Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Bathroom Two Step

I got the sink all hooked up, and it did not go willingly. Working with vintage plumbing is always a bit of a chore. Even though I think the results are worth it, it takes longer and you sometimes need to be creative.

For starters, my ultra-cool 1890s Peck Bros. faucets do not have standard threads on them. They are just a hair shy of half inch threads. I can get a half inch nut to thread on but it is very loose. There is no way it would hold water.

This was no surprise because I’ve known about this since I bought them. What I ended up doing was taking a copper male and female threaded end piece (these are the inch long parts you would solder on to the end of a copper pipe) and soldered them together. I then threaded the female end on to the faucets as best as they would go, and soldered them in place. It worked well and you can’t see them unless you’re on the floor looking up under the vanity.

The basin was a major pain. I had to buy new mounting brackets to set in to the underside of the marble because the old ones were gone. They work like concrete anchors, in that there is a sleeve and wedge. You drill a three eights inch wide hole a half inch deep and put in the sleeve. You then hammer in the wedge part and in theory the anchor is set in the marble. The wedge part has the threads to accept the mounting screw.

The problem I had was that it takes a while to drill in to the marble. It takes a little over a minute to get a half inch deep and inevitably the drill wobbles and bit, and so the hole is not perfect. In concrete you maybe be drilling 2 or 3 inches in so it’s no big deal if the hole isn’t perfect all the way down. There is still plenty of area for the anchor to wedge it’s self in to. Not so on the half inch deep hole in the marble. The anchors kept popping out.

I eventually had to re-set them all with epoxy. The other problem with the brackets was that they were not made for a sink this thick. The sink anchors are modern kholer anchors and are made for modern sinks. The original anchors would have been a threaded post set with lead. The post would have stuck out 2 or 3 inches. I had to buy longer screws and fabricate new brackets. It just seemed to go on and on getting this basin installed.

I finally got the basin in only to discover the drain pipe wasn’t long enough to reach the P Trap. This was kind of my fault. When I put in the drain I had the choice to run it above the shut-off valves or below. I chose below because I wanted to show off the P Trap. Well, I had to go buy a 6-inch tail piece and, of course, it’s chrome and not nickel.

So now I have a nickel drain pipe, connected to a chrome tail piece, which is connected to a nickel P Trap. It’s looks kind of screwy but there is no way I’m spending more money on this vanity. A new nickel plated tail piece is $34 plus shipping. It really, really bugs me though.

The only thing I didn’t have a problem with was putting it all together. Once I got everything figured out it all went together nicely and I had no leaks. That’s my one saving grace. I also got a lot of the other bathroom parts installed. I had to rewire all 3 of the fixtures, but that was pretty straight forward, and they’re now hung. The TP holder and soap dish went fine even though I had to drill through tile {nervous grin}. I also got the telescoping mirror hung. I almost decided against hanging it, but I’m glad I did.

The three arm towel rod I may not install because it sticks out too far. There is really no good place for it. I also decided to do without the nickel/glass shelf. There is only one good place for it, but because I’m not using the three arm towel rod, I need a real towel rod. Once I get one, it will need to go where the shelf was going to be. I really don’t need the shelf, because I have the built-ins, so it was just going to be for show anyway. The shelf and towel rod will be on Ebay soon. I have some other leftovers to get rid of as well.

So the last 2 steps to do are set up the faucet, shower, and supply lines on the tub, and hang the door. The door doesn’t exist, as such, at this time. It looks like I’m going to be trimming down a 32-inch door. It’s not the best solution but the bathroom needs a door. I’m going to wait on the tub until next weekend. The supply lines for the tub don’t have shut off valves and I don’t want to be in there until 9:00 at night on Monday fighting plumbing so I can get the water turned back on. That’s a weekend job.

So, next up, the door. Aside from the tub and door I need a cover for the fan and the marble for the large built-in. The fan cover is an old cast iron heater grate and is in transit as I write. The marble will need to wait a bit.


Susan said...

Greg, That is absolutely beautiful. What attention to detail. Makes me hate my ugly bathroom even more!!!

Anonymous said...

The bathroom is gorgeous!

Where are you hiding the GFI?

mindy said...

Greg, your bathroom is absolutely jaw-dropping. Those light fixtures, the toilet paper roller... every little detail, just perfect. As always. I know it's been an immense amount of work, but it's totally worth it!

Kathy from NJ said...

I love the light fixtures, I love the reflection of the stained glass window in the medicine cabinet mirror, I love the marble vanity & undermount basin, I love the TP holder, love the floor, love the pink window. What else? I love it all. You did an absolutely fabulous job.

John said...

Greg, as always, the bathroom looks great.

Greg said...

Thanks guys. I wish I could say it was finished....

Oh, and the GFCI plug is on the opposite wall near the floor. The one by the vanity is down stream from it.

Elliot K said...

Great content on the subject. Keep up the good work!

Jay S said...

Bathroom looks great!

one tip - next time you drill into tile, tape a thick washer where you want the hole using duct tape or similar. By using a washer the same diameter as the hole - you create a collar that prevents wandering. You could use it for the marble maybe too.

Greg said...


That is a great idea. I was concerned with the bit dancing, but this time I used a 1/16th inch glass/tile bit and it wasn't an issue.

The glass/tile bit is not a spiral bit. It is a solid post with a spade shape cutting head at the end. The head comes to a very fine point and as soon as the bit starts to turn it cuts in. I drilled a total of eight holes and not once did it have a problem. The bit I bought was by Vermont. They are not the best constructed, and they are pricey, but it is worth it. I actually bought 2 because the first one fell apart going through the antique encaustic tile. The ceramic tile was not an issue.

Poppy said...

Finally getting a moment to try to catch up...Greg the bathroom is so lovely. You've done such a wonderful job on it. I hope you're very proud of should be. Your hard work is paying off in spades :)