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The bathroom that we used when we moved in was an addition to the old house, built a bit like an old “lean-to”. The tiles and grout were cracking, the shower wall was bowing inwards and looked like it was ready to collapse. Not a pretty sight. The wall cladding and tiles had been fitted before the floor had been laid. That made the joint almost imposible to seal, so water was getting into the edges of the wall cladding sheets. Drastic measures were needed. (A bomb was needed)
It wasn’t just a matter of fixing the wall sealing, the floor tiles were not procurable any more, so I couldn’t fit the edges under the wall cladding. They all had to go. Almost a matter of starting again. Most of the underfloor plumbing could stay, it was just a matter of moving the conection for the hand basin. That made the job quicker, cheaper and easier.
Behind the framework for one wall, is the original exterior wall of the house, it had lightweight metal stud work propped up against it. Not only was it not secured firmly, but they’d cut parts of the stiffening web away to let the copper pipes past. Idiots. There was no ’guts’ left in the studs, it was no wonder the walls were buckling.
I constructed a new frame wall (to code) and bolted it to the bricks of the house. This was clad with 9mm waterproof fibre cement sheeting after ’Geoff the Plumber’ replaced some of the copper work. The breeching pieces for the shower and hand basin taps were of brass, the new regulations say copper, so they had to go. There will be less chance of corrosion with the new ones, and I don’t want to have to fix hidden leaks in 20 years time (I most likely won’t be here in 20 years time!)
We chipped up the old tiles and cleaned the surfaces. We removed them from the walls, and put them out in the garbage in small quantities.
Tedious, but somebody had to do it!
We’d listen to the garbage truck coming along the street early in the morning. You could hear him tip a bin in, reasonably quiet, then another one nearer, and so on.
Until he came to ours - an almighty roar erupted as the old tiles slid down the chute into the truck. Nobody complained, thankfully.
I tried grinding the old tile cement off one block wall, but I had to give up, it was so dusty. We’re still trying to clean up the dust that leaked out, months later.
The joints between the wall and floor and all of the corner joints have been waterproofed with a flexible membrane. Also the shower side of the room and the floor have been coated with the same stuff. It’s like sandy-gritty rubber paint, and boy does it stick - to everything, especially me!
The old ceiling was very high, increasing the impression that it was a tiny room. It’s now down to 2.9 metres, and I utilised the space above to work towards fixing another problem we have with a box gutter that slopes the wrong way. I’ve run a 90mm storm water pipe through the ceiling space. The ceiling is now covered with small flute corrugated iron, to make us feel as if we’re in Oz. Come to think of it, we are in Oz!
We re-tiled the floor and then the walls with tiles that match the en-suite bathroom at the other end of the house. A very kind friend lent me his diamond saw, what a time (and tile) saver that was! And this time I didn’t get any of the frieze tiles upside down like I did in the kitchen, I cheated and marked them “This Way Up” before I started. With its new lights and exhaust fan, it’s a nice room now. Just waiting for someone (PGK) to make leadlight for the window to finish it right off. We bought double flush toilet suites, low-flow shower heads and a new economic washing machine six weeks before the government offered rebates on their purchase beacuse of the dire state of our water supplies. You can’t win.
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