Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


Archive for the ‘plumbing’ Category


At Our New Old House the plumbing was one of those things that we knew we’d have to do eventually but that never gave us enough of a problem to fix right away. However, when the faucet on our tub stopped working and we discovered how difficult it was going to be to connect a new faucet to the old pipes, we decided to hire a plumber to re-do our whole plumbing system.

Here are the old pipes to the tub:


And here are the new flex tubes, which are much easier to attach to fixtures.


Since we were going to have the plumber here anyway, we asked him to remove some of the scary old fixtures that had been left behind by previous owners. This toilet was a must to go.


And so it  was gone…


And they capped the drain hole.


The pipes were all galvanized before and probably very close to original on the house and had calcified inside quite a bit. Here’s the inside of one of the valves they took off:


So, with all the galvanized gone they replaced it with Pex.





Now our water pressure is GREAT, the hot water gets to the tap really hot, and fixtures are all easy to attach!

We used John Carroll of Des Moines (Carroll Plumbing, LLC) and we were really satisfied with his work.

Crusty Old Pain in the Drain

Our new bathroom floor is in!  But before I show you pictures of that, let me tell you about the drain on our clawfoot tub.

We suspect the plumbing on it was original.  Whether it was or not, it was old enough to be nothing but a pain in the drain. 

First of all, when Brandon went to take the drain apart so he could remove the tub, it came apart in all the wrong places and some of the pipe broke.  He resigned himself to having to replace the whole drain.  Not too big a deal, right?

Everything was peachy except the pieces in the drain hole itself would not come apart.  Brandon spent most of the weekend in this position, trying to get the drain to loosen:


Here’s what he had to work with:


When he tried to use a drain plug wrench, which looked like this:


The pieces inside the drain disintigrated to look like this:


Having nothing left to hold onto to turn the drain pieces, he resorted to cutting the whole thing off and hoping the threads would come apart in the process:



With a few taps of a screwdriver…


out it came!


Brandon said all that gross caked on yellow stuff is bits of hundreds of people’s skin who have bathed in this tub. I said, “Ew gross!!!” and told him it was more likely the old rubber seal that had hardened over time. Boys are so gross.


To see the finished drain he put in, you’ll have to come back next time because I forgot to take photos of it in time for this blog post.

 [tags]clawfoot tub, flooring, photos, bathroom, ceramic tile, plumbing [/tags]

Flooring Day Two: Installation

 These are pictures from the day I wrote the two “S.N.A.F.U.” posts about. Once Brandon got the kinks worked out with the flooring contractor they got to work.

(These pictures aren’t of the same quality as my usual pictures because Brandon took them with his phone’s camera, but I think it gives the whole thing a certain romantic antique look.)

The bathroom, sans toilet and sink pedestal:

The bathroom, sans bath tub:

The bath tub plumbing:

The toilet base:

Installing the subfloor in the kitchen:




Installing the subfloor in the bathroom:

Check back soon for pictures of the finished floors and some adventures with the bath tub!

[tags]ceramic tile, plumbing, contractors, kitchen, clawfoot tub, bathroom, photos, shower, flooring[/tags]

Flooring installation: Day one: Prep work

Here are some photos of what we — actually, Brandon — did to prep the bathroom to have tile put down:

First Brandon turned off the main water line and unhooked the faucet from the tub.


Then he put the faucet back together on the pipes so we could turn the main back on to the house.




A minor accident occured when he tried to push the tub away from the pipes. The feet came off! Turns out they were never really attached to the bottom, the tub just rested heavily on them and they hadn’t moved in a hundred years!


The feet nearest the back wall were never painted. Here’s also a look at the disgusting mess that had built up behind the tub under the carpet!


Here’s a close-up of one of the feet. These things are heavy! They must weigh almost 10 lbs. apiece!


And the back of the foot where it attaches to the tub.


Brandon disconnected the drain pipe at the bottom, hoping the part where it branches up and over would stay together. When he pulled on the tub, however, the two branches came apart. Mission accomplished… sort of. Looks like we’ll need new drain pipes.



 Come back soon for part two: More prep work!

[tags]bathroom, clawfoot tub, flooring, photos, plumbing[/tags]

Update on my S.N.A.F.U. morning

First of all, I’d like to thank the members of the Des Moines Rehabbers Club who kindly offered me advice this morning.  I sent a rather panicked email to the mailing list this morning and got some really excellent responses.  It helps so much to have someone to turn to in a crisis like this! 

The flooring company has secured the right color grout, but they didn’t order enough tile for the bathroom.  They will finish the parts under the tub, toilet, and sink and finish the rest when the tiles are in.  They’re going to cut the tile to fit around the pipes in the floor, rather than some other way.  I’m glad of that because it didn’t seem right to have to cut all the pipes down and redo all that plumbing. 

When I talked to Brandon (who’s at the house today while I’m at work) he said they’d laid the subfloor in both the kitchen and the bathroom and were going to get the kitchen done today.  That was earlier this morning, so I hope there’s been some good progress made.

 While the flooring guys were working in the house, Brandon took the ladder out and broke the rotted fascia off the roof and removed as many nails as he could to prepare for new gutters being installed.

 Our quote from the gutter company arrived.  It is over $2000, which for a single story, 1000 square foot bungalow seemed ridiculous.  Our neighbor down the street with a similar house had theirs done for $450 or so.  Will keep looking.

We’re heading out to the Iowa State Fair this afternoon to blow off some steam.  Pictures coming soon of all our adventures!

[tags]gutters, thanks, ceramic tile, bathroom, Des Moines Rehabbers Club, contractors, plumbing, kitchen, flooring[/tags]

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