Friday, April 4, 2008

At long last...the story of my bathroom sink

I'm getting ready to make chicken pot pie. Chicken pot pie tends to take me a while--seems like there are a lot of steps to the recipe. So I thought I would tell the story of my bathroom sink while I'm in between steps. For instance, I just emptied leftovers out of the big pot I want to use, and set it to soak for a minute. While it soaks, here I am. :)

When we bought this house (townhouse I should say), it had been a rental for a few years and felt a little dingy and run-down. There were a few little things around the house that had obviously been done by a do-it-yourself-er. Like the living room trim. Apparently someone attempted to "upgrade" to nicer trim, except that the stuff they put down as baseboards was actually door casing. And they apparently didn't own a miter saw, as all the ends were just blunt-cut and stuck together with gobs of silicone caulk. Yes, it was ugly. :) But hey, we got a really good deal on the place, and I knew I could fix all the little "issues."

The "guest bathroom" (half bath on the main level) was done in similar fashion. Someone had attempted to touch-up the paint, and as you may know, there is no such thing as a successful touch-up paint job. The color never matches right, and it always ends up looking, well, patched. Also, the wall-hung bathroom sink was sagging away from the wall a little bit. Someone had attempted to hide the gap between the sink and the wall with--you guessed it--gobs of silicone caulk. Yes, it was ugly. :)

[Scrubbed the pot and a few other dishes, put Noah back to sleep, realized chicken was still frozen & set it to defrost under running water] Well I started by cutting away all the caulk with a utility knife. Then I got out my largest wrench to undo the drainpipe under the sink. Well my largest wrench wasn't big enough, and the neighbors didn't have anything big enough either. A couple of weeks later--oh wait, I should explain. I didn't have a car at the time, so I was relying on borrowed transportation, and errands of any sort were hard to do. We do have a hardware store within walking distance, but it closes at 5:00 and I work till 4:45--not enough time to bundle up the boys, load them into the stroller & mei tai, and make it there before closing.

Anyway, a couple of weeks later, I finally made it to the hardware store and bought another wrench. Got home and what do you know, the new wrench wasn't big enough either. A couple of weeks later (as you can see, this story spans a long period of time), finally made it back to the hardware store and got a proper wrench. Took apart the drainpipe, disconnected water supply lines, got the sink off the wall.

Wall-hung sinks hang from a metal bracket that is screwed into the wall studs. Well this bracket was screwed in with just two screws, which was clearly not sufficient--it had holes for five screws. No wonder the sink was sagging. Oh, and the bracket also was not level. Well I didn't have any screws that would work, so of course this meant I needed to make another trip to the hardware store.

[Checked the chicken, disciplined my son] Well a couple of weeks later I finally made it back to the hardware store and got screws to match. I decided to rehang the bracket about two inches higher than it had been previously, because I thought a slightly higher sink might be nice. So I marked and drilled the holes and screwed in the bracket (which sounds simple, but in reality I ran into several more obstacles, for instance not knowing how to get the screws in, until I finally found a ratcheting socket wrench in the basement).

[Checked chicken again, set it to boil with herbs, showed Elijah that two pretzels plus three pretzels equals five pretzels] Well before I could actually rehang the sink, I needed to patch some damage to the drywall behind it. But I went ahead and set the sink on the bracket just so that I could admire how straight and level it would be. And when I did, lo and behold, the water supply lines and the drain pipe would no longer connect, because I had raised the sink two inches. Why, oh why, did I not think of such an obvious consequence? *sigh*

But I was not to be deterred. I re-drilled and re-hung the bracket at its original height. I patched and sanded the drywall behind the sink, primed and painted the trim, repainted the entire bathroom in a light neutral shade, and replaced an old towel rack with a more practically located towel ring. And I hung the sink again...but....

[Made a mad dash to the kitchen because the chicken was boiling over. Then leaped over several obstacles and halfway up the stairs to turn off the smoke alarm which of course went off. Then explained to Elijah the difference between steam and smoke] The water supply lines and drain pipe (I hope I'm using the proper terms for things here) still do not connect properly. This is because the sink, while at its original height, is now more level than it used to be. So while I can screw the connectors together, I get a little leaking when I actually run water. I think this is something that I can fix with some tugging and a little teflon tape, but given my history with this particular sink, I would not be surprised if more obstacles lie in store. :D

Well, that only took me an hour and a half! I thought it would be much longer! I'm not sure how many of you will find this interesting at all (perhaps Jeshurun will, though I'm sure he could have done the entire project in one afternoon), but now you know the story of my very challenging little project. And I must clarify, that I have enjoyed this project very much, in spite of all the roadblocks!

I would like to edit this post to death, but I know that would take ages, and I don't have ages, so it's going up as is.


  1. I am very impressed at your handiwork. I think I'd just have lived with the wobbly sink rather than try to re-hang it.

    Painting I can do, esp if all the children are out or asleep (it is a lot harder when there are little ones trying to "help" or playing just where you can trip over them with a full pot of paint), but not much else round the house.

    I'm full of admiration

  2. lol! Sounds like projects weve had in my house growing up! You should take a picture of it as a rememberance or your work. :)

    Hope you enjoyed your chicken meal. :)

  3. brilliant story writing! your grade is A+ LOL!

  4. I'm impressed that several people have actually read this VERY LONG post (with no pictures too)! When I hit "post" and saw how long it was, I thought it would scare people away!

  5. Hmm, sounds kind of frustrating... but satisfying too, I'm sure. Have you got the leak straightened out yet? What's your next project going to be?

    By the way, well written long posts are always fun to read... you should do more of them. ;) (Long posts, that is. I'm not trying to say they usually aren't well written! :D )


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