I dream of shower construction
Friday was interesting, I’d been dreaming about fitting out the shower and I woke with a splendid new plan of attack. I wandered into the bathroom, surveyed the empty area that eventually would become a wonderful walk-in shower, congratulated my subconscious self on a plan well planned, wandered out of the bathroom and promptly – within five minutes – forgot my cunning night-time plan, all of it, just gone. Sheesh, flipping dreams just slipping away and worrying too to think that now I dream of shower construction techniques.
Friday was the start of my weekend, I had taken two days off to get work done but first of all I had other fish to fry, apart from the dreaming about the house it now had to wait its turn as there was the urgent matter of getting my life in order. This coupled with some material shopping meant that at the end of the two days I only managed to employ a day and bit of work on the house.
Before I rattled off breakfast I needed to sort out a delivery from Travis Perkins, I’d been bothering them all week with quote requests. I now had what I needed firmly fixed in my mind, all I had to do was get them to dispatch it on their delivery wagon today – three lengths of C16 175mmx47mmx4.8m – and I’d be ready to go for the shower subfloor. So 7:30am and a quick call and as I should have known the wagon was loaded and they couldn’t fit a toothpick on it now, let alone three lumps of timber. So plan two, I needed to get the timber cut down to car size and I’d needed to pick them up personally.
Washing duties, general tidying, bedroom smartening, make paths in piles of tools, look for tigers in garden, de-clutter paperwork, descale kitchen, bank statement wincing … etc.
Lots of stuff that needed doing as I’d basically not been in the house, apart from sleeping, since Saturday. Sunday I was looking after Izzi all day at my folks and got home at 11:00 pm, Monday was a late night duty at work and I didn’t even bother going home, Tuesday was looking after Izzi and I didn’t get back until 12:30am and Wednesday was the same apart from not getting back until 12:45am.
Thursday night I popped up my folks to pick up a shower base that had been delivered there earlier in the week. Surprisingly the shower weighed about as much as a baby hippo and apart from dismantling the car to get it in I also needed help from one of my parents’ lovely neighbours Chris to get the flaming thing in the car.
Further to Chris’ generosity he also donated a handful of working gloves and a lovely bike attachment for Izzi too. People are just darned generous and nice when you scratch the surface y’know.
Further to the generosity of spirit, a friend also did me a favour in producing a template for my shower fitting, basically I needed two perfectly vertical holes drilling in a lump of timber (I don’t have a pillar drill) to aid placement of the pipes for when I’d be fitting the shower bar. Richard you’re a star too!
Anyway I digress, yes I’d been away for days, yes I had a shower tray in the car, what’s this got to do with Friday on my two day weekend.
Well all this housework and I’d been avoiding the elephant in the room – or baby hippo in the car.
I had a huge shower base in my car and no-one to help me into the house with it.
Back brace on, arm braces on, builders’ gloves on, safety boots on, open boot of car and heave-ho accompanied by one desperate struggle later, a hernia operation avoided and I had one shower tray into the house.
Goodness knows how I’ll get it up the stairs.
So once the car was emptied it was onto the shopping list of oddments I’d be needing to get the shower started.
Lots of measuring and reading later, the the Screwfix items were reserved on-line, the timber was figured out at 3x 1.6m lengths of each 4.8m length of timber (this was to allow it to be loaded into the car and then subsequently fitted into the shower space too) and I was ready to go shopping… I even had some food shopping to do too.
A Travis Perkins, Tesco and Screwfix visit later and I was home and having some lunch.
After lunch I emptied the car of the booty, I adjusted the seats, refitted the baby seat and sorted out the boot contents. Back onto finishing the washing and general tidying and that was it, I could now get on with some work on the house.
So the first job was to paint the shuttering and the studwork in the thermal store room. I’d removed the shuttering from its temporary fitting and I gave it a liberal coat of Dulux brilliant white emulsion. After this it was some nasty work painting the studwork – this had to done blind – and painting the walls and freshly plastered ceiling. This was hateful work, not only was I precariously balanced on a ladder reaching over the store but it was really hot, dusty and dangerous work. This had to be done at both ends of the room and once completed I relaxed in the knowledge that I’d be painting a second coat.
It was now 6:30pm, yes and that’s’ without any slacking, time just flies past.
Next it was food and then it was a trip to see Izzi and put her to bed.
11:30 and back home the paint had all dried nicely, so what better way to end an evening than paint on the second coat up until 1:15am in the morning.
Saturday morning and an early start, despite being up until the early hours painting I needed to get some work done. Time and money was running short on this project, every moment was worth its’ weight in gold… quite literally.
Anyway a quick breakfast and the first thing I did was strip out all the wood, skirting, an ancient lamp fitting, pipework etc. in the shower area. Some healthy manly work with a reciprocating saw and crowbar later and the room was stripped bare.
After this it was onto stripping out the floor-boarding in the shower area, this was a nasty job as it involved gently prising out the boards to preserve them for use in the bathroom floor and cutting boards mid-length with a multi-tool, thank goodness I got the new sharp blade for my marvellous multi-tool tool. So a bit of jemmying and sawing and I’d only damaged a couple of boards and the room was floor-less. Once done it was out with a couple of buckets and I filled them with the shrapnel of wood and timber that had been left under the floorboards.
On removing the floor I set about removing a bit of pipework that had represented a redundant overflow, much sawing and pulling and I opened a largish hole in the exterior wall where the pipe had drained outside. What could have been bad news turned out good as I no longer had to drill a hole for the new shower drain, wahee brilliantly planned 🙂 I do expect a swallow to start nesting it in though.
This now finished I could now fit the final bit of shuttering, I could have done it earlier but it would have got in the way of the floor-board removal. Now the boards had all been removed it was time to re-fit the shuttering, the new problem was that as I had removed the floor and I no longer had anything to rest my stepladders on, oops. A bit of chipboard hunting later and I was teetering atop my ladders upon a bed of chipboard sheets and pinning freshly painted shuttering to my freshly painted stud-work. A couple of close calls later and the shuttering was firmly in place.
Next a single bit of shuttering was needed to be cut to finish the job of boarding out the right hand side of the shower. A bit of sawing and a bit of screwing and the right side was done, I’d been a bit worried about it not being flat but it was like an ironing board once screwed down tight.
Next the floor, a quick wave of the spirit level and I was applauding the flatness of the floor, but hey why did it feel so out of kilter, oh hang on try the level the other way and dammit it was really out of kilter.
This was the story for this corner of the house, it had settled out over the years, the builders had informed me that one day it must have just shrugged and flopped down onto where it was now. A chimney fire might have been responsible, it might have been the groundworks, who knew, what mattered though was that the settling was historical it would not move again. To underline this though I’d done my bit in securing the structure, extra belt and bracing, inserting a large steel beam where a supporting wall seemed to have been mistakenly removed and jacking up the sagging ceiling and fixing it into place with stretcher beams. All this work was done to further secure the structure and it was totally solid now, all this done and unfortunately the floor was still out of kilter, it just hadn’t been done and it needed to be fixed.
So spirit level in hand and it was on with the floor levelling, a bit of bubble centring and I quickly found the highest floor joist, the trick was now to get the other joists up to that height. So working from the highest point I bridged to each joist with the level attaching a length of structural timber to each side of each low joist, effectively sandwiching it between fresh and level structural timbers and steadily I brought the whole floor back to an even surface.
Once this was done I wanted to build up the floor so as the walk-in shower was a step-up and walk-in affair. This could be achieved easily and would helpfully make the drainage much easier and it would also further reinforce the foundations of the shower base. First of all I fixed four lengths of my newly acquired timber to the walls of the shower, securing it to the masonry with Fisher plugs and screws, really really solid, it would take five baby hippos alone, this was then coupled to the other base fittings and the resulting structure would now arguably support the house.
Once done I calculated the position of the drain in the shower base and ran three stretcher beams onto the newly levelled joist timbers fixing them in turn to the wall fitted joists. The base was finished now, it was as solid as a large boulder.
Unbelievably though these jobs took me the entire day, further unbelievable was the fact that I was physically worn out, my buttocks had taken a bashing 😮 and the next morning I suffered from a distinctive Cockney walk, disappointed that I’d not tested myself thoroughly enough I decided on a four mile run 🙂 such a pillock…