Start With A Shower… (By Chad Vankoughnett)

Welcome to the brand new J&H Builder’s Warehouse Blog! To get us started off right, I thought I would tell a story. No facts have been altered, no names have been changed to protect the innocent…this recently happened to me at my house.

Last week I was doing some renovations, trying to plumb in a new bathroom in my home. When we bought the house, we knew that sooner than later we would need to do this work, as our house has 4 half baths and only 1 shower (our house has no tub…can you believe that?). In order to accommodate the new location and added fixture, I had to replace the soil stack (you know, that large black pipe standing in your laundry room). I had already cut all the attached pipes, but for some reason the stack just wouldn’t come out. I “gently” tried to encourage the pipe out of position, at which point one of the water lines to the old bathroom suddenly burst apart and tried to drown me in a torrential outpouring of hot water. In my haste to get off my ladder, I grabbed the drain line from the kitchen and put my thumb through the bottom of the fully rotten pipe, adding somewhat to the scope of my intended renovations. I managed to get the water main turned off without anything else getting destroyed, then went about trying to discover what had just happened.

It turns out that the hot water line to the old bathroom needed to go around the soil stack. Instead of adding a couple of elbows to the old line, the last person to do the work decided to see how well copper bends, and simply forced it around the stack to fit it into the T (which could have gone anywhere in the line…I’m still not sure why it had to be there). Of course, this put a lot of tension on the pipe and as a result it could only be pushed a couple of millimeters into the joint. Recognizing that this probably wasn’t sufficient, the “plumber” who did the work then wired the pipe to the stack to hold it in place.

Needless to say, a 40 minute job became a much larger situation as a result.

There are some lessons to be learned here. First, before you start any renovation, make sure you go over every inch of what needs to happen just to make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises. Oh, you will anyway, don’t kid yourself, but at least this way you can say you tried. Secondly, be ready to laugh at yourself. Blistering the paint with a verbal tirade after something goes wrong might briefly feel good, but it makes the neighbours uncomfortable, and let’s face it, it never helps to get the job done and all you really end up with is a sore throat.

Above all, if you don’t know what you are doing, please call a professional. It might cost a little more at the outset, but if it all goes wrong (as it so often does) it will cost a lot more to get the basement dried out and the carpet replaced than it would have to get the job done right in the first place. We can help you with this. Not only can we provide professional installation for all our products, we can give you time saving and helpful advice to help you avoid those unforeseen catastrophes.

Good luck, and happy renovating!

– Chad Vankoughnett