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June 2009
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Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 5 – Plumbing

Having researched and rejected tankless water heaters for this project, we moved onto finding the plumbing so we can provide hot water for the jacuzzi, sinks and the guest bath. Yeah the guest bath was a bit of scope creep, but that is how remodeling works. Anyway we went in search of the water. We will re route the hot water side. This has the advantage of providing hot water to this side of the house, and once this is connected we will disconnect the feed on the other side, lowering the cost of providing hot water for the other half of this house. The money saved from not having 80 feet of buried pipe kept hot/warm will probably equal the cost of running the new water heater.

Here is Vern the plumber finding a path for running the pipes.


This is the master bedroom closet which we needed to open to find our pathway.
Because of the layout, we made an interesting run.


We had to come through the back of the corner sink base and come in a ways to make the turn to the storage/utility room. The line is marker. Notice there are no scorch marks or other crap? Vern is a Great Plumber!

Here is the plumbing running through our steel stud wall. Note the red clamps on the floor. These will prevent electrolosis from destroying the pipes and causing no end of problems later.


Here is our finished run.


Meanwhile, we had the concrete poured into the lightyear sunken tub.

The form in the center top is for the drain and overflow. Friday should see this opening framed for the glass block panel and the insulation and drywall.

Looking closely at the lower left of the concrete brings up this:

Yep One of the client’s dogs made her mark.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 4 – Adventures in Steel Studs

The primary goal in this bathroom remodel was to replace the ‘locker room from hell shower/bath’  into the sybaritic pleasure of a jacuzzi tub. Getting there from here is what makes remodeling fun. Some folks collect things, some folks drink, I remodel.

We decided to install a water heater to furnish hot water to this end of the house. In Episode 1, I mentioned that the original water heater is 80 feet away from this bathroom. The electricity is even further away, but this is a framing episode.

Off the bathroom is a little storage shed created by extending a privacy wall and roofing it. Until recently it was a shelter for the dogs during storms.

Well, the dogs are not that big, and we can put the water heater out here, move the door and add some sorely needed storage space. So we will put up some walls and a ceiling.


Steel studs are my material of choice here. I am using 1 5/8” studs and track. (the blue and orange stores only carry 2 1/2 and 3 1/2” studs and track. You need a drywall supply store to find these. These are non load bearing walls which is why we are using lite gauge (26)studs. I am using these to get the maximum space and to overcome some of the framing challenges.

I could have used 1” ‘hat channel’ vertically, which is another type of steel material, but the size saving, extra work and details made it not worth it. (think shooting yourself in the foot or framing challenges.)

The floor is sloped for water runoff when it was a privacy wall, the block walls are not plumb or square, and they are covered with stucco. The ceiling was framed off the original eave line, and the strangest joist hangers were used.

First up is to frame the doorway.


I probably glossed over how short the ceiling was. Establishing square was interesting as nothing was. Once I had the doorway framed up, I proceeded to frame up the short wall on the left. I insulated the ceiling and short pony walls before drywalling this wall.


I then did the back wall framing so that I had a line for installing the new ceiling. The nice thing about doing this is that you can build a solid straight wall quickly.

Once I had that accomplished, I could establish a line for covering up the low hanging joist hangers as well as creating a line for the soffit needed to carry the electricity and maybe a light or two. Now I will be framing up the door wall on the right, but not until after the plumber and electrician have their way with us.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 3 – Glass Blocks

Parts are stacking up. The new water heater, the jacuzzi, inline heater, doors and drywall.


Meanwhile demo and construction continues. This bath suffers from a spectacular lack of natural light. We will fix that.  Since we have this east wall and some glass block, we will bring in some morning light.  The original plan was to equally space the blocks across the long
wall. That changed to Plan B when I discovered that one of the filled
courses(a common technique in concrete block construction) was in the
middle of one of the openings. Also typical is the interior framing which is 2×2’s attached to the block with cut nails.


So now the blocks will be grouped together. The bath area has a soffit for electric runs and as a detail and the hole for the east glass blocks is open.


We are also installing one in the toilet area as well.


Next up Adventures in Plumbing.