom and cistern demolition

I am sorry for blasting with posts about the house.  We've done a lot that I wanted to document before I forgot everything and I wanted to get all the pictures organized.  This post brings us up to date so far.

DH went up to the house by himself last weekend with two demolition projects planned:  the upstairs bathroom and the backyard cistern.  We are waiting for the final bid for the plumbing but he wanted to get a head start on the demolition of the upstairs bathroom.  While the half bath downstairs provides the necessities, the upstairs bathroom has been completely unusable since the water was turned off.  We need a working bathroom, preferably one with a shower, as the downstairs half-bath will be removed to make way for the addition. 

You remember the sewer gas smell?  When we went up for Sprite's birthday, the smell was worse than ever and definitely stronger in the main floor of the house.  I suspect it was coming from a corner of the dining room where the drain pipe for the upstairs bath goes up the southwest corner.  I didn't find it stronger in either the basement or in the bathroom itself.  I don't know if the gas is coming from the bathroom or a crack in the cast iron drain pipe.

We've had one bid for the plumbing which would require removing the chimney that runs through the middle of the house and down through the kitchen.  The bathroom is in the south west corner of the house and I am concerned that this plan would require cutting through floor joists to reroute the drain to the middle of the house.  The option does make sense to me in that the drains and water lines would be more protected from the cold than the current layout.

We are still waiting on the second bid which would replace the drain and water lines but leave them where they are and protecting them more from the cold.  We also requested that water line coming into the house be moved from its current position in the southeast corner of the house to the SW corner (and out from its current position just under the circuit breaker box - dangerously against code) and burying it two feet deeper than it is now.  It is only 12 inches below the surface now -- it should be 36 inches underground.

In the meantime, DH and his brother-in-law have been gutting the bathroom.

Original bathroom

Nice sized corner cubby
They removed the sink and vanity first then turned their attention to the tub.  It turned out to be tin and very lightweight. BIL easily carried it downstairs alone.

It also turned out to be harboring a huge mouse nest.

That pile in the corner is the mouse nest.
Between the bats and the mice, we will be calling an exterminator.

But the best news was that there was perfect wood flooring under the tub matching the living room floor!  As I don't want wood floors in the bathroom, I plan to scavenge that flooring to fix the broken pieces in the living room.

They took a break from the bathroom to join FIL at the well.  Just behind the house is an old cistern which probably has not been used since the house was connected to city water.  The foundation people both thought that the well could be contributing to the water problems in the basement and we felt it would be best if that particular cistern were filled with sand.

Last summer, the cistern top made a nice plant stand.
My FIL brought his tractor over and they removed the top in preparation.

The cistern was originally built with the same type of brick as the foundation (and the chimney) and then lined with concrete.  The pipe to the left leads into the basement, but is no longer connected to anything in the house.

The sand was brought today and it took about half the load to fill it.  We will top it off with gravel and dirt and plant grass there.

We have a second well on the property should we ever need it.  It needs a new cover, but we were told that the pump does work.  We will keep it for watering our future chickens and any other live stock we might acquire.

After lunch, DH went back to plaster removal.  No more surprises other than some funny wall paper.  

He didn't get done and is planning another trip this weekend to work some more.   Once he has the walls done, he will carefully pry up the flooring.  We need to open up the floors to inspect the floor joists for water damage.  I feel like this is not the first time the bathroom has flooded and we need to know if there is more to be fixed.

We'd prefer not to gut the entire house of plaster and most of it can be fixed, we think.  But there are some areas which just need to be replaced and this room is one of them.

I am caught up now.  Hopefully my next post will be sewing related.

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