There’s a Hole in the Tub

Mini-Waterfall on Chuckanut Drive. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

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.”

“Why 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.











25 thoughts on “There’s a Hole in the Tub

    1. Oh no! Nate was actually right about the sealant. It would probably not hold up very well during the years. We would like to sell this house eventually, so we’d better do it the right way. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes–I’m not sure why the whole room had to be redone, but we’re glad we found this other company. It’s still more than we wanted to pay, but it will be worth it to have done the project correctly. Cheers!


      1. Thanks, Cecelia. We’d just bought the house, too. The home inspector had told us the roof would need to be replaced, but it should be good for another two or three years. More like two or three months!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah–I’m curious as to how it would have worked, but I think Nate is right in this case. We do eventually want to sell the house, so doing repairs the “right” way will only help us further down the line–at least, that’s what we’re hoping.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I always enjoy your stories, they make me feel like my childhood was pretty normal after all. I was momentarily sidetracked by your “bedazzled toilets” — it seems like I’ve heard a lot more about toilets since this pandemic started — the massage/bidet/heated seat/air-dry/etc marvels from Japan, but nothing “bedazzled,” and for a few minutes, I wondered what Elvis had at Graceland (shag carpet & rhinestones, somehow? yuck) or maybe Beyoncé has something bedazzled, that generates rainbows with every flush. But FlexSeal got me back on task, I grew up in a household with a reverence for something called Plumber’s Gloop, or something like that, that glues/seals/heals leaking pipes, loose shingles, rubber soles on running shoes, frayed relationships, etc. I think the fumes are incredibly stinky, flammable, and carcinogenic but we always tried glooping it on before calling a plumber or contractor. I’m quite sure you could create an Everglades airboat with the stuff, although it would kill all the alligators.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! My dad is a retired chemist, so he would always try chemicals first–especially sealants because he was a polymers guy. And. . . I did go to Graceland once when I was in college, but I don’t remember what the toilets looked like–now, I wish I remembered! In any case, I always enjoy your visits–thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My tolerance for Zoom meetings is also cracked. 🙂
    One time my en-suite bathroom started cascading into the basement. At least this was into an unfinished laundry room with a drain in the floor. Yikes. It took forever for us to find the leak.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know–and they’re not even my Zoom meetings. They’re my husband’s downstairs–and they’re so loud–and confusing. And. . . thanks for sharing your home repair story–that sounds like a nightmare! At least we found the crack before the ceiling burst forth on the first floor.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. WE’re getting pulled into a fencing situation.
    The neighbours next door are putting one in and have tried to pull us in (and split the cost). Of course, we already have a fence (which we paid by ourselves) – so we’d have to pay to replace a fence we already have, though to be fair, the back portion needs fixing up as we sustained floods last years. We’ll do it because we like these neighbours and it seems the neighbourly thing to do.
    That’s happening in the next couple of weeks, so by then we have to work at pulling up all the roots and trees and underbush that has taken root back there since the floods (we generally don’t use our yard that far back, it’s a wooded area that leads down to water, so it gets increasingly marshy – and lots of shoots come up as fast as we can take them down).
    It always sucks to spend money on the stuff. You’re spending money to just get back what you already have. It doesn’t feel fun. You can think of dozens of happier uses for the money. Ah well. Stupid home ownership. Why did we sign up for this again?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I wish you the best of luck with your fence project. Yes, there are a million ways to spend the money that would be more fun, but doing things the right way has its merit too–especially if long-term damage can be avoided and the worth of the house–or the ability to sell it later on–goes up.


  4. The last time we tried DIY, we attempted to replace our basin taps. We split a pipe and had to call an emergency plumber. Next time we’re calling the plumber in the first instance 😀

    I probably would’ve tried the Flex Seal, it sounds like an economical solution you can hide with a bath mat 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! The Flex Seal might have temporarily solved the problem, but we do eventually want to sell this house, so it’s probably best to just do the repair professionally in this case. We’ll have updates! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah yeah, people look for things like that when buying houses! We knocked a significant amount off the asking price of our current house because of a few things we’d need to redo.
        Looking forward to the updates, hope it goes well 🙂 It’s so hard to find reliable tradespeople!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I thought you were seriously going to be fixin leaks! I have concerns as to the truth of that magical water repellent sealant.
    We had a plumbing issue followed by a massive tree branch falling in our driveway making us realize we needed to trim the entire tree before a larger, taller branch fell on the house, car, child or neighbor’s house, car, or child. So, … no miracle sealant for keeping trees from falling, sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, well. . . we have before–just not this one this time. And, yes, the claims of the sealant are probably too good to be true. We do want to sell this house someday, so we had better hire professionals for now. Thanks for stopping by:)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am not one for having someone replace everything, but he was right about the boards under the tub. If they got wet, it might be a matter of time before things below the tub happen. If not, why not try the flex seal. For the cost of it, it might just work. Especially if you made a pattern out of it, and said it was a designer tub. Great fun reading this. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! Yes, the Flex Seal option might have worked out for a little bit, but we do want to sell the house someday, so doing it the “professional way” would probably work out for us in the long run. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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