This Old House

The washing machine leak had finally reached the point that I needed to replace it, since it looked like it was a pump replacement and the old gal wasn’t worth fixing. I’d garage-saled on Sat and saw now washers. On Sunday morning, there was a new advertisement for a rare Sunday garage sale that had a washer. I grabbed my tip money wad from the summer and headed out the door, hopeful it would still be there. When I arrived, it was still there, and looked to be in good shape. The couple said their new house had a washer and dryer so they didn’t need this pair. I paid them for the washer and the husband help me load it in the back of the Aerostar.

Our laundry room fits the washer and dryer. Barely. So first the dryer had to be disconnected and moved out, then the washer. So far, so good. After removing the washer I noticed the floor was spongy under the linoleum. Spongy like I’d felt on the Dutch Master decks when they were rotted. So I cut away the linoleum and saw there was some rot in the flooring.

No sweat. I’ll just cut out a square to the centers of the floor joists and put in a new piece of plywood. Of course when I did this, I saw that the ends of the joists and the bottom of the stud wall were rotted. Now it was getting interesting. At this point I realized I would have to go from the outside in to see what the foundation looked like and how far up the stud wall the rot went. I took off the cedar siding and tar paper, and saw I was in for a project. The wall was rotted down to the sill. When I cleared the rot out, it looked like there was no barrier from the cement foundation to the sill. Even though the sill was pressure treated, it transferred the water from the foundation cement up the wall. I could see the problem was not likely limited to this wall, either, but decided to tackle the rest next summer.

So, it didn’t look too bad. Just take out the old and replace with new, sistering where necessary. The water spigot came out this wall, too. As I was replacing the floor base under the spigot, I pulled it up to get the board under. Whoosh. The piping that teed off the line to the washer to the spigot gave way, and I had a full pressure shot of water coming out. Luckily I’d had a valve installed to easily shut off the water to the house years ago, and so turning it off was easy.

I set out sweat the spigot pipe back in. Got the flux, solder and torch and went to work. Problem was that I couldn’t get the pipe hot enough because of water still in the line. I you-tubed a solution and saw I needed to cut the line before and after the tee so I could drain the line, then rejoin and put in the spigot line. I tried doing it all like I watched on the you tube and Tommy on This Old House. Put it all together and turned on the water. And sprinkler city. By now it was late in the day, so I wrapped the pipe as best I could to keep the leaks to a drip so Sara could have water, and called it a day.

The next day, I remembered seeing another you tube about new fittings that worked for copper and pex called shark bite fittings. How could I not know about these? I recut the piece from the day before, went to Good Hardware for a length of pex and the fittings, and was back in business. You can even take the fittings apart with a simple little plastic tool, which of course I had to several times.

I finally got the piping tight, and started in on the floor joists. At 20, I might have thought this too big a job or would have tried to find a book about it. At 50, I’ve seen this stuff before. It was just a matter of sistering new lengths here and there, putting some extra blocking in between the joists so I had something to support the floor, and putting in a pony wall between the floor joist base and the section of wall that had rotted. Pretty simple work and a sense of accomplishment with every piece replaced. Of course it always takes longer than you think down the home stretch. Thought I was about done when the tar paper went up outside. Then realized I had to still put in the spigot, which meant going to buy a new one, and also a redo for the dryer venting. Then an extra piece of dry wall to cover up near the floor where the drywall on the wall was tore out. Then put the replacement floor pieces in under the units, and put in some
connecting rubber floor matting I’d garage-saled years ago under the washer and dryer. So 6 days after what was going to have been a simple replacement, we had our new washer. Mama was happy, so everybody was happy.