I’ve always laughed at how wimpy the vapour barrier plastic is in this house. Whenever I encounter it (usually doing electrical work in the walls) I joke that it’s like the bags they wrap dry-cleaning in.
Little did I know what we’d find behind the bathroom tile: The crest shows that it actually IS dry cleaning plastic!! Literally!!
We also found, inside the wall, but right beside the soap dish, a bar of Irish Spring soap. It’s been there for 50 years. I’ve decided I’m going to drywall it back in again, just so someone else can find it.
In order to remove the tub, the drain has to come out. You normally use the little cross-pieces in the drain to unscrew the whole piece. As I was warned on a forum about old houses, the cross pieces in our tub were corroded and fragile, so they just snapped out. I had to use a large grinding disk on the Dremel tool to cut the drain out of the tub. Very frustrating and time consuming. I cut three vertical lines down the drain, at 2, 6 and 10 o’clock and then used needlenose pliers to break the sections out. I am not sure if I had had a proper drain tool if it would have worked better, but I bought one after this so hopefully the new installation will go more easily.
There were only two nails and some caulking holding the tub in place, so it came out very cleanly.
Finally we got the walls down to bare studs, including the tub area. It was time to pull down the ceiling. Here is the only photo I got of the process (of the bathroom fan), because as soon as I got any further, the sawdust and insulation began pouring down on me and I was soon shin deep in stuff and the air was so thick with dust I could hardly see. I kept pulling and just ignored all the loose fibers stuck to my arms and down my neck. Using a dustpan as a shovel, it took 5 large garbage bags to get most of it.
I took the time to clean up and sweep the place clean, then tackled replacing the tub drain. I found the specs for my tub online, and it had a great technical diagram of the distances and locations for the various required pipes. The internet is a wonderful thing. I don’t have a before picture, but it looked much like the after picture except it was all brass and copper and it was badly corroded and in the wrong place for the new tub.
Next came that wrecked up toilet flange. The flange was one piece with the large elbow down in the floor, and it was solid lead. There was no way to repair or replace it (it was packed into a cast iron waste pipe in the basement with oakum). I had to cut off the 3 inch cast iron soil waste pipe with the lead elbow and the toilet flange attached and replace the whole thing.
After some reading I realized I had two options. One, to buy $30 worth of abrasive carbide blades for my reciprocating saw and take an undetermined long time to cut the cast iron pipe or two, to rent a soil pipe cutter for $30 and have it cut cleanly in seconds. Home Depot to the rescue. The soil pipe cutter is a large chain attached to a ratcheting handle. The chain has pointy wheels on it that stress the pipe when you ratchet it tight. Cast iron is apparently very brittle, and the focused stress causes the pipe to just snap cleanly. So says the theory.
I put the pipe cutter on, and started to pull the handle. I was quite nervous, as I had no idea how hard I’d have to pull or when it would actually break.
There was a “pop” sound and the chain went slack. The pipe was perfectly cut, exactly as advertised.
I cut again, about two feet further on to remove a section of this cast iron soil pipe so that I could remove the elbow and the toilet flange above. The lead elbow weighed more than twice the two feet of cast iron pipe. I used an old chisel and a hammer to cut to flange off the elbow so I could get it out of the floor. The lead was soft and easily cut. (I put the new toilet flange in on Day 4)
After the toilet flange was out, the floor needed to be torn up and replaced before the new toilet plumbing could go in. This was another one I gave up on. The quarter-inch subfloor is in reasonable shape, but is a little rough to put linoleum on directly, and it only covered half the room (there was no subfloor underneath the tub). I tried to take it up, but it just broke into pieces, and it would have taken me literally a full day just to remove it. Judging it strong enough to keep, I decided to fill in the rest of the floor with new quarter-inch subfloor to make it all even, then put a new full layer of quarter inch subfloor over the whole thing. This will raise the floor a quarter inch, but it will give us an nice smooth layer to put the vinyl flooring on.
I used a heat gun to remove the old linoleum and it was ready to go.
Time for bed.
Cost for this Post:
One trip to McDiarmid Lumber for more useful stuff for the next few days:
$8.79 1 1/2 inch rubber coupling
$14.99 3 inch rubber coupling (for soil pipe)
$3.39 ABS cement (for joining pipes)
$4.49 3 inch ABS elbow (under the toilet)
$22.99 Drain Waste Overflow for tub (separate plug and chain type)
$66.35 Total with Taxes