Sep 272012

Once again, I was doing something dangerous: despite being a programmer, I chose to carry not just a screwdriver but also some power tools.

Two weeks ago, I had a plumbing crew remove our old bathtub. It was way overdue:

It took them no more than a couple of hours to reduce the bathtub to this:

And by mid-afternoon, they were done. The new bathtub was installed. Actually, let me emphasize: ONLY the new bathtub was installed:

From this point on, I was on my own. It was by choice: I dislike having workmen in my house and in any case, these are skills that, I think, are well worth learning.

Having never done tiles (or for that matter, sheet rock) before, I was taking things slowly. (Hey, I am also just a few months shy of fifty, somewhat overweight, and I usually spend my days in an armchair sitting in front of a computer.) Even so, a few days later, I was done with all the preliminary work: notably, the installation of tile backer drywall:

The plastic sheets were put in there so that we could use the bathroom even while it was still under construction.

Next came the tiles. The tricky bit (for me anyway) was to cut tiles around the faucet and other fixtures. I was able to cut pretty decent holes using a tile cutter bit in my “Roto-ZIP” tool:

And thus it came to be that a little less than two weeks after the plumbers left, the tiling was done:

There was, of course, still more work to do. First, I had to wait a few days for the adhesive to set before grouting the tiles. Once I completed the grouting successfully, I had to wait another few days before I could spray the new grout with sealant. It was only at this point, namely today, that I sealed the edges of the tile using silicone. Finally, once the fixtures were reattached, the job was at last done:

Needless to say, I am mighty proud of myself. In fact, I’ll probably be insufferably proud for the next few days (that is, unless the tiles start popping off, in which case my insufferable pride will rapidly turn into an overwhelming sense of embarrassment.) There is still a little bit of cleaning up to do, and eventually, repaired bits of wall around the tiles will need to be repainted. I may apply a bit of paint for protection, but the real paintjob will have to wait; I am considering replacing the vanity (the sink definitely needs to be replaced) and I am also considering replacing the floor tiles, which are old and have developed a few minor cracks over the years.

But not this year. For now, I prefer to return to my regularly scheduled programming job and put down my screwdriver.


 Posted by at 5:32 pm
Oct 302010

I am 47 years old, but up until last week, I never ever painted a room. I knew more about how paints behave on spacecraft surfaces than on drywall.

Well, this is no longer true. I just finished the walls, window, door, and floor in our small bedroom:

Yes, I am proud of my handiwork. Our cats appear to be satisfied, too:

But no, I am not planning to give up my day job.

 Posted by at 5:51 pm
Sep 262009

I was a very brave person today… I peed in a toilet that I just finished installing.

So far, no sign of leaks below.

 Posted by at 1:05 am
Sep 252009

I’m most pleased with myself tonight. Maybe I have an aptitude for the experimental side of physics, too, as it appears that I was able to repair successfully my subfloor around the leaky toilet. I took some pictures:

Next task is to finish the floor and put the new toilet in. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not… I’m rather tired, so I might skip a day. But then again, I seem to be on a roll…

 Posted by at 2:18 am
Sep 242009

There are certain areas of life where decades of computer expertise are quite useless, and even a reasonably thorough knowledge of theoretical physics is only of marginal use. Replacing the rotted subfloor around a leaky toilet is one such area.

Yet this is what I am presently engaged in. So far so good… using some rather evil, foul-sounding power tools, I managed to cut out much of a square hole around the drainpipe, I’m only having trouble with some corners where the power tools don’t reach. Unfortunately, I found out that the subfloor in this bathroom is actually an inch thick, as opposed to the standard, 5/8″ board that I already bought… oh well, it wasn’t a big expense anyway, and perhaps I can use that board for some other purpose later on.

For now, it’s back to Home Depot to get a piece of inch-thick wood and also some advice on cutting out those nasty corners. Maybe they can suggest a method that would be slightly more efficient than the hammer-and-chisel approach which I attempted, with¬† some limited success.

While I’m at it, I shall also inquire as to whether it is possible for them to cut my boards to shape to fit around the drainpipe, so that I wouldn’t have to attempt such precision cutting using my fairly limited skills and perhaps less-than-adequate set of tools. Not to mention that I value my fingers, and prefer to have all ten of them in the right place and in full working order after I’m done with all this…

But for now, it’s rest time. I have this nasty tensor algebra program to tackle, but no matter how difficult it is, I sweat a lot less doing it than when I’m cutting a subfloor with a circular saw.

 Posted by at 3:30 pm