What started out as a simple down-pouring of sewer water all over everything in the basement bedroom closet — has turned into a real sewer saga!
Last time I updated you on my sewer saga I had torn all of the soggy sewer water saturated drywall out the basement bedroom closet. (Check out THIS post to read that story.)
My plumber J (so I don’t have to keep saying “my plumber”) had a plan which involved tearing out portions of drywall in the bedroom and bathroom. (More on that HERE.)
SO I tore out that drywall and J returned.
…and things went from bad to worse.
The Sewer Saga
Both the original plumber AND the inspector who passed the original plumbing get two very sarcastic “gold stars of excellence”! (They probably deserve more for things we haven’t found yet. The DO deserve several more for other things we have found but won’t talk about here because it will make the story way too long.)
- The area where the line turns the corner and changes direction has 0 slope. None. The rest of it has 1/8″per foot. They did exactly what was required because THAT’S code here for INSIDE plumbing Outside has to be 1/4″ per foot. But a good plumber knows better and should DO better. Even if local “code” isn’t up to par and doesn’t require it. Seriously.
- The drain pipe below the clean-out for the basement shower is 2″ all the way into the concrete floor. It should be 3″ or 4″ below the clean-out. If it WERE at least 3″ then our original plan to re-route the powder room drain line to that basement shower drain line would have worked and we’d be done with this story.
- Maybe the inspector doesn’t deserve a gold star. Most likely things that most plumbers in the USA use as “Best Practices” are not “code” here in Boondoxville.
So — we had to come up with a new plan. Utterly discouraged, I left J and his assistant to figure it out.
There was activity in the attic, in and out of the house, lots of talking and I’m sure head shaking…then they left for lunch and didn’t return hours. I thought they had thrown in the towel. The hadn’t. It took them a hearty lunch and a few hours of engaging all their brain power to come to a decision on HOW to best fix my plumbing issues.
Apparently, there’s no way to fix it without adding a whole lot more work, time and expense (as well as emotional defeat). I only vaguely remember the specifics of a few parts of what J said at that point. I was feeling quite angry and frustrated with the situation. Not with J.
The new plan was for me to tear out all the drywall on the bedroom wall. Then build another wall in front of the existing one so they could run a new drain down the wall to get enough slope.
When started tearing out the wall I discovered a couple things.
- The drywall is attached to 2×2’s.
- The cinder block walls are holding the house so the 2×2’s are just there to attach the drywall. OK
- No moisture barrier
- There’s obviously treatment on the outside.
- Is it necessary?
- I’ve read enough to know that I could ask 10 pros and get 8 different answers.
- There’s obviously treatment on the outside.
- No insulation
- Is it necessary?
- Same thoughts as above.
- Is it necessary?
Not sure what I’m going to do about this but I’ve got to tear it all out so I keep going.
I find what looks like mildew spotted all around the drain pipe. I tore out more drywall on the opposite wall to see if the whole wall was covered with it. It wasn’t thank goodness. Just behind the pipe. I’m assuming that’s because of the water IN the pipe…condensation…I’ll have to sort that out.I tore out more than J needed me to — but I felt I had to explore and see if other unseeable jank was going on behind the walls. I didn’t find anything else. So –that’s something.
J wanted me to open up more of the bathroom ceiling to so I did that as well.
When J was here, he explained a few of other options he had considered…but that wouldn’t work…because of other issues he saw while looking for a fix to the CURRENT issue.
Other possible plumbing issues
- They scoped down the shower clean-out to see if we could jack hammer a small area in the bathroom to get to the main drain line and re-plumb it (properly).
- But something wasn’t right about the situation there.
- They scoped from the toilet (which does not even have a clean-out) to see how it tied into the shower and to the main drain out of the house.
- Something also not right about that.
At that time brain shut down. I couldn’t take any more bad news at that time. I did ask the downstairs bathroom plumbing was something we needed to dig into and fix. J said it may never be a problem and we may never need to do anything with it. I was happy to accept that get our focus back on what needed to be done to fix the present issue.
And I’ve done all that. I’ve torn into the bedroom, bathroom and closet.
BUT…I’ve had a nagging in the back of my brain since J’s last visit. We have a plan for a fix that issue. However, I’m not convinced the right course of action is to ignore the basement bathroom plumbing issues and continuing with repairs to the upstairs powder room plumbing issues. I think we might need to jack hammer the basement bathroom (possibly the bedroom too depending on how much “jankiness” we find) and FIX all the plumbing in this whole section of the house!
I admit that this whole sewer saga has really tested my emotional/mental elasticity (ability to “bounce back”?). There have been times during these last few weeks that I’ve felt like a chicken without a head. Not knowing exactly to do because there’s too much to do. Working on this here, that there and none of it getting me any closer to anything rewarding. It’s all just a lot of physically taxing work to tear out what I hadn’t planned on touching so we can simply put it back together — basically just like it was (only without the shitty plumbing)! In all honesty, I’ve taken a lot of naps. Lots of days I just felt like crying. Since I’m being completely honest, I DID have a good cry one day.
I think it was necessary –and good for me. ‘Cause now I’m ready to kick this house’s a$$ and get sh*t done!
However, not in this space. Wes and I are not on the same page as to how far we need to dig into this. Which is good because we don’t need to do this NOW. We will continue to NOT use the powder room toilet. And won’t do anything until we figure out the long term, big picture, really fixing everything solution — that Wes and I both can agree on.
So, we’re hitting the “pause” on any more work in the basement bedroom/closet/bathroom. This has really thrown a wrench in my 6 month plan so now I have to REALLY HUSTLE!
Oh man! That’s awful. I’m so sorry to read all of this. I can’t offer you much, but I can offer you a nice stiff drink the next time you are in Nashville, my treat.
Imma take you up on that next time I’m up your way!
Brittany Bailey says
I’m sooo sorry my friend. I hate when unexpected mole hills turn into mountains.
Thanks Brittany! You of all people know about mountains out of molehills. I appreciate the encouragement.
Plumbing problems are no fun. I’m feeling a little discouraged as well.
Bought a dishwasher drawer for my tiny vintage kitchen, and then hubby moved to another state, so money went toward the move, not my kitchen. Then started working on removing and sanding doors and cleaning hardware when I came back after setting up his apartment. In middle of that, a contractor I’ve been waiting for had time for a project I contacted him about early Spring. So kitchen was put on hold again, while we worked on garage siding and leveling and concrete repair and drainage. Started work on garden since I was outside anyway with garage and the had chance to hire some neighborhood kids, so that is half done too. Almost finished with garage, but contractor had to move onto another project and fit me in as time permits, had days of rain, and now I got a leak in the upstairs bath to the downstairs powder room. So I got kitchen and bath stuff in boxes all over the downstairs. My kitchen is barely functional, I’m afraid to use my only shower upstairs, and my yard and garage still aren’t finished. Yikes.
Kathy that sounds beyond discouraging. It’s so frustrating trying to work with contractors because us lowly homeowners do not take precedence over the big companies that give them repeat and bigger jobs. I hope you get everything sorted out. And that you don’t have any more leaks, storms, moves and schedule changes from your contractor.
A good cry is a great reset and you guys are so wise to stop and evaluate. Go work on something else and let your subconscious run the possibilities. Heart’s hurting (& po’d) for you!
Thanks Guerrina. It did help and I’m ready to knock some sh*t out. Somewhere! LOL
Teresa Kirkland says
I feel so bad for you sweetness. Chin up though, I know you’ll put your big girl pants on and kick things into high gear! In time, when things are on the right road, you’ll laugh and say, “what a pain in the ass that was”, and eat a gallon of ice cream. 😉 Can’t wait to see what you do next 🙂
LOL High gear is kicking in. I’m ready to grab the bull by the horn!
Barbara H. says
I second what Guerrina says. It’s too much for right now and the subconscious can be an amazing problem identifier and solver. Keeping my fingers crossed for a happy outcome.
I hope my subconscious comes up with some really damn good ideas. 😀
Ron S says
My heart goes out to you! Having even small projects cascade into larger and larger issues can be discouraging.
I will remind you of all the incredible projects you have done and the encouragement and knowledge you bring to so many with your work, your wit, and your special humor (yes, it will return).
Time to take a step back, as you said. Clear your mind and get your energy back.
Thanks for all you bring us!
Thanks Ron. I appreciate that. It’s just a frustrating situation all the way around. But it won’t break me. I’m over my down emotions about it already. I’ll probably continue to have my mad emotions about it when I start working on it again but anger sometimes fuels the workhorse in me– so I’ll get a lot done! It’s the down emotions that take away my drive and shut me down –And those are gone. Long gone! Seriously! 😀
Ok not LONG gone — but they are gone.
Susan Stanley says
Well, what a mess this has turned into for your family. Little disruptions can send me over the hill screaming. I don’t know what I would do in your position. I just had tile start to fall off the wall around our only bathtub. I have watched you tube videos and it seems like no one has one way they solve the problem. Sounds sort of like your situation only on a smaller scale.
I’ve learned there’s no answer that is the right answer for everyone. The good thing about your tile situation is that no matter how you choose to fix it, it’s not going to cause more problems in other areas down the road. Unless the tiles falling off is an indication of a bigger problem behind the tile or under the tub? Good luck Susan! I hope you get it figured out.
sandi W says
This problem I can relate to on ALL levels.At this VERY moment I too am having these plumbing issues.Main floor bathroom…when I flush the toilet water shoots out of the sinks and sometimes out of the shower drain…can not use the shower or I will have monsoon raining in my laundry room in the basement….no one wants to mess with this one….the kitchen area is fine to use….dishwasher ect. Good thing I have a second bathroom…..also when I bought the house I was not told about the separate septic tank for the main floor…yes the tank is empty……and the plumbing is totally screwed up…goody goody…:/..Good Luck w/yours….Good Luck w/mine…:(
Oh my! A whole extra septic tank? That is empty? It sounds like your main floor plumbing line is completely backed up — like mine was. That’s what was happening here. Running the sink would make the toilet gurgle… OhMaGah I hope you get it figured out and fixed with as little demo and expense possible. Very sincere, heart felt — good luck!
I’m so sorry you’re going through ugh all this because of one person’s inept work. It sounds like such a nightmare. I hope hitting the pause button helps you find balance and renewed energy to figure out what to do.
My home has had 4 sinkholes under it in the last 15 years. The latest one is ongoing now. Not a persons’ ineptness, but mother nature’s joke on us. If I’ve learned anything in all this upheaval is just take everything one day at a time. Try not to focus on the big picture. Ask yourself “what needs to be done today” and tackle that. It’s more manageable that way.
Hang in there.
Dorothy you’ve had four sink holes under your house!?! That’s like a worst nightmare situation! I frequently nightmare about falling into a black hole… I’m so sorry! One day at a time. I can do that. Let’s do that!
Charisse Andrews says
I can only sympathize with you, but if I were closer, first, I would help you, then I would pour you a glass of wine and serve you some gooey dessert.Then go ahead and cry some more. It can be cleansing. When we were building a new home years ago, it had just gotten framed when a severe wind storm blew the darn thing down. Then it got reframed, insulation board, tyvek, and another storm tore it all to shreds. Oh yeah, I cried. It finally got built, and some of our happiest memories were in that house, but you could have fooled me back then into thinking so. Hold on, and it will all work out.
You are so sweet Charisse! And your own “house problem” was so much worse than mine. I think that situation might have broke my spirit. I’m so glad that was a while ago and you’re able to share the happy ending to that story. How you kept working toward the goal. Got pushed back to your starting point–twice! But kept going. Cried, felt discouraged…and then had some wonderful times. Sometimes when you’re in that “pit of despair” part of your own story, you think you’ll never get out. Thanks for the encouragement!
p.s. I LOVE gooey desserts!