Renovating an investment condo – Day #5

I think in every reno, there’s a glitchy day where a lot goes wrong. Today was one of them.

Once Alex took out the tub surround, he discovered that the existing tub is about 3″ shorter than standard size. In order to make it fit,  someone created a second wall out of drywall, actually making the bathroom smaller. The good news is that the bathroom is bigger than it appears. The bad news is that to fit a standard 60″ tub, we will have to redo the plumbing, which will run up the expense.

Today was the day we were going to clean up the plumbing and replace shut off valves.

Scott Zietak, my plumber,  arrived to discover that the property manager couldn’t get the cold water in the unit to stop running, even after she shut off the riser. She tried a number of different valves and we simply couldn’t get it stop. We lost a good half hour or more trying to solve that problem before we realized the only way to do it was to shut off water to the entire building, which the property manager didn’t want to do.

Finally, Scott suggested that instead of replacing the main valve to the unit, which was quite old, as I’d hoped to do, we could put a new one in front of it. (That sounds like a small issue, but it means that about 8″ of plumbing  sticks out into the middle of the room; we were going to run that plumbing against the wall and out of the way). Scott asked the property manager to wait while he shut off the old valve as he was quite concerned that it could break and cause a leak. Thank God, it shut off without a problem.

Having resolved the plumbing issues, more or less,  I called Lowes to let them know my contractor would be coming down to pick up the tub I purchased last week and to ask them if they could have it ready. They told me they had no record of the purchase, or me, for that matter,  in their system. That meant I had to go down in person to sort it out.

An hour and a half later, with an paid order in hand that said right on it, “For Pickup Later,” I finally had the tub and I had also purchased a vanity. I called Alex  to tell him they were ready and initially he said he’d be there in 20 minutes. Then he realized that that his truck was full of construction debris (the old tub and surround and a bunch of garbage)  that he would have to take it to the dump (45 minutes away) before he could get there.

It was now around 12:30 and I had been standing at Lowes since 10:00 so I really wasn’t anxious  to spend at least another hour and a half waiting there.  (I’d been there so long a customer asked me if I was a security guard!). I told him to leave the garbage on my front lawn and come on down to pick up the tub and that’s what he did. He and Julio then had to make an additional trip back to the condo, drop off the new fixtures, and then come back to my place to reload the construction debris and take it to the dump.

By then it was 4, so I ran some errands, then I went back to the condo to finish painting the bedrooms, to discover when I got there that the water was still off to the unit, so I couldn’t rinse out my brushes. Luckily I didn’t  do anything stupid the way  I did yesterday when I put the leg of my stepladder into a can of paint and had to submerge it in a bucket of water to get the paint off!

Still, I pity Alex and Julio tomorrow when they come back to finish demolishing the kitchen. It’s going to be a scorcher and they won’t have any running water or a working toilet. Needless to say, there’s no A/C in the unit! (Alex  is from El Salvador and says it reminds him of home.)

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