To prevent an atmospheric, yet unnecessary two-story waterfall from springing to life in our house, Nate and I are left with no other choice but to fix the tub in Alex’s bathroom. The floor of the tub, much like my threshold for tolerating Zoom meetings, has cracked.
No, Alex did not break the tub, which doubles as a basin for the shower. Aggressive teen showering (letting the water run on “hot” for, I don’t know, hours?) does not typically lead to tub breakage, if the tub is installed properly. However, Nate and I suspect that the tub was never installed properly when we moved into this house and took it over from the previous owners. But now, it’s our turn to fix it—and DIYing it is not an option. Instead, we’ve been looking for professionals who can fix the tub.
There was a time when we would take on a project such as this one. In fact, in one house we lived in, we took out the counter tops, replaced them with tile, and re-painted the entire interior. It was hungry, tired, (is-this-how-we’re-going-to-spend-the-next-six-months?) work. Our backs, feet, and legs won’t let us do that kind of work anymore. On numerous occasions, they have said, “If you even think about repainting a house or cutting and placing tile on some kind of surface, we will leave. We will leave forever—and we’re taking your plumbing with us.” That’s not the life we want to live. Besides, according to Nate, the job should only cost anywhere from $1,500-$2,000 and the worker(s) should only be here about a day. The work would consist of the following tasks: knocking out some tiles, removing the old bathtub, putting in a new bathtub, and replacing some tiles—maybe three or four at most.
Nate called, emailed, and texted at least 20 different local professionals. Three responded. One said he could not do the job at all because he was already scheduled 6 months out. The second said he only did remodels. He would not replace a bathtub, unless he could also transform Alex’s entire bathroom into a stunning gem of elegance—and it would cost way more than what we expected. The third one said he could replace the tub, but not the tiles. Nate would have to find someone else to replace the tiles. After a few more phone calls and another week of silence, Nate realized that he would have to go with a fourth option.
The fourth option was a company called something like Bath Universe. The sales representative was enthusiastic and did not want to give Nate a price over the phone. Instead, he wanted to meet with Nate and with me to go over all of the specifics.
In my mind, I figured he wanted to show me all kinds of shiny tile samples and bedazzled toilets, so that I would scream, “Nate! That’s what I’ve always wanted! Oh, please! Let’s empty Alex’s college savings fund to get him the bathroom of his dreams—and mine!”
I’m not the kind of woman who carefully curates a hope chest of items I’ve always wanted for my child’s bathroom. I’d rather have a hot tub in my backyard.
To protect my hot tub dream, I thought hard about other solutions. What could I do that would be effortless, non-invasive, and cheap?
And then the answer came to me through a TV Infomercial for Flex Seal. In a happy, magical trance, I watched while Flex Seal, which comes in both white and black (our tub is white), was nicely smeared upon objects in order to repel water. In fact, the creator of Flex Seal used it to paint an entire airboat, which was covered in mesh. The sealant filled in all of the cracks of the mesh, and he could spend the entire day out in the Florida Everglades—in that boat.
Oh, if only our tub could be that boat!
“Why can’t we just get a can of Flex Seal?” I asked Nate.
“No. Absolutely not.”
“Because it would look like *!@#. It would be uneven and ugly.”
“We could put a rubber slip guard mat over it.”
Nate would not budge. The sales rep from Bath Universe was coming over and that was that.
When the sales rep did come over, he was very nice, and he explained the process. In about six weeks, someone from Bath Universe would:
–strip out the tile and the green board behind it.
–get rid of the plumbing fixtures.
–perhaps remove some of the sub-flooring.
–replace the sub-flooring.
–put in the tub/surrounding wall and green board.
–replace the fixtures.
Of course, there were also samples to pick out, and the overall price came to a lot more than what we had originally imagined. However, it was still less than an over-the-top, in-your-face, look-at-my-child’s-bathroom-aren’t-you-jealous model.
During his visit, the sales rep was especially eager to get my input, but I stayed strong. I was determined to not get distracted by all kinds of new possibilities. If, for some reason, the repair didn’t work out, I’d have to pitch my original idea even harder to Nate. So, I held on tightly to that picture in my head–the one of our bathtub as an airboat, gliding through the Everglades, safely coated in sealant.
Your Turn: Any unexpected home repairs? Discuss.