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Duct Tape as Grout – A Study

January 17, 2010

Alexandra’s dad flew in to town on Friday night.  We decided to go up to Santa Barbara for a nice day relaxing and sailing.  It was, well, relaxing.  We got back after lunch on Sunday and thought we would try to get a project going.  The chosen victim was the bathtub.  The reason was the tub’s refusal to drain due to a rather absurd insistence that water should only flow downhill.

It was decided that the most expedient remedy was to raise the back of the tub.  To do this we cut away the bottom most set of tile by using a Dremel tool and cut-off wheels to remove the grout.  Then we drove a putty knife behind the tile to loosen it.  At this point you may be wondering how you could possibly drive a putty knife behind tile as it is generally bonded to a cement surface with some similarly solid grout.  In this case, the wonderful installer of the tile had simply nailed (yes nailed) blue-board up and then put liquid nails on the walls and then stuck tiles on.  While this is generally not the preferred method of tiling, it sure made my life a lot easier as most of the tile came off without breaking.

After the tile was up it was off to the store for supplies.  Surprisingly though, the people at True Value and OSH had never even heard of a pipe jack.  Not to be deterred, we fashioned our own out of 1/2″ threaded rod, two nuts, two washers, two 3/4″ black iron pipes and two floor flanges.  This actually worked shockingly well.

Back at home I wriggled my way under the house and started to assess what I would have to do.  There is a floor joist that runs the length of the tub and almost right down its center.  The subfloor runs at a 45 degree angle to the joists.  I decided the easiest thing to do was to use a circular saw to remove one board of the subfloor on either side the central joist near the back of the tub.  I then used my improvised jack to raise the tub to level.  With the tub level I installed shims under the feet and also along the joist to support the tub in its new position.

Back up top the tub was draining!  To keep Alexandra happy we cleaned up and used duct tape to cover where the tile had been removed.

Looks pretty nice!  I think I’ll just keep it like that.  Or maybe not…  Tomorrow we will grout and re-tile, we also purchased an epoxy tub refinsher to try to get the tub looking a bit better.  It is going to rain for at least the next week so we are trying to find good indoor projects.  Wish us luck!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lindsay permalink
    January 18, 2010 7:56 AM

    Yay! I’m happy you guys get to bathe like normal people now (well somewhat normal, normal people don’t have duct tape in their tub). And that there is a new blog post!

  2. John Z. permalink
    January 22, 2010 7:25 PM

    Well it sounds like Jim – Bob is showing his value in creative construction. Learned it all from Corney VanderZouwen.

    Hope you all are having tons of fun house fixing!

    Best, John Z.

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