I took the day off from my job yesterday. That’s why I wasn’t online all day either, since the computer is down here at the shop.

But I wasn’t sitting around being lazy, oh no! I had a project to take care of, and I knew it would take most of the day, and I wanted to get it done as soon as possible, so instead of waiting until next weekend, I decided to take a vacation day and get it done.

We live in a mobile home…manufactured housing…what they used to call a trailer house until the PC police started making their influence felt. Now I have found mobile home living to be inexpensive and comfortable, if a bit crowded. (We live in a “single-wide” as opposed to a “double-wide” or “triple-wide”, hence the crowded conditions.) The biggest negative I have seen is the cheapness of the materials used. Right from the start, some things broke or wore out quickly. Most were replaced just as quickly.

Something that was new to me when we bought the house was the plastic/acrylic/fiberglass bathtub (I’m still not sure what material it is.) I was used to cast iron tubs covered in porcelain, strong and heavy-duty. This tub in our new house flexed under my weight, a strange sensation when you’ve never experienced that. Unfortunately, within just a few years it developed cracks in the floor of the tub near the drain, and I had my first experience with trying to get it fixed. It took a couple attempts, but I finally got it fixed to my own sort-of satisfaction with a fiberglass patch. It was ugly, but at least it didn’t leak… until recently.

What happened is that the tub floor developed a couple more cracks just outside of the area covered by the patch. You see, when I patched it the first time, I followed the directions on the package, which said to make the patch about an inch wider than the area to be patched. That worked for a time, but it allowed the rest of the tub floor to flex, and so it still developed cracks in the small area where we stood the most.

So what I did was instead of making a small patch, I used the whole kit! It covered almost half the tub floor, and made it much stronger. But I’m getting ahead of my story.

We got up yesterday morning, and my wife and I first ran my work van out to the repair garage for its appointment to get some front-end work done. Since I wasn’t going to use it on my vacation day, it seemed like a good day to do that. Then we ran to Micky-D’s for some breakfast, and then to our chiropractor appointments, and arrived home about 10:00. That’s when I set to work.

First I had to clean the tub/shower. If I was doing this on my own, I probably would have only cleaned the tub floor, but my wife always insists on doing things the right way, so I had to clean the whole thing. And it was a good thing I did, because the soap scum was heavy, as was the hard water stains. (Our water isn’t really all that hard, but it still is enough to stain the shower walls and tub.) This process took me until noon. Then we took a break for lunch.

After lunch and back to work, I determined that the tub was ready for the patch, that is, after removing the old patch and cleaning as much debris from where it was as possible, including using a wire wheel to grind away some of it. I took out the fiberglass fabric and cut it in half for the requisite two layers, and cut the hole for the drain. Then I poured the whole bottle of resin in the tray, followed by the full tube of hardener (it came in the proper amounts.) I mixed it up, painted a layer onto the tub surface, soaked the first layer of cloth and applied it. But it was kind of skrunkled, so I took a little time to straighten it, painted some more resin on and tried to soak the second layer and apply it. But the resin was quickly hardening, so some of it didn’t soak very well. But I got it on and straightened, and applied what little resin was left that was still usable.

All this time I was leaning over the edge of the tub, which was pushing in on my belly and my back was aching, and I was yelping from the pain and discomfort so my wife came running to see what was wrong.

Fun.

But the patch was looking pretty good. It had some rough, sharp edges, so I took a razor scraper and carefully worked at it to smooth those out, and I was really pretty satisfied. But I could see that I would need some more resin, so after a while of resting my wife and I headed out to Menards again for some more resin, hardener, and a brush, since the stuff gets so hard that the brush can’t be used again in very short order. We picked that up, then drove down to the garage to get my van which was now done, and went home.

This time I only used half of the resin and hardener, and it turned out to be just about right. I painted it onto the patch, taking care of the rough edges and filling in the gaps, and giving me a good surface for the finished repair. I really need to sand it, too, but at this point it’s fairly smooth, it fixed the cracks, and it strengthened the floor of the tub. It was 5:00, and I was done. I took a shower while my wife made supper. And I didn’t feel like I was going to go through the bottom of the tub! And it wasn’t leaking!

And I’m tired and sore today. It’s good we’re not busy here at work, because I need the rest!

Advertisements