Monday, June 23, 2008

This Olde House - Bathroom Studs

Many moons ago, I took the bathroom down to the studs. Last weekend (I have to have pictures around here somewhere!) my cousin Bobby Daniels helped get the old pipes and drains replaced. He also helped put in the new tub.

Unfortunately, there was a 1.5 gap between the back of the tub and the existing studs. Bobby suggested that I should "fir" the whole wall, to get it even. I called my father-in-law, Robert, and he said I could just fir the wall behind the tub. It would create a small, one inch, difference between the new wall and the original wall. I liked that idea better than fir'ing the entire wall. And (thankfully) Cindy agreed.

So, yesterday, I measured everything three times. The additions to the studs would require two 1.5" boards and two 1.25" boards. I don't have a table saw (yet) so I thought Lowe's would be able to rip the boards for me. Of course, I thought wrong. They wouldn't do it. I ended up buying some 2 x 3s and taking them to my Grandfather's old tablesaw. Either the blade was too thick, or it was too dull, or both. But it took an hour to rip four boards. And the smoke the hot blade produced as it cut the wood was horrible. It choked me and burned my eyes for hours.

Today, after I got home, I grabbed a collage of tools and went to work getting the new pieces in place.

First, I checked my cuts and pushed the boards into place. The fit was tight and (much to my amazement) I wouldn't need to make any modifications. It all fit the first time. From the top photo, I used a level to make sure everything was straight. Tested the top, the middle, and the bottom of each board.

Next, I pulled the new fir back gently and ran a bead of Liquid Nails between the two boards. I don't know if I absolutely needed to do that, but I figured it wouldn't hurt. With the glue keeping everything in place, I grabbed the cordless nailer, and went to town. From the second picture, I started up top and traveled down. Tap tap tap. The fir went in smooth like butter.

Finally, from the third picture, I grabbed the cordless drill and carefully drilled the lip of the tub to the studs. A couple of places had fractional gaps (the tub is more square than the room is!) so I used some pre-fab shims from Lowes to close the gap, and just screwed right through them. That way, if somebody pushes on the sides of the tub, there will not be much give or flexibility.

Considering it was my first attempt at any such thing, I was surprised how well it went and how close the fit was. Next, I'll drop some pink insulation between the studs (mainly for acoustic improvements) and finalize the wiring with my father. Then I'm going to bite the bullet and pay somebody to hang, tape, and float the walls. I could do most of that myself, but I've got a lead on a guy who can do it MUUUUCH faster and at a reasonable price.

One way, or another, I still have to swap out the door to the bathroom and get ready for the tiling, too. I'm hoping to have the whole bathroom project completed by the end of July. I'm ready to move on to something else.

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