Wednesday, March 14, 2007

On the Bathroom Floor

I had Friday off from work, I had big plans. The morning was spent over coffee and the telephone. First I called the electric company to further discuss the job ahead of burying the main service line to the house. Next up was a long discussion with our radiant floor heat component designer/supplier. Once I finished cooking up a double batch of pasta salad for the next few nights' worth of dinners (click for recipe), I was off to the soapstone quarry down the road to check out our bathroom floor options and learn more about this wonderful, local material.


Arrived at the house at 2 o'clock. Sunny and warm. First thing I had to do was remove the debris that we had created the night before. Hadn't realized how quickly this stuff builds up. We haven't rented the dumpster yet and there's no place to put it, really. The bigger chunks of drywall and wood were tossed into the shed, and I just dumped loads of the smaller stuff outside on the concrete slab where they will be easily shoveled away in a week or two.

Next, I set to work on tearing up the bathroom floor (I had managed to pry up about six square feet of it the night before). The earplugs that I was given at the quarry were a handy defense against the steel on steel pinging of the mallet and crowbar. I decided to put the goggles on just in time for old tongue-in-groove planks to come splintering past my face. So many layers of floor, so many horrid linoleum prints. The upper layer was linoleum, then concrete backerboard, then linoleum, then plywood, tar paper, and finally I'd get down to the original planks. The area between the bathroom and the kitchen had tongue-in-groove planks as the last layer, and since they were the furthest from where the leaking toilet was, they were also the strongest and hardest to remove.




I was working slowly. Found time to take a walk around the land, look at the trees, and watch for birds. Hey look at that, we've got an old engine, too.

Erika got to the house after she got out of work, by that time I was just laying out in the side yard trying to estimate how many miles apart two jets were based on what I understand the average speed of a passenger jet at cruising altitude to be, and gauging their points by cloud formations. Ahh, what a day.

We shoveled down some pasta salad and as I got back to the floor, Erika continued pulling down the drywall in there. The original floor around the soil stack, toilet, and behind the shower is all rotted out. At one point, even a floor joist is rotted pretty badly. Sometimes, old plywood would explode in a puff of mold. Believe it or not, this is feel good work. We're getting this stuff out of there, stripping it right down to what is good and solid and rebuilding from there.



After cutting away the last of the drywall, Erika grabbed a pry bar and hammer and joined me in the floor removal. Once we got all the parts up, we were left with hundreds of original handmade nails sticking out of the floor. Pulled 'em out. Swept up. Wow. It was just about midnight! Cracked a beer and admired our work.

Went to bed very sore.

Other things we did:

- removed rigid insulation to reveal the second bathroom window. It's in rough shape and we plan to replace it.

- John

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