Weekend Twenty-one (11/6) - this was both a fun and boring weekend!
1. I got to try my hand a sweating copper (fun)
2. I had to do some grouting (boring)
Weekend Twenty-one - template
This piece of wood was made to replicate the faucet holes in the tub deck.
Weekend Twenty-one - alignment
In an effort to plan for success, I decided to sweat the copper fittings outside of the hole. When I say "hole," I am referring to the little space under the tub decking. Being that I had never soldered a copper fitting before, working in the hole seemed like a recipe for failure.
My solution was the wooden template. Not only did it allow me to solder on my work bench, but it also provided a more optimal setup for finessing the flex tubing into the correct configuration.
Weekend Twenty-one - awwww yeah!
Yes sir! This is my first ever sweat job. I am sure the professional plumber would bust a gut laughing at the sloppiness, but I am damn proud of it!
The pieces of cloth wrapped around the tubing were wet. I knew my inexperience would lead to excessive torching as I tried to make sure the copper was hot enough. So, the wet cloth was my attempt at protecting the valves from the heat conducting through the pipe and into he valve. It worked better than I thought it would!
Weekend Twenty-one - second sweat job
Yep, that's darn ugly also!
Weekend Twenty-one - pencil work
After getting my plumbers card, I moved on to more tile work. The pencil tile that surrounds the tub, will not be attached to the access panel. It remains attached to the tub decking. So, I need to make sure that Thinset used on the pencil would not adhere to the access panel or get in the crack between the panel and decking. If it did, it would effectively cement the panel in position. That is not what you want in an access panel.
Weekend Twenty-one - another angle
Weekend Twenty-one - I am dumb as a box of rocks!
Sooooooo... this is the access panel. It was really hard to remove because I made a really dumb mistake. As you can see in the picture, the 4 inch strip of tile only contacts about 2 inches on the access panel. The other 2 inches isn't supposed to attached to anything. If it did, then the panel would not be removable.
In an effort to make sure that the tile was set evenly on the panel, I put some painters tape on the tub decking. I thought it would release once the Thinset was all dry. Then, I planned to use very little Thinset on the part of the tile that came in contact with the painters tape. Well, somehow I screwed up and put a lot of Thinset on the part of the tile connecting to the painters tape, and very little on the access panel. I got it backwards and it ended up being an issue. When I tried to remove the access panel it would not budge. It did came free with a couple taps of a dead-blow-hammer. It came free because there was very little Thinset holding the tile to the access panel.
In the picture above, I've marked where the heavy Thinset was used. You can see the creases from the Blue Tape. The other side of the tile had much less Thinset. The two small globs just broke free then I tapped the panel with the hammer.
Could this be the result of the the Heavy Seas Loose Canons? Naaaaaaah...
Total project time to date = 260 hours
Weekend Twenty-two (11/13) - bath time!!!
If all goes well, the bathtub will be operational by the end of the weekend.
Weekend Twenty-two - blower relocation
I finally got around to working on the tub's blower relocation. A tub's air blower is just about as loud as a vacuum. To me, that defeats the purpose of having an air tub. So, I am building a box and relocating the blower in the closet on the opposite side of the master bath's shower.
The box building was done in the garage and the weather was absolutely perfect! It was 68 degrees and barely a breath of air. Autumn in RVA is great!
Weekend Twenty-two - box building
Three sides complete...
Weekend Twenty-two - sound insulation
Weekend Twenty-two - air filter
Since the blower moves a fair amount of air and its located in a bathroom closet, it has the potential to be a vacuum cleaner. So, I have a two filter system on the blower's box. The primary filter is a lawnmower filter and the pre-filter comes out of the HVAC section of Lowes. Its basically some filter material without any edges. I cut it to size and stapled it underneath the box.
I forgot to take picture of the pre-filter.
Weekend Twenty-two - comfy fit
The blower box needs three holes:
1. The power cord (dedicated 20 AMP GFCI circuit that was installed very early in the project)
2. The air tube for the air actuated on/off switch for the blower (located inside of tub)
3. The hose that carries the blower air from the blower to the tub
Weekend Twenty-two - three holes in use
Hmmmm, should have taken a few minutes to do some painting in that closet!
Weekend Twenty-two - final resting place
Weekend Twenty-two - hose work
The lime green pad that is attached to the tub is were the blower motor was located by the tub's manufacturer. Essentially the blower is about 12 inches away from your resting place in the tub. Anyway, the Grey hose that goes from he blower to the tubs manifold system is not long enough to go through the wall and into the blower box. Its only short by about 2 feet, but it is short. So, I got some flex tubing off the interweb.
I also picked up some Tygon tubing for the air actuated switch.
Weekend Twenty-two - setting the tub
In this picture you can see both of the extended tubes running to the closet on the other side of the wall. You can also see some roofers felt inside the drop-in area for the tub. The felt is my attempt at some insurance. The tub gets set in mortar and that is great for a bathing experience, but its bad news when it comes time for the tub to come out. This tub has been sitting in Drew's room for over 2 months and that comes with some risk. We assumed the risk rather than moving up and down the stairs during the numerous dry fits. Anyway, the theory here was that there is half as much area to adhere. It seemed like a cheap and easy insurance policy. I hope I never need to use it.
The Blue painters tape does Two things:
1. It marks the exact place I want the tub to be set into the mortar.
2. It is holding down my spacers. The spacers will allow me to step into the tub and set it onto the mortar while keeping a nice even and level gap around the perimeter of the tub. In effect, the tub goes into the mortar, but not too far into the mortar.
Weekend Twenty-two - drain line
After setting the tub, I focused on plumbing it. First up was the drain line. I underestimated how tight it would be behind the access panel! This isn't a big deal for the water lines, but one of the plumbing fittings proved to be a challenge. Basically, I could not get my hand/arm into the hole to grab a firm hold of the previously plumbed trap. I needed to have a firm grasp on the trap so that I could use the required force to insert the drain T into the trap.. My solution was to sink an anchoring screw into the decking and run some webbing below the trap and back up above the decking where I could pull it and the trap up.
It worked like a charm.
Weekend Twenty-two - more plumbing
The green flex hose seen above is designed and sold for exactly what I am using it for. That said, I don't like the way it seats in the drain T. I have water tested it and its holding, but I will not be surprised if I revisit this connection a few years down the road. Luckily the T coupling guides the water down so the only exposure is during the tub draining after use. There seems to be little pressure at hoses connection to the coupling. Time will tell...
Weeked Twenty-two - she is set and operational!!!
Yep, she is water tight and blowing air!
I ordered an Oil-rubbed Bronze overflow cover last week, but its hasn't arrived yet.
Next up is to finish grouting the shower. That will have to wait for weekend Twenty-three...
Total project time to date = 285 hours
Weekend Twenty-three (11/20) - grout and grout, and more grout
Yeah, there isn't much of an update I can show. Basically, I spent the weekend doing two things:
1. Putting the second bead of caulk on the tub
2. Grouting the shower
Those two things accounted for 10 hours in time. Its just nuts how long it takes me to grout!
Weekend Twenty-three - caulked
I am fairly pleased with the caulk job. There are a couple spots I could criticize, but if I was give the opportunity to do it over, I might just stick with what I've got.
Weekend Twenty-three - grout on the Schluter
This is a picture of the Shcluter Rondec. I am not really a fan of the stuff, but given the tile store's error in ordering and the lack of bullnose, I am OK with the final result. It looks clean and it's sturdy as all-get-out.
Weekend Twenty-three - Schulter full view
Weekend Twenty-three - the last wall grout!
Yes! Yes! Yes! Finishing the grout on the front of the tub is a major milestone. Grouting vertical surfaces is not for the faint of heart. I learned a bunch doing it though and if I ever have to do it again, I will be much more efficient at it.
The next step will be to treat the grout and then seal it. I am going to use Sulfamic acid as a pre-sealer treatment. This will be another laborious step, but it will help even the grout color out and prepare it for a good long term sealer. It will have to wait though... the grout has to dry for 7 - 10 days before treating it with the acid.