The plumbing rough-in tested my resolve. It almost broke me. It made me doubt my decision to purchase the house, my ability to restore the house. It caused for a negative working environment between me and father. BUT today, six weeks after we started I received my plumbing rough-in approval!!!! For as easy as it was to run the PEX, running the PVC for the vents, waste, and drains was the polar opposite. Never again will I try to install PVC…..and I mean that.
It took four visits by my City Inspector, Tom Huddleston to get that sticker. The first visit was a gut punch. We thought we had a darn good route ironed out for everything, NOT. He went through and pointed out how we had almost every vent pipe located on the wrong side of a drain pipe, which means we weren’t properly venting the pipes and in some cases were allowing sewer gases to still enter the house. That reality meant we had to cut out about 1/3rd of the pipes. He also pointed out some things that I should correct to make the final install of fixtures easier, for that I was grateful. For instance I ran the pipe for kitchen sink too high (I had two existing notches, I chose the top-notch to run pipe, instead of bottom), which would make it hard to install the farmhouse sink.
Me made all the corrections and scheduled visit number two. He had pointed out to us that we had configured the drains on the first floor tub wrong during the first inspection. Clearly we didn’t understand the correction as we managed to install new pipes, what looked to me, in the same way they were that was wrong. This was the beginning of the erosion of working with my father. Far be it for me to question anything. That resulted in the removal of another $40 in PVC. The second shot at doing what we were told proved beneficial, as after sending Mr. Huddleston pictures of the reconfigured tub pipes we were ready for another inspection.
Visit number three was the water test. With all corrections made, it was time to see if our fittings were glued and sealed correctly. Mr. Huddleston took my sawzall, cut a pipe in the master bathroom and we took a hose connected to the washer hookup and began to fill the line. My heart was racing. Optimism soon faded as I started walking around the house only to see drips from several areas, one so bad that we half filled a bucket before we pulled the plug-in the clean out valve. We had 5 leaks. Armed with the process for testing, my father and I began cutting out the bad areas and making repairs. We went from clear cleaner, to purple so we could clearly see where we were working. We did a second water test. 6 new leaks. L is for “Leaks” in the pictures.
At this point it was time for my father to return to Florida for a previously scheduled appointment and I decided it was time to call in a professional plumber. I’ve developed a friendship with the staff of Leons Supply, plumbing supply store located less than a mile from my house, due to the multiple trips per day I was making to their store, so I asked one of their staff, Hugh, for a referral. He gave me the name of Andre with Tip Top Plumbing.
I called several plumbers, but he was the only to return my call and be available the next day. It took my father and I eight hours to fix the first five leaks. Andre and his brother fixed six in two. We did water test number three. $420 investment, no leaks or so I thought. I decided to leave the water in the line, so I didn’t have to fill it again for Mr. Huddleston. About 30 minutes after they left as I was entering the bathroom to finish the strapping project when plop on my forehead a drop of water. Another new leak.
I called Andre, who was already at another job, and he said he’d return at 8am the next day to make the repair in time enough for me to meet the call-in window to get on that day’s inspection schedule. Of course the location of this leak proved a little more difficult to access, but as promised the repair was made in time. I have a new plumber. Andre was awesome to work with.
Water test and inspection visit number four proved to be magic as I was awarded my blue APPROVED sticker. He also added a message to my walls, fittingly next one that had to be cut out to make room for a reworked pipe. Mr. Huddleston is a 30-year career plumber and he shared that if he had been hired to do the job he would charge $7200. That was in the middle of the bids I got. The only sense of vindication I have is that a spent less than my lowest bid. HOWEVER, I lost valuable time on this project and I’m a firm believer that time is money. My early June move-in will not happen. I can only hope we can make up some time and I can hit early July.