Home Improvement Blues

Replacing a leaky shower drain this week. We haven’t been able to use our master shower now for some time because of the leak I haven’t had time to fix. This, unfortunately, requires going into the ceiling. After going in, I quickly realize someone has already been up there. I now suspect the previous owners had a leak, which pretty clearly was caused by a rotten gasket where the drain meets the shower. But rather than fix it by rebuilding the drain, it appears they decided to shove plumbers putty around everything. Sure, that’ll stop the leak for a while.

Somewhat frustrated that the original trap doesn’t have threads compatible with the new one I bought. I will have to replace the whole drain and trap. It’s all PVC. Since I now realize I need to do this, I must return to Home Depot to get a 2″ PVC street elbow. I would have needed to go back anyway, because I just realized my PVC cement is no good. Still have cleaner and purple primer, which I don’t think goes as bad as readily. Been a while since I did any PVC work. It’s times like this I’m glad to have worked for a plumber as a kid. I can do basic plumbing work. Don’t know if I’d want to try to install a new boiler, but a shower drain should be within my capabilities. The question is how many trips to Home Depot am I going to need to make? Real expertise is having to make only one.

19 thoughts on “Home Improvement Blues”

  1. It’s NOT a home improvement/repair project until there have been at least THREE trips to the local Lowe’s or Home Depot. The number of the counting shall be three….two shall not be the number unless thou proceedest thereon to three…


    Those using a local hardware store where there are people to “help” you, need not heed this particular homeowner’s law.

  2. “Real expertise is having to make only one.”

    If that’s true it’s because he’s saved up all the stuff he bought by mistake when doing past jobs and now has a nice stash of part to draw from.

  3. I gave up on any plumbing project beyond installing a new toilet or attaching a flexible water line years ago. I took a week to install a new drain line and it still didn’t work right. It took the plumber a couple of hours to correct it.

    I stick to electrical stuff anymore

  4. Guy speaks truth – I have the parts in the attic to prove it.

    … and I still have to make at least two trips.

  5. I have had a similar experience. We bought a house in 1995–and when we sold it in 2001, the inspections found a serious water damage problem in the master bedroom shower that had been “fixed” exactly the way you describe. It passed a secondary inspection (by someone who was not involved in the sleazy fix), but when we sold, we spent $14,000 on repairs.

    I tried to get the realtor who represented us in the purchase and sale to pull up a copy of the original inspection reports, which might have provided a basis to pursue fraud charges, but we were out of state by then, and he could never seem to get around to it.

  6. If you get tired of trying to fix something around the house, I’ve found a good alternative is to grab an adult beverage and watch some Holmes on Homes episodes.

  7. Yeah, I’ll endorse 3 trips as a minimum. Nothing is ever the thread diameter you were positive it was, and matching parts don’t.

    I’m having a bathroom floor replaced. The contractor and I both agree that bringing water indoors was probably a bad idea.

  8. @Clayton Cramer….

    When I sold our house in California, the ‘independent’ inspector claimed there was all sorts of insect damage to the 2nd floor deck off the master bedroom. Damage that he’d be more than happy to fix for only $19K or so (for a 10 x 15 deck, mind you)..

    Fortunately, a friend of mine was an inspector, and we identified a couple of boards that needed to be replaced. Then he helped me replace them….told me to coat the new lumber with Thompsons or something, and signed it off (I of course did the coating).

    What a sleezy untrustworthy business home inspection is. Clearly there is nothing to loose for these guys, and lots to gain.

  9. There is no home repair project that should take one hour that will not take four.
    There is no home repair project that should take three hours that will not take all day.
    To get really good at home repair projects, I recommend practice. I generally start practicing swearing like a sailor several days ahead, when I am planning a home repair project.

  10. All of these sounds exactly what I have been through many times before. Seeing as how I live about 35 miles from the nearest big box home store an hours job takes all effing day.

  11. Changing a washer on a bathroom sink once cost me an entire day, five or six trips to the hardware store and about $75.

    Every connection I touched was so corroded that I had to go to the next. Ended up replacing the entire faucet and all the plumbing, both hot and cold side, all the way back to the supply lines inside the wall. I should have just let it drip!

  12. We don’t even like to talk about home inspector’s when it comes to our house. There are so many things that he should have caught but did not! Lesson learned, never, ever use one recommended by the real estate agent. Get your own!

  13. Yes, definitly never use the one recommended by your real estate agent. Instead, ask for the one that has bolloxed up many of their deals for being too strict.

  14. Two trips. One to buy everything on the aisle and the second to return stuff that you don’t need after fixing it.

  15. I have a method to my home-repair projects. I limit myself to 3 trips to the hardware store. Any more than that, and I’m too ill-prepared, and need to be stopped before I destroy something.
    Then I revisit it a week later, and give myself 3 trips again, after doing more prep-work, planning, etc.
    Either that, or I whine and cry until the government fixes it for me.

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