Old Stone House

Frozen Waste-land

January 24, 2011

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 8:53 am

Yesterday morning the bathtub stopped draining.

I was slightly perplexed as the tub had worked perfectly the night before.

I assumed that the children had inadvertently allowed a small bath toy to slip down the drain, or a build-up hair and soap had finally caused a blockage.  I purchased a bottle of industrial-strength drain cleaner and poured it down the drain and waited. Two hours later, I still had a tub filled with standing water.  I tried snaking the drain, but that only added to my confusion as I managed to get 10 feet of snake into the drain without any problem – I had hoped to encounter a blockage at the trap.

The rest of the drains are working perfectly.

Reviewing the photos posted here I realized that the bathtub is the only fixture in the house that uses the old cast pipe to drain into the sewer, the rest exits via a separate line that I assumed joined that pipe at a wye. I say assume because the cast pipe is burred in the wall – a result of previous owners embedding it in concrete when they underpinned the basement. I rooted about in the basement and found a few inches of pipe exposed behind some insulation. It is ice cold.

At this point I’m assuming that the waste pipe is frozen. As you recall, we have had pipes in this exact area freeze before, which I why we redid all of the plumbing. We never thought the waste pipe would freeze, so we left it.

I have read about a number of remedies for frozen waste pipes such as heating the pipe, pouring hot salt water or antifreeze down the drain, but I have little hope this will work as there is potentially six feet of four inch pipe frozen in an exterior concrete wall.

I know that I can open the wall and re-route the drain into the newer plumbing in the basement, but I would prefer to solve this problem rather than apply a band aid.

Stay tuned.

(P.S. This is an old photo. This wallpaper was removed a LONG time ago!)

Big Plans, Small Budget – The Master Bathroom Recap

September 15, 2006

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 6:33 pm

bathrm1.jpgTearing out the bulkheads in the front entrance was the great motivator to restore the bathroom, however the budget had never been smaller. One of the promises we had made ourselves when we bought this house was that we wouldn’t drown ourselves in enormous debt during the process of restoring. We had no intention of ‘flipping’ the house (fixing it up only to sell it) so we could wait as long as necessary to start the bathroom project project.

(more agony and joy…)

Installing the Tub – Part Two

August 10, 2006

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 11:37 am

tub21.jpgIf you review the photos in past posts, you may have noticed that there are no supply-lines or waste pipes roughed-in for the tub, which is because there are none. Having learned a very valuable lesson the last time I installed ceramic (it is quite tricky to install ceramic around ½ inch pipe), we chose to add the plumbing after the fact.

(more agony and joy…)

Installing the Tub – Part One

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 9:28 am

First let me note that when installing a cast iron tub, it is important to note that the tub is made of CAST IRON. As such it is heavy. Dissuade yourself from wearing flip-flops and smoking cigars before you lug the tub up the stairs and sideways through the bathroom door, as you may encounter some obstacles. We, and my dear friend Rudy, speak from experience.

Soon after the pipes froze, we started trolling ebay for a set of faucets for our future tub, and with due diligence were awarded with a nice telephone-style fixture set (new) for $45. Ignorantly, I presumed the greatest expense was over.

(more agony and joy…)

Second Choice Sink

August 9, 2006

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 7:25 pm

sink1.jpgThe bathroom sink is a far cry from the ideal. Upon review of our budget, we decided that we would install a ‘good enough for now’ sink in lieu of purchasing what we really would like. Our issue: As the sink sits just inside the doorway, it needs to be quite small, and the local DYI stores don’t carry many miniscule period sinks. Your choices are: enormous and Victorian (also known as tastelessly gaudy) or small and modern.

(more agony and joy…)

Prime, Paint, Paint!

August 8, 2006

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 5:12 pm

paint1b.jpgArmed with the standard compliment of paint tools, we start to paint! We purchased a gallon of basic latex primer and first gave everything a light coat, both the walls and the trim, being sure not to apply too much paint on the woodwork and leave unsightly streaks. While I am a big fan of latex paint, I find it needs extra care in application as it doesn’t smooth itself out as well as oil based paint – the result being streaky brushstrokes.

(more agony and joy…)


August 7, 2006

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 3:11 pm

trima.jpgIn between applying coats of paint to the clawfoot tub, we began installing the trim moulding. Not impressed with the standard MDF casings and baseboards, we decided to simply make our own custom mouldings. The baseboards, which are pine 1”x6”s with a simple beaded flute routed across the top were made in about 20 minutes as wall the chair-rail nosing. As for the rest of the trim, we purchased pine wainscoting in eight-foot lengths, and cut them into four foot sections, as well as several lengths of pine panel/shingle moulding and 1” quarter-round.

(more agony and joy…)

Refinishing The Clawfoot Tub

August 6, 2006

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 11:59 pm

tub3b.jpgThe one item we knew we wanted for the bathroom was one of the antique clawfoot tubs – the hallmark of a Victorian bathroom. Originally, we contemplated purchasing an acrylic or cast iron reproduction from an online clawfoot tubs supplies dealer, but the cost of the tub (let alone the shipping cost) was more then we were willing to spend. Because our bathroom is small, we were limited to installing an undersized tub, 54 inches in length. This proved to be our greatest challenge, as we had no problems finding local salvage dealers who were selling old clawfoot tubs, but none carried the smaller sizes.

(more agony and joy…)

Tile – Part Two

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 10:05 pm

In terms of construction, today was an easy day. We grouted.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I have only laid a ceramic floor once before – granted, it was 300 square feet – but technically, I’ve only done it once. That floor was in our kitchen and extended to our bathroom, and at the time we chose a white grout. The room was out of square, and dark grout lines would have emphasized the shape of the room, hence we chose a product that would help camouflage the room. Once we had finished, the final result was stunning – the floor looked like a cloud. We were very happy with the results.

(more agony and joy…)

Tile, Tile, On The Floor…

August 5, 2006

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 5:22 pm

tile4.jpgWe selected a plain white, slightly textured tile for the floor. We struggled a bit to find a tile that would look good, and we were torn between doing things that suited the era of the house, and suited the era of when the first bathroom would have been installed. Ideally a small octagonal tile would have been perfect – but the budget would not allow for it. We finally decided on a tile that was a bright/cool white so it looked quite clean once installed. As well, it was a good price.  If we weren’t going to install a floor that was magnificent, we were certainly going to install a floor that would blend-in, and you wouldn’t notice.
(more agony and joy…)