Thursday, January 17, 2008

Square splendage: a DIY primer

I am interrupting the blogging of my housework strike to show off my new tub faucet.

The old faucet.

The new faucet. Fancy, eh?

The tub itself needs some attention but it is good enough for now. The great thing is, now that we have something that somewhat resembles a shower, we can demolish the real shower in the other bathroom. It is in desperate need of new tile. That whole bathroom is half-gutted right now. Indeed, here is an excerpt of something I wrote on my other site a year ago.

I'm turning my attention to our downstairs bathroom. Several months ago, it looked like this.

A view from above.

Now, faced with the task of making it decent, I hardly know where to begin, although gutting it seems the logical first step and we tore out the old sink months ago. Now I am trying to get up the old tile floor. The tools I selected were a hammer and small chisel. After about 15 minutes of hammering and chiseling, I'd removed an area of tile about the size of a Splenda packet. Jon suggested that we simply put the new floor on top of the old one, an idea I considered seriously, until I realized we wouldn't be able to open the door, and also could find no support anywhere on the Internet for laying new ceramic tile on top of old ceramic tile. It was time for the sledge hammer. Jon had grave concerns about me sledgehammering straight through the subfloor and into the basement, so I sensibly chose a day when he was at work. “I'll be gentle,” I told myself. After about 15 minutes of gentle application of the sledgehammer, I had demolished an area of floor the size of *two* Splenda packets. “The hell with gentle,” I said and started banging away as the toilet lid clattered in a frightened sort of way and the house shook. All the while, like a drumbeat in my head were the words: Hire someone. Hire someone. Hire someone.

The website that had recommended the sledgehammer, also mentioned a floor scraper, and I realized we have a tool similar to this. It is on a long handle, like a garden spade, which makes it difficult to maneuver in a 25 sq ft bathroom, but with this new tool and diligent effort, I managed to scrape up about twenty Splenda packets worth of floor. By this time, I had jarred all my vertebrae loose, so I swept up the debris and retreated to my favorite chair with a cup of tea and Buddenbrooks.

A splenda packet has an area of roughly one square inch. If my floor is 25 square feet, then I calculate my square Splendage to be about 300. Or is that 3,000?

That was a YEAR ago, and the only progress I've made is to completely get up the old floor. We've also removed the door, so what was once a bathroom is now an open cubicle with a shower and a toilet. This is the reason we never invite people over.

Coming soon: the tale of how my housework strike was indirectly responsible for my 15 year old son putting his arm through a window. Don't worry, he's not seriously hurt.


  1. I found your post while looking for old faucets because I want to adapt my tub like you did. Did you find a website to tell you how to do it? I am just wondering because I have no experience with plumbing but would love a shower!

  2. Eileen, we hired a plumber. It was a pretty simple job, but he did say that it gets more complicated if you want the showerhead mounted on a pole rather than a hand-held thing.