Monday, October 17, 2011

Rough-In Inspections Passed and Bathtub #4

Wow – what a week! We’re both completely exhausted (so much so that we both fell asleep at our desks on Thursday).

Monday through Thursday evenings we were working well into the late evening trying to get everything ready for the rough in inspections on Friday. In order to be ready we had to do the following things:

1. Install the framing for the closets
2. Install all supply water lines
3. Support all plumbing lines
4. Get electrical lines installed (we hired this out)
5. Install bath fan housing
6. Install bath fan ducting
7. Insulate bath ducting
8. Clean up debris and tools

Tuesday night was spent installing all the cold water lines for the two bathrooms. Since we’re new to this it took a little longer than anticipated to figure out how to route everything. Wednesday night was installing the hot water lines and starting to install supports for the lines. Thursday was a very long night where we finished framing in the closets, installed the bath fan ducting and insulation, and finished all other small items that weren’t finished (mostly supporting plumbing and installing protective plates).

I was a nervous wreck on Friday. I stayed home for the inspections and spent the first couple hours of the day moving our construction zone into the bedroom and cleaning up a bunch of debris. From my previous experience with inspectors, I was very worried about the electrical and plumbing inspectors. The last time they were here, the plumbing inspector made me cry and the electrical inspector was kicked out of our house because he was such a jerk (I did apologize to him later).

The building inspector came first and was very happy with our work. We got a nice “pass” sticker. The electrical inspector came next. Fortunately, we hit the jackpot with the electrical inspectors – we were assigned the head supervisor instead of the jerk. This supervisor is extremely nice and gave us our second “pass” sticker of the day. Last was the plumbing inspector. This guy can be either very nice or very mean depending on the day. He started the inspection by pointing out a couple things that we had missed (very minor stuff) so I thought maybe it was a mean day. I was so nervous the whole time he was there but he surprised me and gave me our third “pass” sticker of the day.

As soon as I closed the door on the plumbing inspector, Tucker and I did a little happy dance and sang the “We Passed the Inspections” song in the foyer. I am so relieved to have the rough in inspections behind us!

Since we had worked so hard during the week, Friday was a nice night to relax before we started work again on Saturday.

Now I guess I should tell the tale of the bathtubs. Last weekend, Chris and my mom picked up a bathtub at Home Depot. We brought it inside, opened it up, and found a missing piece of porcelain on the corner. So we took it back to the store to exchange it for a perfect one (we opened it in the store to check this time). We installed the perfect bathtub last Sunday before my parents left. It was so exciting because it was starting to look like a real bathroom.

On Wednesday, the electricians came to the house to install all the lines. We had covered the bathtub with the cardboard protective cover it came with and had plans to put some blankets on it as well. While the electricians were at the house, I heard a clunk that sounded like something had fallen in the tub. I checked the inside of the tub while they were at lunch and didn’t see anything wrong. It wasn’t until Friday morning while I was cleaning for the inspections that I found the enormous chip of porcelain missing from the top of the bathtub.

The cardboard on top of the tub blocked my view of this on the first inspection. I was so angry – we had finally got the perfect bathtub and it was installed! I called the electrical company and told them what had happened. They were very apologetic and bought us a new tub which they delivered that afternoon. They also offered to hire someone to install it for us if we needed it.

When they delivered the tub we looked all over the top and inside of it – there were no issues. It wasn’t until we looked at the front that we noticed a pretty sizeable dent. It was even more obvious when we installed it.

So on Sunday, with our fingers crossed, we drove the (broken) truck to Home Depot in Ellicott City to get tub #4. We looked at the entire tub in the store to make sure that we were getting a good one. We were so gentle bringing it into the house and installing it. Now we stole Tuckers blanket to put over the tub until we can go buy some old blankets at Goodwill.

We were a little slow to get up on Saturday but once we did we were able to accomplish a good amount. We started by putting insulation in the exterior bathroom walls. We re-used the loose insulation in the main bathroom and put up a plastic moisture barrier. In the master bathroom we installed some un-faced batts with the plastic barrier.

To make the house more airtight we used a couple cans of Great Stuff to seal the gaps around the windows and in the joist cavity. Another thing that we learned during our energy audit was that we should seal the joist cavities below the upper floor to prevent air leaks. The easiest way to do that was with some Styrofoam and Great Stuff. It may not be in the best location or look very good but now we have much less air flow in this area.

We’re getting surprisingly close to being able to tile in the bathroom. The only problem is that we have no tile selected (or purchased). So we spent some time at the Tile Shop, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to see if we liked anything. We’re still not sure exactly what we want to do but we’re leaning toward a few different ones.

On Saturday night, Chris soldered the heating lines back together. We had to remove the radiators from the bathroom and closet last week so we’ve been without heat since then. Now we can turn on the heat on these chilly 40 degree nights!

On Sunday, after church, we started installing the greenboard in the main bathroom ceiling. Fortunately, Chris made a “dead man” so that I would retain use of my arms this week (holding a huge sheet of drywall above your head for 15 minutes is quite challenging!). Hanging drywall on a ceiling really requires three people (or a lift).

The first sheet we hung was cut so precisely that we had a little problem getting it into the one area…

Fortunately we learned our lesson and left bigger gaps on the rest of the ceiling and the rest of it looks great!

The next thing we started was the installation of bathtub #4. It didn’t take long for that perfect tub to slide into place. Then we put up tar paper and started on installing the cement backerboard. We have more backerboard to put up tonight before we can start putting up greenboard on the walls. By the end of the week we could have something that resembles an actual bathroom!

Here are a few pictures of the progress this week:

One final thing – this morning when Chris was showering, the duct in the master bathroom was dripping water onto the master bathroom floor. After a *little* investigation we concluded that water is getting behind the tile in the upstairs bathroom (can you guess where in the picture below?) and migrating over to the next joist cavity. Since we plan on demolishing this hideous bathroom soon anyway, I’m going to use some caulk this evening to make it less leaky. At least we only have to use this bathroom until the main one is complete!


  1. Congrats! Sounds like you're just ahead of us in our two bathroom remodels. We're stuck using a crummy spare bathroom too. I can't wait to shower and use the bathroom on the main floor again!

    I do want to point out that green board isn't supposed to be used for a lid (aka ceiling) because it isn't structurally supportive like regular drywall. It's only supposed to be used on the walls. I think it might even be code...

  2. I hope your bathroom project is coming along smoothly! I checked on the moisture resistant board in the code and for our joist spacing we are good. Thanks for the information though!