Google+ House Revivals: How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Monday, April 7, 2014

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

The faucet was leaking... drip, drip, drip... it wouldn't stop. One day we just couldn't stand it anymore. We ordered a package of assorted washers from Amazon, and eagerly awaited its arrival.

(This post is participating in Blogging from A to Z. F is for Faucet. Or Fix. Or Fail.)

We have fixed many leaky faucets over the years, so we expected this one to be a piece of cake. It was not. The old, ugly faucet, with the broken ceramic handle could not be repaired. We needed a special tool we did not have, and frankly, we hated the faucet. So, off I went to Lowes to grab another faucet, but while I was there, I thought "Why not replace that awful sink while we're at it?"

I grabbed a new sink and a new faucet and home I went.  Sink replacements are easy peasy, right?

My husband was not happy about the new sink, but I explained that I hated the old sink -- it was blue, and didn't match the mint green tub and toilet.

Of course, we agreed a year ago, that we would only do the bare minimum to this bathroom for now, as we are planning a major remodel of the space in the future. For now, we just painted, installed new towel hooks and chose accessories that worked with existing finishes.

I guess his idea of bare minimum and mine are just a *tiny* bit different.

Even though my husband was not happy when he saw the sink, he was a good sport about the whole thing... at first. Then the swearing started (yes, it's true, my husband has potty mouth). We could never be one of those cute couples who do DIY videos, where they dance and smile and kiss their way through their projects. Seriously, the sound track would end up being a series of bleeps, and eventually someone would cry, and someone else would say "Oh, (bleep)", and throw up their hands and walk away, leaving the camera rolling on a deserted disaster of a space.

Okay, maybe it's not that bad, but it's not always pretty. I was actually trying to make up for the new sink by making cookies, when I heard the cussing start. Quietly, I peeked down the hall to see my husband holding up the old sink. Apparently the old sink had not given up without a fight, and my husband was surrounded by broken tile.... So much for an easy sink replacement.  After a few deep breathes, my husband became really calm, set the sink down, and walked away from the project. Forever.

I tiptoed into the bathroom to survey the damage and cried a little inside.  There was tile all over the place, and several pieces were broken. Now this wasn't beautiful tile, but it matched the tub surround tile, and we were simply not ready for a major remodel, so the tile was going to have to be repaired. Off I went in search of matching ugly tile... sigh....  All of Saturday was spent in tile stores and architectural salvage yards. Eventually, I found exactly one twelve inch square sheet of two by two tiles that were thin enough to work with my existing tile, but it was white, and my existing tile was off-white. At this point, I just didn't care anymore, so I bought it and went home.

I didn't have the courage heart to ask my husband to repair the tile, so I did it myself, in my spare moments, using construction adhesive to attach the tile. It took about a month, with life interruptions. The p-trap dried out, and we started getting stinky sewer gasses, so I stuffed a paper towel in the pipe.

Now, I really dislike this tile, and was never crazy about the racing stripe, so when I realized too many of the blue tiles had broken to repair the stripe, my feelings weren't hurt.  Instead, I "exploded" the last half of the stripe.  The blue tiles and the new white tiles were "dotted" around the counter top.

I realize you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but at least the counter top was repaired! I was so happy that I grabbed my cell phone, took these two pictures... and then dropped the phone on the tile, shattering the screen and rendering the phone unusable and in need of a costly repair (no picture of that). I cried a little.

Eventually, I made a call -- from my land line. I was done. This broken tile project had broken me. When my handyman answered the phone, I scheduled an appointment for him to come out and finish the job. And that, my friends, is how you fix a leaky faucet -- buy some washers, realize you can't replace the washers, buy a faucet, decide to buy a new sink while you're at it, destroy countertop while removing sink, search in vain for suitable replacement tile, patch counter with mis-matched tile -- then call a handyman to finish the project because you are so over it.

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