September 8, 2010

Upstairs Bathroom Update Also? Mr. Man Speakifying!

It has been a loooooooooong time since I've posted an upstairs bathroom update.  For those little birdies just joining us, here's the backstory. The halt in the bathroom progress space/time continuum began when we discovered two giant chunks missing from the floor joist supporting the weight of our, sink, toilet, and (sometimes full of water) cast iron tub. Hmmmmm.....what's a homeowner to do?
Without a Mr. Man intervention, I would sob and flail my arms, but luckily, I live with an architect (with a stamp and everything!) so instead I only sobbed and cried a little and then turned to he who understandeth buildings and building structure. Ahem. Without further ado, Mr. Man:

"It is called a Sawsall and the name pretty much says it all.  It cuts joists, beams, floors, and even columns without much trouble, even if they are still holding something up. It is a favorite tool of pretty much everyone in construction including plumbers. And a Sawsall is likely the tool that was used to make the plumbing in the upstairs bathroom function . . . by cutting out large sections of the floor joist that were in the way of the pipes (see photo above.)

Opening up the floor was originally an exercise in cleaning up the missmash of flooring under the sink and toilet. It was not until I pulled a few boards up that I noticed the cut joist.  Looking more closely at the surrounding floor, it was apparent the floor had sagged noticeably due to the cut joist and that it was one of several joists bearing the weight of not only the sink and toilet, but the five foot cast iron tub as well. The joist and floor had most likely been this way for 30 or more years, naturally redistributing the loads to other joists with out a disaster, so an actual failure was not that likely. On the other hand, even small odds of finishing a hot bath with broken bones in the dining room is not a pleasant thought.

Ideally the plumbing area would be boxed out with wood by doubling up adjacent joists and putting headers around the opening. But that would require removing a large part of the ceiling below, which isn't in the budget. So I cut this:
The steel plate in the photo above will slide in and be bolted to the joist. Even when notched for some of the piping, will provide additional strength for "just in case."

Thanks Mr. Man!


  1. We had almost the exact same thing except that the one cut joist holding everything up was also 1) rotting. 2) attached to the wall rim joist with ONE nail.

    OMG. When we originally viewed the house, the old owner had our cast iron tub filled almost to the top with water too. How our bathroom did not collapse I will never know.

    Great idea about the steel!

  2. Oh, the joys of opening up floors!! Good to hear from Mr. Man too!

  3. Wow... I actually understood that!

    Nice explaining, Mr Man!

  4. Seeing missing chunks in the joist would have me in tears too. I'd fear my ceiling would just cave. So glad Mr. Man is so knowledgeable.

  5. Wow, what an undertaking! It will all be worth it though once complete. Happy remodeling - just dropping by from SITS.

  6. NO NOTCHING! I don't have any kind of stamp at all, and I know that. Thank god you didn't decide to jump rope in your bathroom while the tub was full of water or anything. God, I'd love to get inside a contractors head once to see what actually goes on up there. I'm thinking scarily little, sometimes.

    That steel plate looks like it will be some serious help. Thank god for the Man!


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