Anatomy of a home repair

A tiny leak in the wall behind our bathtub gave us, what we thought, was a fantastic opportunity to replace the tub fixtures. They were original to the house and had become disfigured with corrosion over time. We assumed this would be a fairly inexpensive, one to three day—max—home repair. It flourished into two+ months of disorder, with our main bathroom, hall closet, and den unusable for most of that time and a final tally of $621.22. Here’s the breakdown:

Fixtures 72.03
Three-handle valve system 95.82
FedEx of tile chip to CA for color matching 35.15
Tile & shipping 30.22
Plumbing labor 170.00
Tile labor & access panel 185.00
Tile expenses 10.00
Painting labor and expenses .00
Plumbing expenses 23.00

We won’t bore you with every detail of the repair and the delays that ensued. One interesting revelation; since our bathroom was originally installed in 1957, the three part fixture set-up (a water direction knob between two handles) is no longer “code.” All shower/tub fixtures currently being installed are one master handle that regulates water temperature and direction. We bought Kohler fixtures, as they are one of the few manufacturers carrying the three handle system, plus they had the only style that kind-of matched our midcentury home.

Another hurdle we finally lumbered over was finding tile to match our vintage seafoam green bathroom. After calling architectural salvage sources locally, and then taking the search to a national level, we finally found B&W Tile in Gardena, California. This outfit manufactures discontinued tile colors—thank goodness!! The match was super-close and, as you can see, our bathroom is nearly completely tiled over with that vintage green (I would not have been happy patchworking with another color).

The expense wasn’t horrific, but the disruption to our lives was something neither one of us cares to revisit. I don’t know how anyone endures an actual renovation project. I mean, we had four tiles replaced and a minor plumbing repair—child's play compared to most home projects.

posted by Rachel