Since last Monday's progress report a lot of further progress has been made. If all goes well Rob will help me getting started with the tiling around this weekend. Read on for the gory details.
Tuesday to Thursday I finished off the sheeting of the bathtub frame, took care of the plumbing and waterproofed the surrounds of the tub. Then the shiny spout got temporarily replaced by the shower hose and I had a well-deserved, pleasant soak.
The rubber ducky agrees: this tub rocks - figuratively speaking, because it doesn't move at all: loads of supports for the bottom and a good frame, plus oodles of silicon to fix things in place.
On to the next stage: getting rid of the shower, fixing the damage behind the wall or walls there and creating a new shower setup. I started this part on Saturday with ripping out the shower and assessing the damage to fix. That also lead to this reno run's last heavy carrying session - lugging tons of broken tiles, bad mortar and the like to the bin and/or driving to the waste transfer place is not my idea of fun.
The crap removal session brought some positive surprises, however: less damage than I had feared. Miraculously the timber and wall between bath and my bedroom were completely sound, and only the wall bath/hallway was damaged, but even that was less bad than I had expected. As usual I got some reinforcement of my bad feelings towards QLD building standards and builders.
The second image shows that there was no waterproofing whatsoever except a steel tray with not very high sides.
On the first image you see how the cheap fucks installed the tray: drop it on the concrete slab, glue in a collar for the final drain with a badly made puddle flange, then simply pour in about 4cm of tile mortar and plop the tiles in. Presto, instant shower, and off they were to the next lousy job.
Of course without waterproofing and proper means of drainage under the tiles the steel tray still had some water in it and loads of really wet mortar, after not having been used at all for three days. Getting rid of the tray required the angle grinder to cut the drain collar off as you can see on the second photo. The third shows the one spot where the tiles leaked not into the tray but behind, and then there's the cleaned-up state as of Sunday.
On Sunday I did some more plumbing, and this time had good success with the silver soldering. If you look at the first shower removal photo you can see how the lazy builders didn't install any fittings for the vanity but just let the copper pipe tails poke out from the wall. Obviously I couldn't leave that as it was!
However the cheap bastards also didn't give me any chance of completely avoiding soldering pipes because the cold water pipe had its tee immediately behind and facing the hole where the pipe poked out. Also the location of the pipes was less than ideal with the new, wider tub and narrower vanity, so I decided to bite the bullet and fix things up properly while the sheeting was off or easily accessible. As you can see on the photo above first I plumbed in two tees and added proper threaded outlets (with self-made stopper caps). This time the water shutoff worked without any problems whatsoever and the bucket was just an unnecessary precaution. Then I cut off the useless old tails, squeezed the ends shut, bent the cold one out of the way and -keeping my fingers crossed- soldered the ends shut. I did make one mistake: While I put villaboard everywhere to keep the torch from, well, torching the house, I forgot that the tees were already fully set and thus cooked one plastic olive. This was easily fixed, though. Then I left that side in peace and open for observation and turned to the wall repair.
Yesterday after work I cut out the bottoms of the studs and removed the rotten part of the bottom plate (which was butt-joined with two lousy nails to the right of the water damage. Convenient for me this time, but still pretty lousy workmanship). Sawing off the timbers obviously didn't do anything nice to the crumbly plasterboard in the hallway. The replacement sheets for that are already waiting and I just have to find a moment to fix that, which might take a while as the hallway side of things is not critical timing-wise.
Me being me, I properly fixed the timber structure next. Cut pieces for the studs, sistered the studs and reinforced the joints of the bottom plate, all with lots of screws of course.
Me being my father's son, I almost ran out of villaboard and ended up doing a bit of puzzle work that cost me some more in plaster and time but didn't waste any smaller villaboard pieces. Then I plastered the cracks with reinforcing tape, soaked my tired muscles and went to bed.
Today after work I started working on the shower drainage and the hob. One thing is quite certain: I have no chance whatsoever of having a second career that involves masonry.
For the drain I got a proper puddle flange and cement-welded the pipes in, and afterwards used space invader foam (construction foam) to fill up the void: I could have mortared it up completely but that would be so very...permanent and hard to undo. (Not that I plan to renovate this bathroom again.)
Then I cut the aerated concrete blocks (Hebel/Ytong) to size and started mortaring them to the floor (with a bit of bondcrete to improve the fix). Oh how that sucked! Even with all kinds of good tips from Rob I felt really bad about this bit of work. We'll see how my workmanship holds up after drying out. Afterwards I decided to do all the mortar mess now - or at least as far as I could and had material for. Being my father's son I ran out of concrete+sand mix after levelling/filling the void under the old vanity as you can see on the second photo. Actually the surface is a lot flatter and better than the photo shows. The shower recess will get its mortar base (with proper gradient) tomorrow when I've been to the shops.
And, to finish off a busy day, I then put up the first coat (of two) of waterproofing membrane on the shower walls.