Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My new year resolutions are simple, and can be accomplished in a short time, giving me some satisfactions. Not about whores, but I wanted to fix two things that bugged me, a dripping faucet, and about two collapsed drawers.

Remember that if you call a plumber here without an emergency, it's like going to the hospital emergency room with a cold. The hospital will entertain you, but will charge you hundreds for it, though it's a numbers game on paper with the insurance company. I made the mistake as a new parent.

When I opened the faucet, I remembered why I couldn't fix it. It's beyond repair because a screw degenerated. A total replacement is needed. This is my sink. I did replaced the faucet on her sink which was in a much worse condition before replacement. It turned out to be a lot more trouble than I thought, so I waited. Now that I have to replace mine, the faucet company was taken over and the same model isn't available. So if you ever see a mismatched his's and her's bathroom sink, it's mine.

Now the nightmare that I must had blocked out last time began to come back bit by bit. The faucet replacement is easy. In other parts of the world it would be solid copper tubes under the sink, and solid plastic tubes. You have to call the professionals or you have a lot of work to do, like doing soldering in confined space with heat shields to avoid burning down the whole house or the whole building. But here labor is a lot more expensive than the faucets itself. I would rather have a huge copper faucet and huge copper sink with lots of now precious metal.

Here you have a pair of shut off valve, not really to save you the trouble of turning off the main supply value, but as an adapter connector. Now the latest valve just plug onto the end of the supply tube. You don't even need to use a wrench. Then there's a pair of flexible tube to connect the valves to the taps so you don't need any skills or any measurements. The nuts at the end of the flexible tubes are the only ones to be tightened. The faucets themselves are of course make use a lot of 'plug and play' constructs, using flexible tubes and rubbery seals.

The problem is the tail piece, the matching finish attached to the drain hole of the sink. It just couldn't be unscrewed because it is made of metal, unlike the new ones which are cheap feeling plastic. I really didn't remember how I did it last time. I didn't believe that I could unscrew it. And I didn't believe that I used an electric saw to took it apart. This time I gave up totally after a day and my hands hurt.

Then I decided I should replace the whole sink as well. Then I remembered that this was the same conclusion that I arrived last time. Then I remembered why I couldn't replace the sink. It was an undermount sink and the sink wouldn't come off from the top piece. This time I brought the iron bar from the garage, a gift from the moving company, the type that the FBI uses to raid warehouses and opens huge wooden crates with it. The sink wouldn't give a bit. I pried a bit more and all of a sudden the sink fell on my knee. I continued the work with a limb!

Actually when you have to replace the faucet, it's good time to replace the sinks, the top pieces and the whole cabinet fixture. But I wouldn't want to undo the work I did on her side of the bathroom last time. More importantly, you need a contractor and up to a few subcontractors for plumbing, electric wiring, building, woodwork. If you call the professionals they will talk you into remodeling all of the bathrooms and kitchens with matching everything. All for a dripping tap?

Really I should have replaced the cabinet because the sink with the tailpiece attached was trapped inside. I had to bring in the electric saw to cut short the tailpiece. The tailpiece broke apart, but not where I cut it.

After I put the new sink in, I discovered that the drain hole was at a different position. So I had to redo the drain pipes like a professional, since no flexible drain pipes were sold for that purpose. Cutting off the old pipes proved to be a bad experience. After exhausted using my tiny hand saw, the ABS plastic were too tough that I had to bring in the power saw. Usually, bundled saw blades are for fast wood cutting, terrible for tough plastics. I ended with a ragged edge pipe end after getting rid of the old pipes. For the new pipes I needed a few cuts at least so I had to do some research to get the right blade that is available in my local hardware store.

For the drawers I tried different mounts available in the nearby stores. All have minor problems that I couldn't decide who is the least evil of them all. Therefore some drawers were left to be storage spaces instead of drawers. The problem was that my wife demands that she has the right to put whatever inside the drawer. They got heavy and eventually collapsed sooner or later. I was running out of drawers.

I know I should have remodeled the bathrooms, the kitchen and maybe the bedrooms with matching everything. But back in my mind I wouldn't like to throw away the work that I did on the drawers that were still working fine. And it cost money to remodel the whole house compared to repairing a drawer or two.

I tried side mounting hardware for the first time on my top mounted drawers. It's a total waste of time and I returned it. I brought the old faithful roller mount hardware. But it's only available in size for the kitchen drawers. For the bathrooms it has to be the bearing mounts. But living in housing tracks, although neighboring houses vary in size and shape to look different, drawers are basically the same. So the only size for my bathroom are sold out. So rather than replacing the whole mounting hardware, I just replaced the faulty items like rollers.

But surprise, surprise, one drawer has a pipe ran past the rear, so it had to be top mounted but nobody sold anything for it. Another has a wooden stud ran past the rear, making the rail guide an inch too long! Also, the bottom one cannot accept roller mount as there is no space below the drawer to mount anything. But the bearing mount can be used since the profile is rather flat. So the roller mounts that I brought were useless, and the bearing mounts that I didn't brought were suitable, since exact size were not needed.

Since the saw blade I brought for cutting plastic pipes were actually for metal as written on it, I tried to cut the roller mount to size. It was surprisingly easier than cutting plastic pipes. It was so easy that I decided to remove the repairs that I did the bathroom drawers, replacing them with roller mounts cut to size.

So after many fast trips to the local hardware store, most of it involved returns, I got the work done. This was how my near year went. I am now enjoying watching the mismatched his's and her's faucets, and using the smooth drawers, mostly with different mounting hardware, ... with a temporary backache and a limp.

1 comment:

Henry said...

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