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May 2009
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Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 2

Having sorted out most of the decisions regarding fixtures, plumbing and electrical requirements, here is where we are. We have demoed the walls to the studs which are 2×2’s with 1 1/2” fiberglass insulation. That’s fiberglass strapping holding the batts in place.

They used regular drywall that they stapled chicken wire to, as the ground for the 1/2” of mortar for the coat of thinset that they actually embedded the tile with.


Here are the raw goods.


Here is the drain which we need to uncover to make our connection for the new jacuzzi tub.


It doesn’t look like much, but that damn hole was good for 7 5 gal. buckets of concrete trash.


Having gotten that done, I have put up the new wall for the valve and shower.


Since we are putting a 5 foot long 3 foot wide tub, I have framed this wall to the rough opening needed. The original wall will be re-framed giving me a 13 inch wall across the outside. I will cover that with plywood before drywalling so the client can mount hooks and or hangers anywhere on it they want.

The plumber will work his magic so that the water and vents will be inside the new wall for most of their runs, giving me space to put an open shelf on the toilet side to replace the awkward boards that were there before.

Since we are installing a water heater on this side of the house, we will split off the master bath and vanities and supply the other bath on this end of the house.

I mentioned that this house has almost no closet space or storage. Having sorted out the laundry room on the other side,  I am going to make some storage here.

This is the doorway to the back area.


The door is coming out, the opening will be framed down a bit, a bi-fold matching the existing doors installed and some cabinets or shelving will be installed.

There  are some framing challenges ahead.


The water heater will sit on the back wall, the subpanel will be mounted on the wall next to the door, a small soffit for the new plumbing and electric runs, a wall will go across here and the door will be installed.

Lightyear Sunken Bath

The latest project is the Lightyear Sunken Bath. Here is the first photo. This has to be one of those design farts that sucked every bit of common sense out of the designer who thought this was a good idea. It has a 5” high curb, and  tiled throughout.

Do not get me started on the wisdom of this window. Single pane glass even at 1/4” thick is not a good idea in Phoenix, Arizona, especially as we are creeping to break the record of 13 days over 100 degrees in May.

Here is the second photo. Yes it looks like a shower that you would find in just about every locker room on the planet, but if you look closely, you can see the spigot that makes it a tub also. Looking even closer there is no overflow vent.

Here is the third photo. Your standard 5′ steel/fiberglass tub is wider inside than this number.

It is going to be replaced with a 3′ wide jacuzzi tub and solid surface walls. 10 jets to bubble around and to pamper the client.

Now for the lightyear bit. This master bath is at the absolute other end of the house from the electric panel and the water heater. The house is 36′ deep and 88′ wide. About 2600 sq.ft. livable. Garage doesn’t count as livable.

We looked at on demand heaters to tuck in the wall to heat up the water in here, but by the time we had sized one large enough to fill and heat the water in the jac, the wiring cost in size of conductor and length of the runs, would have paid off the debt of a small country. (ask your electrician how much it will cost for two 100′, 240 volt, 60 amp runs. sit down first..)

We will be installing a tall water heater in the room just outside the bath and filling the tub up with that.

We are getting to this just in time. This is the back side of the wet wall.


Preservation Briefs

Hat Tip to Liz and Thor at Rehabbers Rehab for this set of Preservation Briefs from the National Park Service.

I just love stuff like this.

Fred does Self Leveling Mortar

If you are thinking about self leveling mortar to do a floor, see Fred at One Project Closer for an excellent posting about doing it.

AFCI – Arc-fault circuit interrupter

Electricity is one of those things that deserves respect. I came across a new term this morning on a tip from DIY Insanity, ACFI or Arc-fault circuit interrupter. From Wikipedia comes this explanation:

An arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is a circuit breaker designed to prevent fires by detecting non-working electrical arcs and disconnect power before the arc starts a fire.
The AFCI should distinguish between a working arc that may occur in the
brushes of a vacuum sweeper, light switch, or other household devices
and a non-working arc that can occur, for instance, in a lamp cord that
has a broken conductor in the cord from overuse. Arc faults in a home
are one of the leading causes for household fires.

Moving forward it will probably save lives, and may be something to think about in doing serious electrical remodeling, but has not been adopted as a requirement across the US yet.

Particle Board Bathrooms – Finished

The particleboard bathrooms are now in the history books. After removing the wallpaper, scraping and sanding the walls, mold removal, stain blocking, skim coating, sanding, priming spot spackle, sanding, priming,and painting, removing tape and red rosin paper, wiping down and re-caulking, these rooms are done.
Here is the hall bath.


Here is the Master Bath looking in.


Here is the Master Bath looking out.


The weirdest thing besides the obvious is that they used 3/8″ particle board for these. The only plus to this is that you can hang towel bars just about anywhere and be relatively assured of having solid blocking for for mounting them.

Don’t get me started on towel bars that are built on no known centers, with really birdshit mounting plates. Towel bars are one of those items that should really be used to beat the designers over the head until they understand what on center means, what secure mounting means, what sufficient plating and attachment mean.

Probably one of the biggest education challenges is that most designers don’t have children, so secure mounting means nothing to them, they have been bought off by the washcloth size bath towel lobby, and they bathe in car washes rather than using inside plumbing like most regular folks.

Don’t get me started….