1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

Home | Blog | Kitchen | Entry Hall | Attic | Living + Dining |
Bedrooms | Bathrooms | Exterior | Want List | Links | Town

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Potty Rot

In our vigorous demolition of the bathroom this weekend, we made many discoveries. Some are good, some not so good.

The floor is both. Under the green carpet and plywood of the sink area, the original painted pine floor suffers only from a few nail holes. The brown paint is still smooth and lovely under all the drywall dust.

Under the tile and 3-4 inches of concrete in the tub-and-toilet area, the floor is a little rougher and the paint much more chipped. Still, most of it is perfectly good.

But, like the girl with the curl, when it is not very good indeed it is horrid. For example, the previous owners moved the toilet from one wall of a corner to the other, so the toilet faces a different way, leaving an extra several-inches-wide round hole in the floor next to the toilet opening.

Don’t ask me why they did this. Maybe they wanted to be able to admire the view of the fig tree out the window while they did their business. Maybe it made them feel one with nature, giving back to creation or something. Maybe they figured, “Heck, we’re covering this whole floor with concrete. What fool would tear that out?”

Whatever their reasoning, the hole is there, along with a toilet-shaped patch of gray paint on the wall.

But worse than the hole is the fact that whoever cut the hole for the second toilet placement, cut straight through the middle of a floor board, leaving one section of it totally unsupported and free to rot beautifully. The layer of concrete evened out the pressure on the boards, I guess, but if it had not been there, no way the toilet would’ve withstood a 21st-century-size person. The only thing holding it up would’ve been one poor, overworked board.

We have extra floor boards in the attic, so replacing these few in the corner will be no big deal. Still, it’s disconcerting seeing big patches of dirt through my bathroom floor.

Which brings me to another hole. A largish rectangle was cut in the floor under the tub to accommodate the drain pipe. I was hoping to move the tub toward the sink end of the room by a foot or so, but I loathe the thought of cutting another big swath in the floor. I don’t want new owners coming along in 30 years, ripping out all the things we did and saying, “My God, why would they mess up the floor this way over a difference of one foot?!”

The demo is close to finished – probably will be finished after this weekend if we can get in one good work day – and that leaves me with an almost-blank canvas to think about. It’s already turning into a much different bathroom than I anticipated when I first began planning this room. About this time last year, I posted, "At this rate, we'll be lucky if we can decide what to DO with the bathroom by next year."

I know myself well, huh?

We now have painted wood floors, beadboard on the walls – about 60 percent usable so far, I estimate – and a clearer picture of what the bathroom once was.

It’s hard to contemplate imposing my own vision and sensibilities on a room like that. I have to find a balance between my desire for a pretty, usable bathroom and my desire to change nothing. I'm not even sure anymore if we should tear out the existing 1960s cabinet/sink (and replace with a pedestal) or just repaint/hardware/countertop it.

My hope is that when all the demo is finished, I will lean against one wall, and the whole plan will unfold before me, perfect and complete.

Labels: ,


Meredith said...

So, do you plan to apply fresh paint over the floorboards or sand and refinish them instead?

6:20 PM  
John said...


I have a question about your tub.

In the post, you say you're worried about having to cut out another swath of flooring for your new tub's drain if you move it over a foot.

If I remember correctly, you're putting a claw foot tub in, right? If so, you shouldn't have to cut any gargantuan holes in the floor. Ideally, there should be three small holes: one drain line and two supply lines.

Check this link for a diagram:

In theory it's easy enough, but lining everything up correctly before you start cutting is the tricky part.

Also, one bit of advice regarding clawfoot tubs. If you get a clawfoot tub pay extra for supply lines WITH built-in shut off valves. It'll cost 25-50% more, but it is worth every damn penny.

8:25 AM  
Kristin said...

Meredith, we plan to sand and repaint. It appears the floors were always painted.

John, thanks for that diagram! You're totally right. I wasn't even thinking about that! And the existing hole in the floor could be filled in and it would be hidden under the tub.

9:38 AM  
Lenise said...

I was going to suggest a platform (as someone did on the "plan" post), but it sounds like you've got it figured out. Yay!

12:07 PM  
Denny said...

You guys are really making progress! It looks great! I have finally set up my own blog - I am working on a bathroom also.

7:16 PM  
Chris said...

We are finishing up a bathroom with a clawfoot tub also. I want to know why the supply lines for clawfoot tubs are so darn expensive. I was in shock looking at them on line.

7:15 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home