John and I have done a lot of work to our house. We have made changes like, replacing the tile in the main foyer, redoing the basement floor with ceramic tile, replacing all the toilets, the chandelier in our foyer….so, we are not afraid of making change and doing the work ourselves. We have adopted the philosophy that when we start a job, it gets done when it gets done. Generally, every time we have a few days off, I pick a project to do. This march break it is the kids bathroom. Instead of killing ourselves, trying to get it done as quickly as possible, we will do a little bit every day and spend the rest of the day doing stuff with the kids. So, for the next few days, you will probably see a combination of posts about plumbing and tiling, and craft projects with the kids!
The one part of redoing our bathroom that makes me nervous is the water. Our house is an older house, so there are no shut off valves for any of the sinks. This means that if we are making any changes to the sinks or faucets, we have to turn off the water to the whole house. Which means, if we have any problems installing, we have no water! (which considering our experience…and this house…is quite likely!)
Anyways, we decided that we were not aiming to get the entire countertop and sinks installed in a couple hours, so we decided to install shut off valves. A shut off valve is basically a valve that shuts off the water from the pipes to the taps. So, you can turn the water back on to the house, even when the taps are disconnected.
Here is what the connection looked like before
So, the flexible pipe that you can see connects the tap to the pipe. Btw, I am sure there are names for all of these pipes and connectors, but I generally learn from watching YouTube and bring photos of the pipes into Rona or Home Depot…So anyways, the plan was to disconnect the flexible pipe and sink drain pipes, remove the sinks and countertop, cut the pipes and install the shut off valves (oh yeah, we need to get all this done before the kids go to bed) There are two pipes for each sink. One carries the hot water, and the other is for cold water.
Step one …remove the backsplash and cut all of the calking around the counter top
Step two…undo the bolts attaching the flexible pipe… This part called for some muscle, so I called in the big guns!
Step three…unscrew and disconnect the drain pipe (once again, my muscle came in handy here)
John had better luck loosening the bolts than I did.. I ended up getting frustrated and cutting my pipes, and I will undo the bolts after the sinks and countertop are removed. It is really tight, and difficult to get to the bolts behind the sink! So basically we had to undo the bolts and cut the pipes, but we didn’t have to do them in that order.
Because it was so hard to take pictures with the countertop on, I will show you the pictures I took when I cut the pipes with the countertops removed. I bought this little cutter at home depot for ten dollars. Basically, you spin the cutter around the pipe and tighten it every few times around, until it has cut through the pipe. (Note, make sure you have a bucket or bowl handy..some water will come out of the pipes. And, when you do turn off the water, let a tap run for a few minutes before doing anything to reduce the water pressure.)
After we cut the pipes off, there was a lot of solder left over on the pipes. We tried sanding, but soon found out that this would have taken forever, so I figured out I could actually cut off the larger pieces of solder with an exacto knife.
Then, as you can see, we sanded the pipes until they were nice and shiny.
So, if we turned the water back on at this point, water would come spraying out, which is why we need the shutoff. This is what the shut off valve looks like. There is a nut, which goes on the pipe first, then a small ring, then you screw the valve on.
After we threaded the bolt or nut, then the ring, we held the valve with a wrench, and tightened the nut with another wrench. (btw, you know that every time I say “we” for these parts, I mean John)
So, here what it looks like when the valves are installed..
And we have attached the flexible pipe here…
So now, when we get our new sink we simply have to connect the flexible hose to each tap.
The problem is that I have kind of changed my mind about the vanity. I was going to tile the countertop, but it might be better to invest the money in buying a new vanity and countertop.