Archive | August 4, 2012

A Time For All Seasons

Well, twenty-three days later we finally have stopped the leak, as I posted on June 11th –  or I should rightly say, the plumber has stopped the leak! Hopefully, we will not have any evidence of leaking anywhere this weekend. And next week Bill, the plumber, will come back out, remove all the dirt he dug up (after he removed the tile floor and jackhammered the cement floor and footing) and replace it with clean sand, and recement the floor.

So, why is this a-time-for-all-seasons moment? Because for several years I have been hating my carpet in the master bathroom and the main thoroughfare from the family room into the master bath, not only because it is twenty years old but also the fact that my two dogs have, over the last ten years, used it as their bathroom too (if they couldn’t make it outside on time). No amount of cleaning can erase the thought of what has gone on in these carpets! When the initial flood came in the master bath I pulled out all the carpet in the bathroom. Then when the water spilled over into part of the family room, I tore out the wet carpet there also. Now I only have one more section to tear out that didn’t get wet and I’m ready to have it tiled! Just what I have wanted to do for the last two years.

But first, back to the plumber. In trying to find the leak he had to inspect all the plumbing throughout the house, so yours truly had to clear out under no less than eight cabinets/vanities and one 2.5’x6′ wide closet. Talk about a mess – forget the mess I already had – now I have an almighty mess! I managed to clear out the cabinets in the area of the leak, not knowing he would want all the other areas emptied, too. So it was swoop everything out and dump it into boxes or whatever I had handy. Next, mister plumber cut into the back of the vanities, the walls, high and low, looking for the plumbing pipes to find out whether the plumbing was above the slab or under. The blueprints we inherited with the house when we bought it stated “all plumbing must be above the slab”. Ha! Bill finally hit pay dirt and the plumbing was NOT above slab – it was below the slab.

When he came back the next day, after figuring out his plan of attack, he rerouted some of the plumbing by going up and down through the walls until he had relocated the cold water plumbing. This solved our big leak because the sound of water running in the walls had gone. But four hours after he left – oh no! It’s flooding again! There was the water in the same location as before. I had been forewarned that usually there is more than one leak when copper piping starts getting pinhole leaks. Back in the 80’s here in the Southwest this was the standard way of installing plumbing in new construction, under the slab, using copper pipes. And, at least in our case, they used soft copper, making it even more likely to leak in the future.

Bill came out, surveyed the situation and said he’d probably have to go ahead and jackhammer (something we were trying to avoid due to the mess, hard work, and more money). But by now I was ready to tear the house apart to find that stupid leak! Which brings us to the beginning of this story. He jackhammered the floor, fixed the leak and will be repairing the hole. Now what?

First, all the holes in the back of the cabinets and walls have to be fixed by a plasterer; then we’ll need a tile guy to install new tile in the master bath, leading out to the family room and the main walk area in the family room. Oh, and since the walls in the spare room behind the hall bath has multiple holes in it we’ll have to have that room painted.

So, if this isn’t a time for all seasons to get our house ship-shape I don’t know “when” is! It may not be spring, but since most of my cabinets are sitting empty it’s a great time to clean, thin out, throw away and reorganize. My husband and I have lived here for fifteen years and the only change in decor has been to paint our family room, so it really is high time we made some changes – while we can – since we’re both old-timers.  Hmmm, maybe we should go ahead and get some new vanities in the bathrooms while we are at it….