Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Tale of Home Improvement

One. Little. Nail. Just one. “Honey, why don’t you pull that nail out of the drywall before we install the sink?”
We are installing a utility sink in the garage. For the years long renovation of the house, we have been using the large, black, (expensive), Kohler kitchen sink to clean paint brushes, and mix thinset and grout. Anything nasty that we need to do involving water has happened in that sink. So now, with only the kitchen floor left to tile, why on earth is a utility sink suddenly a necessity? I suppose, because it is a way to delay the installation of the HardieBacker for another week. No, not really. It is so when the tile goes into the kitchen, we have access to water in a sink big enough to fill a pot and wash a dish.
There was a plan. It was to get the corner of the garage where the sink would reside cleaned out, get all materials, and prep in advance so the installation would take about 3 hours and then the rest of the weekend could be devoted to backer board. Well, as with most plumbing projects, 3 hours proved to be a wildly optimistic estimate.
I kept to the plan. I took a couple of hours of vacation time to clear out the garage. It was quality time well spent with a trash can. Why on earth did we keep boxes of old cassette tapes that we haven’t listened to in nearly 20 years? Couldn’t tell you, but they are gone now. As are the 7 empty wine boxes we were saving for some unknown reason. I forced a midweek trip to Home Depot to purchase the sink, faucet, ABS pipe, new glue, 90 ° elbows, 45 ° elbows, copper pipe, shut off valves, solder, and couplings. We were all set to go first thing Saturday morning.
Our house is built into a hillside so that the main floor is at ground level in the front; there is an upper floor above the garage that houses the master bedroom suite, and a family room and half bath that open into the backyard on a lower floor. Under most of the house is standing headroom so that running new pipes is relatively easy; it isn’t like you have to tear up concrete or anything…
So, I suggested that the protruding nail be removed. It has been there since we purchased the house 18 years ago and when valuable household items were piled in front of it, I never noticed. But now that there would be a sink right there, it made sense to pull out the useless nail. So The Bearded One pulled the nail out and A STREAM OF WATER BEGAN TO SHOOT OUT OF THE WALL! ARRRGHHH!
Drywall removal was quickly accomplished with a Dremel Multi-Max (if you don’t own one, you should), soggy insulation was pulled out and it turned out that the nail had penetrated the trap in the washing machine drain.
We now have a 2’ x 2’ hole in that garage wall that is being “left open to dry”. There has been a new trap installed for the washer drain. The sink is in place and functional. Our son, Stubble, learned a lot about plumbing including how much fun a Bernzomatic torch can be. And it only took 6 additional trips to Home Depot to accomplish the job. Total time on the job: about 10 hours.
Next job: Patching the drywall. But that will be another Tale.

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