July 30, 2022

Opening a Can of Worms

Normally, I try to post a review of a new-to-me vegan recipe on Saturdays, but it's just not going to happen this weekend. The problem in my bedroom turned into a huge issue and now I am at the point where I'm just totally overwhelmed.

Thankfully, my older brother, Brian, was able to come over today and talk me through what was wrong, what my options are for fixing it, and basically just what I was looking at. Then he made me promise over and over that I wouldn't start anything new without asking him first, haha.

Basically, here's the problem:

The shower in the master bathroom is right between these doors (the left door goes to the closet, right door to the bathroom).

So when you walk in the bathroom, there is a stand-up shower on the left. I'd been planning to surprise Jerry by taking out the carpet in our bedroom and installing the luxury vinyl planking that we have in the rest of the house (I still had enough boxes for almost the whole bedroom; I only had to order a few extra). 

That should have been a fairly simple one-day project. Once I started taking the carpet out, however, the problems started arising. First, the floor had some high and low spots that I'm sure weren't there before. The floor was kind of "wavy" because of it. This could be a minor problem by using a leveling product that you pour in the low spots and it hardens quickly to make the floor level.

Considering this is a manufactured home, the flooring is MDF and not plywood. Not a huge problem unless something like this happens down the road. Brian said another option would be to remove all of the flooring and replace with plywood; he said he really doesn't think that's necessary, though.

He also mentioned that the MDF may be glued and stapled instead of screwed or nailed. Let me tell you, I swear this house was built with glue and staples, which are IMPOSSIBLE to get out cleanly. And it takes forever and causes carpal tunnel syndrome and makes your hands so numb you can't even do anything with them. He said if this is the case, he highly recommends *not* removing the MDF and just using the leveling stuff instead.

Okay, sounds good, right? A cheap and simple solution.

Then I got to the last part of where I was taking the carpet out, which was the floor between the two doors. When I got in the middle of them, I saw that there was clearly water damage behind the shower.

Since it went right to the wall, it was a safe assumption that the water was under the wall and into the bathroom (under the shower) as well. Brian said that part of the floor and the bottom of the wall for sure need to be replaced. Awesome--a day project just turned into a weekend project.

But wait! There's more.

To get to the floor under the shower, I have to move the shower. We've needed a new one for a long time, so we figured now is the time to get one. (I say "we" because I had to tell Jerry what was going on, so it's no longer a surprise.) The shower is one piece and won't fit through the door, so we have to cut it into pieces to remove it.

Side note: We used to have a garden tub in the back right corner of the bathroom. We never used it (it had jacuzzi jets and that grossed me out for some reason) so we ended up getting rid of it when we remodeled the bathroom. This is the only picture I could dig up at the moment; it's in the middle of the remodel. You can see the corner tub, though. (There were mirrors where the wallpaper is.) And we most definitely got rid of the carpet! Why they put carpet in the bathroom, I have no idea.

Since the water lines and drain are still there under the floor, I asked Brian about putting a bathtub/shower combo in that back right corner instead of replacing where it is now. And he said that's no big deal at all. So... that's what we're going to do. And thankfully, Brian is going to come over and "help" do the work (basically, I watch and learn). 

The best part is that we're going to turn the space from the current shower into a linen closet. Our bathroom is big with a lot of wasted space since we got rid of the garden tub, so I love the idea of having a closet. (Without a basement, attic, or any other storage space--other than the garage--the closet will be fantastic!)

Still, this is a HUGE project. Today, Brian told me I could cut the drywall out of that wall and cut out a section of the floor (where the water damage is). Being me, and definitely hypomanic (I think I'm in a rapid-cycling state of bipolar right now--super hypomanic and then depressed, very quickly.) I wanted to immediately tear out the shower, the bathroom floor, get a new shower, etc. But I promised I'd wait for his approval ;)

I finished cutting the drywall and I found the damage under the shower. It's bad! My tools could go right through the floor. So, it's not something we can put off; we need to move on this soon.

The hardest part now is keeping the cats out of there! I can't risk them going down under the house (right now it's a big hole). I grabbed some pieces of scrap from the garage and did what I could.

It's been a super long day and I'm exhausted. And it's not even close to done! I'm so glad that I have a brother who knows all about this stuff (he's been building for as long as I can remember). Patience is not my virtue, that's for sure, so it's good to have someone keep me in check!


  1. Oh goodness. I'll say it again. I'm so glad you found this now before it got worse. I know it's bad. I'm sorry, but rooms do collapse with people and cats and dogs on them and mold is deadly. I also relate to your rapid-cycling episode. That's where I'm at right now. You express it all so eloquently. Thanks always for your honesty. So helpful. I know. That's probably the last thing you want to hear. But it's true.

  2. Sorry to hear about the issues, but thankfully you found it now. And luckily you have such a helpful brother. I have said it before, but I am so impressed that you have such confidence to take on these projects solo. Many people are so paralyzed with fear with potentially screwing up, that they won't even attempt it. You have a gift Katie.

  3. Try to look on the bright side; you have discovered the water damage that you didn't know was there, before it got even worse! Now you can take care of it, and improve the bathroom, as you said.

  4. I was going to say something along the same lines as the other commenters. Instead of thinking of it as opening a can of worms, try to keep in mind that you caught a problem before it could get much worse! Sounds like the finished product will be lovely! And water free! 😊

  5. I know how it feels to find the surprises in the house. You are truly blessed to have a builder in the family. Finding a quality contractor is almost as stressful than the surprise problem. I am looking forward to seeing the after.

  6. Honestly this is a blessing in disguise! You discovered the problem before it turns into an even bigger problem and can take care of it! I hope everything goes smoothly, I'm looking forward to the updates!

  7. The reason your whole floor in your bedroom feels uneven and is probably squeeky, is from using not only particle board, but staples instead of nails. We replaced a jacuzzi tub in my dad's house with a 5' shower by blowing out a window and removing the plywood and siding and getting a one-piece enclosed shower in. If you don't plan on doing that, you'll have to buy a tub and tile around it, or put those plastic panels up that require caulking maintenance. I'm surprised since your trailer is so old that they used Pex instead of copper water piping. Well good luck with all that!


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