The pipes are in! One giant hurdle was down, but boy we had a long way to go still. We are about three months into this project all said and done, and boy, we are all super ready for this to be finished! Left on the to-do list:
- build a bump out to accommodate piping at the “front” of the shower
- install sub-flooring
- install the drain pipe
- Build a box up to accommodate the drain pipe
- hang cement board
- create drain pan
- add waterproofing
- install door
As you can see, there are a lot of steps left! But we are dedicated to this process now, and we will persevere!
The copper piping at the “front” of the shower is just forward of the studs. With the fiberglass surround, that was fine, because the sides of the surround are rounded out slightly, about a half inch, to accommodate for the piping. Given that we were going to attach the cement boards directly to the studs, this wouldn’t work in our case. Instead we needed to create a “bump out”. This would let us to attach the cement board to the wood bump out, which would allow for the clearance needed for those copper pipes. We just used some 2×4 boards and essentially created a frame. This gave us the spacing we needed. It took some head scratching to figure out what to do, but ultimately this was pretty simple.
Installing the drain pipe might have actually been the easiest thing we did during this whole process. We wanted the drain to be centered inside of our new shower, which was as simple as measuring and marking where center was, and then measuring PVC pipe that was the right lengths to get us there. We capped off the old bit of pipe and created a bend to take that pipe straight out from the wall to the middle of our shower (left to right). A small bend was used and a tiny piece of pipe to make it center again (front to back), then a bend up, and voila! We glued the whole assembly together and ta-da! Drain pipe done! Why couldn’t the whole process go this easy?
Now the only problem with the drain pipe was that it now set on top of the new floor, which means we needed to accommodate for it’s height. Previously, the little bit of height needed for the old drain pipe had been accommodated by the fiberglass surround. Those things are built with these things in mind, after all. But now we needed to accommodate for this. So we built a box.
Now remember, we are fat kids, and so we wanted this to be made super duper sturdy. So we created our box with a series of braces running across it, there was no way that this thing was going to give like the fiberglass had. We had to make sure that we left space for the drain pipe, but every where else we wanted a grid essentially of wood. We used 2×6 lumber to create this, as it would give enough of a rise to clear that pipe. It was a little hard to maneuver this box into place, but once we got it in, we screwed it to the existing wall studs so that it wasn’t going to go anywhere. Then we topped off the box with a piece of 3/4 inch sub-flooring, and cut a whole in the middle for the drain pipe. We then very tentatively stepped on up… this was the moment of truth, after all. Nothing. It didn’t move, groan, or bow. Nothing. It was a rock. We both stepped up on it. Nothing. We jumped about. Nothing. We had made a fat person proof platform! Go us!
Now before we decided we were ready for the cement board, there was two things we wanted to do: 1.) create a couple of built in shelves. 2.) Test the pipes.
Creating the built in shelves was a snap. We took a couple of measurements, and essentially just built some boxes out of 2×4. We are going to tile this inset later, creating a nice shelf for all of the shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. After all, we are going to have this beautiful shower, why use one of those tacky shower caddies? The boxes were built and installed in just an hours time, although they are going to make more work for us in the cement board and tiling phase.
Lastly, we wanted to test the pipes. During this whole process, the water had been turned off to the bathroom. We didn’t want any accidents to occur, and we are amateurs: accidents were going to happen. We got Jasmine’s hands involved with this one… Joshua and Jasmine held buckets up to the spigots for the new shower heads. I cautiously turned on the water as I held a bucket under the lower spigot (we left a tub spigot, in case we want to have a place to fill buckets from). I put my hand over the spigot, blocking the flow of the water, which is what your shower assembly does when you turn it from tub to shower. About two seconds went by, and it was a long two seconds, and then whoosh! Water rushed from the shower heads! All of them! We gave the shower heads a few seconds to run before turning the water back off, and then began the search. Were any of the pipes wet? Did anything seem to be leaking? We were expecting that there would be at least one solder spot that would need to be touched up, but very much to our amazement, there was nothing. No drips. No leaks. We had done it!
Now it was time for the cement board…