Getting Drained

Not physically myself, no. In fact, I couldn’t be more excited to leave work each evening and throw on dingy clothes to continue playing home renovation. No, getting drained in the sense that any flowing water can now find its way safely out of the house. Which, as Martha would say, is a good thing.

I started with the kitchen sink, worked my way to the washer drain, and then to the existing soil stack. It already had an arm coming off from the old washer drain, so I made the connection between existing cast iron and new PVC pipe with a rubber flexible coupling (often called by the brand name Fernco). This was a pretty easy drain line. The kitchen sink will have a trap above the floor, so it meant installing a trap for the laundry drain, and then basically 2 straight stretches of pipe.

Then this past weekend I tackled the bathroom drains. The worst part was ambiguously cutting pipes and assembling fittings when I didn’t have exact measurements down in the crawlspace where I was working. I mean, I have the bathroom planned out down to the inch, but without a floor, its just a space between the rafters. But if I laid the floor down now, then it is twice as much work to squeeze in and out of the crawlspace from the outside. (I never realized how convenient it is to have a hole in your floor!) So I did rough measurements, then fine tuned them until everything lined up both above and below the floor. It feels so nice to have pipes glued and sticking up through the floor. I still need to finish the PVC drain vents running up into the wall cavity, connect the three individual vents (sink, toilet, and tub), and run the main vent up through the roof.

bathroom drains coloredBasically, this photo shows what I am trying to accomplish. The red highlighter shows the bathtub drain; the yellow is the toilet drain; the blue is the bathroom sink drain, and the purple is where the drains all connect and go to the sewer line. The green highlights the drain waste vents, which allow air into the pipes as the water drains out of each fixture. These vents prevent a vacuum when a sink or tub is draining, and eliminates slow draining tubs or gurgling noises when draining a full sink (tigers in the drain, as I’ve heard it called).

These vent lines should be easier, I think. The measurements don’t have to be perfect to align with a fixture, and they will be hidden inside the wall and then up through the roof. Then its subfloor time, how exciting!

From my research, everything I’ve read recommends a subfloor thickness of 1 1/4″ before laying tile. This is so the floor is strong enough not to flex and crack the finish tile or grout. And if I’m spending money on a nice tile floor, there will be no flexing going on. I decided on 3/4″ osb as the subfloor structure, and then 1/2″ cement backer board to to apply mortar and tile onto. The cement board is also very strong and sturdy, and will help support the floor but also give me a ready surface to lay down tile. The only down side is that the kitchen and bathroom floors will not be a smooth transition, but instead a 1/2″ higher on the bathroom floor. This is the minimum height allowable for most ADA floor transitions, so I think it will be rather unnoticeable with a nice transition piece.

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