Gentlemen, listen to your wives. Last Friday I was reviewing my weekend plans: buy a sledgehammer, destroy the sink cabinet and countertop, clean up the mess, and draw Xs through the next five hundred weekends that I’d be doing the bathroom rebuild project. Our neighbor was out mowing his lawn. A retired plumber and genuine handyman, he was a resource I hadn’t tapped into yet.
“Go out and ask his advice on the bathroom,” prodded my wife.
To my surprise, I actually did. We chatted about the problem at hand and he asked to come in and see it. “Sure, what are neighbors for?” he replied. He wordlessly inspected the floor, peeked under the cabinet, stroked his chin and looked at the offending leaky pipe that disappeared into the wall.
“Oh sure, that’d be easy to fix,” he said with a shrug. He then went on to describe the plumbing parts necessary, and the process of drilling vent holes in the cabinet, spraying the insides with bleach/water, and drying the whole thing out. Then he recommended a spray paint to encapsulate the mold as well as possible.
“So I won’t have to demolish the cabinet and countertop?” I asked while trying to suppress a wavery tone of glee.
“No need. Tell you what, I’ll do the plumbing for you. Hundred bucks.”
My jaw dropped, as our last two estimates were a thousand and four hundred. So readers, here is a near-mistake you can learn from: before you start swinging a sledgehammer, ask a retired plumber his thoughts.
With that good news, I spent Saturday ripping up the rest of the bad plywood in the bathroom, seen here in its denuded state.
Then came the drilling, bleach spraying, and setting up of the fans. It only took another hour on Sunday to saturate the inside of the cabinet base with spray paint with the enthusiasm of a surly baggy-panted youth faced with a blank wall.
By Monday night, after two days of fans and dry weather, the bathroom no longer smelled like mold and death, it smelled like old wood. Hooray! I’ll be putting another coat of paint in there this week and tackling the plumbing on Friday with the help of my neighbor. And when I say tackling, I mean I’ll be standing behind him while he plumbs, offering periodic words of support.
Tune into part 3 next week when I attempt to install a wax ring on a toilet, lay down new flooring, and try to avoid a trip to the emergency room.