Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Making Rocket science look simple.

Some time ago we realized that the kitchen sinks had not be installed correctly, there was a definite sag, and the gap between the granite work top and the sink was getting bigger. On close examination we found that the sinks had in fact been set into M.D.F under the granite top, over time this had got wet and was the cause of the sagging despite the previous owners having wedged an upright support under the larger sink.
 We had various ideas of how to solve the problem, none of which were appealing as it meant removing the granite top which is very heavy, there was a strong possibility that we would end up cracking the top, and there was the potential damage to the tile surround which we had done when we first moved in, so the job got put on the long finger. We had also bought a new modern tap which would get installed when we did 'the job' but that would be the easy part, or so we thought.
Having recently bought paint and other bits and pieces to revamp the kitchen we knew we had to get on with the sink resetting. Having rejected plan A, B, and C we moved on to plan D. Plan D was to remove the tap, remove the sinks, cut  lengths of  1 inch angle iron the width of the unit to insert into the wall behind the sink and onto the top of the unit at the front.
 All our worry's about resetting the sink were unfounded, a couple of dry runs and we knew it would work fine.
The problems started with replacing the taps. Now replacing taps is not rocket science, in this day and age with flexi pipes which simply screw onto the fixed copper pipes which have compression fittings to take the flexi pipes, it's a job that should take an hour at most.
Not so, the first job was to remove the flexi pipes from the old taps, just not possible, for some reason the pipes just kept turning, maybe they had been clamped in place at the point of manufacture, we can see no other way that they could have been 'fixed'.
 So onto plan B. Buy new pipes, huh!! I must think I still live in Spain where this would not have been a problem, we would have been able to buy these pipes in either of our local village's ferreterias (hardware stores).half inch!. Why on earth one end is metric size and the other imperial is anyone's guess. If you need to extend the pipe as we did the only option is to use copper or heat resistant plastic pipe, fortunately we did have a length of this laying around in the work shop.
But this is Ireland where clearly DIY is not encouraged. Flexi pipes here seem to come in one length, 30cm, we required 50cm, also they are only designed to fit onto the tap end either 8 10 or 12mm male end, the other end being female and in one size only,
We had planned this job for a weekday in case we needed to get bits and pieces, day one and two was spent trying to find the right length flexi hose to no avail, one last ditch attempt was made on Saturday at the largest building and plumbing store where again we drew a blank, by now Simon knew he was going to have to use the spare piping that we had and was hopeful that he would have the right connections in his miscellaneous plumbing bits,
he almost did, short by one straight connector!  Being Saturday there was no chance of getting the missing bit as builders yards close at 1am for the weekend. What should have been an hour long job turned into nearly five days. He has installed a full central heating system in less time than this.
 But, the job is now done, the new taps are installed, there is no longer a 1 inch gap between the sinks and work top and at last the hot water side has a good rate of flow, before it was little more than a fast dribble, the problem? PTFE tape had been used to make a washer. PTFE tape is wonderful stuff but it does have a habit of leaving a lose end which often stops the flow of water in a pipe. Hopefully there will be no more plumbing work to do, it is not Simon's favorite job, but he does it, bless him, and this time the air was not blue!


  1. We might not have been able to buy Marmite in Spain but we could get anything we needed for plumbing work, what we found annoying was being told that what we wanted wasn't made when we know it is, Spain is far better at reusing and doing things yourself than Ireland, very much the throw away society or employ a 'professional'.

  2. It is looking great now...despite the saga. My brain fuzzes over when it comes to plumbing and its related paraphenalia.

  3. Poco Poco as they say in Spain, more or less translates as little by little. Once you have grasped the basic idea of male and female and you can measure correctly it really is quite easy as long as you can get the joints and lengths of pipes required, which here seems to be a problem.