Ever since 1985 when I moved to my home north of Florence on a ridge and saw the bathroom with a large window with the best view in the house, I’ve wanted a soaking tub.
There actually was a tub there, but a typical 5-footer that only holds about 9 inches of water where I could get part of me soaking, but never enough of me. And the water would cool off too fast. And the window would steam up; then I couldn’t see the view. If I put on the fan to clear the window, it would cool off the room too much. So I was never a happy camper with that tub.
My neighbor has invited me over to use her hot tub from time to time, and I’ve really enjoyed soaking all of me in it. But I prefer an indoor tub. Hot tubs are kept quite hot; I won’t need to have such a hot soak. And I would prefer not to have to go outside, especially in winter. And after a nice relaxing soak, it’s not fun to have to dash across the road and then take a shower before returning to a relaxing mode.
So after doing some research, I decided a walk-in tub was best for me. Not only will I be able to soak, but it has water jets. First, it will help the soreness and stiffness in my legs that have been a problem for the past couple of years. Second, I can get into and out of it easily and safely, which I could no longer do with the tub I had. And it has an inline heater to keep the water warm.
But it wouldn’t be easy installing a walk-in tub in my house. It has two problems, getting it to the bathroom and then creating a workable space once it’s there. In the space where it would sit, there is already a tub with tile around it, and the new taller tub will extend into the window area. So this bathroom is going to need remodeling in addition to tub removal to make it work.
And the best way to get it in the house and upstairs is through the front door and up the inside stairs, not to have to carry a big, bulky, heavy tub all the way around the house and up the back, outside stairs. The back stairs, however, are wider and do not have a chairlift blocking the way. The chairlift on the indoor stairs would have to be removed in order to bring in the tub in the shortest, most efficient way. (The chairlift had been for my late husband, but works for me as a dumb-waiter to carry heavy stuff upstairs.)
Most people would not remodel a bathroom just to have a soaking tub and dismantle, albeit temporarily, a chairlift on the stairway. But they are not me with my desire for a soaking tub. So when the opportunity came along, I wasn’t about to let these hurdles stand in my way. It was also suggested that I might want to consider a new, larger hot water heater. This project was going to cost more than I anticipated, but I could afford it because I had recently come into an inheritance with enough to cover it.
The actual project began when I met with the American Standard sales person last December. He measured and told me the hurdles we would have to overcome. Within days, I met with Randall at Siuslaw Glass and Mirror. He came and looked and measured inside and out and ordered a smaller window. In January, he removed the large view window and replaced it with the smaller one. Then he built up the wall and new windowsill. After that, he added new siding outside and painted it with primer. Lastly, he added insulation between the new studs and put green drywall inside and for the new sill.
Then a week later, I had a new, larger hot water heater installed. I was ready. When American Standard called, we set an installation date for later in March. But earlier this week, I received a call to see if I wanted it installed the next day. I said that wouldn’t work, but the next two or three days would. So it was scheduled. I then received a call from Maynard from Boise who would be doing the installation after traveling to Florence from Klamath Falls where he had just finished installing a tub.
Tuesday evening, Maynard came by to scope out the job. He decided that he could dismantle the chairlift and put it back together, since he had done it before.
He arrived Wednesday morning. First thing, he removed the door to the bathroom—frame and all. Next the toilet was taken out. Then the chairlift was lifted off its rail. Now for the big job. He started on the removal of the tub made of porcelain/cast iron. He had a powerful saw that was very loud and took a long time, but it made a cut all the way through. But the tub wouldn’t budge. So he had to cut out a section, which made it possible to get his hands inside and gain some leverage. Finally, it started to loosen, and he got the sections out. Boy, did it look strange to see wall studs and insulation and no tub.
When he went to lunch, he also bought some conduit to run wiring from the fuse box in the garage around the house and to the bathroom. He got it all installed. By then, it was early evening and a helper arrived to help carry in the walk-in tub that had been sitting in front of the garage all day. They got it to the bathroom doorway and it was not going to fit. The drywall needed to be cut about an inch. After that, it slipped right through. The walk-in tub had arrived in the bathroom.
The helper left, and Maynard reattached the chairlift before he left. So much was accomplished in one day.
Thursday was stormy, so all work was done inside––mostly plumbing. Moving the plumbing around to the opposite wall and attaching hoses and checking for leaks on the tub took a lot of time. Putting on faucets and other stuff on the tub and making sure everything worked took more time as well as moving the tub into place, leveling it, attaching it, and installing the drain so that it could dry overnight.
Friday was cloudy but no rain. So Maynard ran six wires through the conduit and connected them to the fuse box in the garage and at the tub end where wires were sticking out of a wall-plug-size space.
After the electrical was completed, it was time for the moment of truth. He closed the tub door and ran in water and then tested the quick drain motor. Everything worked with no leaks.
Then he cut sheets of acrylic to form the backsplash and to form the new windowsill. By late Friday, the tub was just about finished. The finishing touches would be added Saturday along with the installation of a new toilet. A free new toilet was part of the deal.
So tomorrow night I may just take a soaking bath in my new tub. I can hardly wait.