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February 23, 2012

Bathroom Craziness In Mom’s 1950s Time Capsule Condo

By Sara In AZ

Yeah, I’ll admit it – the tub is a disaster y’all. This is exactly what it looked like the day Mom bought the place.


Today we are going to focus on the tub spout and the overflow cover area (which is the big hole under the spout in the tub).

We would have definitely kept the original tub spout had it been in decent condition. However, you can see from this first picture it was really corroded where the water flowed out – that is not from us cutting at the spout, the upside down V at the end of the spout was just not there. It was really pitted too and just in super horrible condition. 


Most of the time tub spouts will twist off, as they usually have threaded ends. This spout did have a threaded end, but the spout was SO corroded on there it was impossible to just twist it off.

So we brought out our nifty little oscillating hand tool and started cutting away at the spout.


And YAY!!! It totally worked!


You can see here, even better, how corroded the spout really was. ugh.


Be aware if you ever have to replace a tub spout in an old tub – it can be hard to get the correct fit from a modern spout to the old plumbing. Our plumbing was a bit quirky and it seemed like every threaded spout we found was too big for our small pipe. In the end we found a spout that would work. Mike had to do some finagling with it to get it on, but it did work out in the end……pictures coming soon of the new spout!

Onto the overflow connector! Y’all are probably saying, “What the heck is an overflow connector Sara?” I don’t honestly know if that is even the correct term for it actually! Smile But, we will just go with it ok y’all!

Here is a picture of my tub, in my home, as an example. You can see the overflow cover right under the spout.


Here is Mom’s tub again, see how she just has a gaping hole where the overflow cover goes.


Well this connector piece unscrewed out of that hole, and you HAD to have it if you wanted to install a new overflow cover.


Our only problem was (and I did not get pictures of this) a screw that would NOT budge in one of the holes. We thought, “No problem, we’ll just order a new connector.” Ummmmmmm, no! No plumbing place we went to had ever seen this type of connector before and no catalog they looked in had this part to order. Sad smile 

Plan B, we will try to soak it in oil to loosen it up. No, that didn’t work either. We tried everything too, WD-40, PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench – we soaked it for days,  that screw was not going anywhere y’all. It had a happy home in the overflow connector, and it was there to stay. It was so bad that the screw actually broke in half when we were trying to remove it for the last time.

At this point I was getting worried. I did not know what we would do if we could not install a new overflow cap. It would look horrible to have this pretty new shower and this big gaping hole in the tub.

Never fear, Mike came to the rescue yet again! YAY Mike!

Mike very carefully drilled the old screw out and then decided he was going to re-tap screw threads. This basically means that you are going to make new threads for the screw to screw into.  We had to do this because the old screw left bits and pieces behind in the threads, so it still would not accept any new screws – even after drilling out the old screw.  I had never heard of this before, but luckily Mike is a wonder fix-it guy who can figure practically anything out. Give him some tape and popsicle sticks and he can probably build you a new house out of it! Smile

He is assembling all the necessary items for this project.


Here is the screw tap that we bought from Ace Hardware. He tried to match the threading up as closely as possible to what the original screw threading was.


He used his little hand drill (the steel piece on the far right) and re-tapped both holes so we would not have mismatched screws in either side.


And check it out, it worked!!!! Mike successfully re-threaded both screw holes so they would accept new screws! YAY!!!


Whew, crisis averted!

Here is the overflow cover we bought to install over the connector.


But, y’all are going to have to wait just a little bit longer to see the completed tub. Just a little though, I promise!

Come back next Thursday when I clean the shower grout and we install a new toilet! I just know y’all are on the edge of your seats waiting to see me clean that grout! Winking smile

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17 Responses to Bathroom Craziness In Mom’s 1950s Time Capsule Condo

  1. Thereasa Reply

    February 23, 2012 at 5:11 am

    I live in a mid-century home in Arizona also….LOVE my little house and really love seeing other zonies on here!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks for visiting and for the comment Thereasa! We would LOVE to see pics of your AZ MCM home sometime! 🙂

      • C.D. Ellis Reply

        December 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm

        I have one question–how did Mike learn how to do all this stuff? Mike would be the guy on Gilligan’s Island who could make a radio out of a coconut!

        • Sara In AZ Reply

          December 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm

          Ha! Great analogy….Mike WOULD be the guy who could make a radio out of a coconut! 🙂

          Good question……it seems like it’s pretty much all instinctual with him….his Dad is a “tinkerer” too….so I think it’s kind of in Mike’s DNA somehow! Also, he is an engineer – so he feels comfortable with figuring out bizarre problems. He is really, really great about problem solving like that…..I have to say there is not one single thing I have ever asked/wanted him to do that he has not been able to figure out a solution for. Mike seriously amazes me!!!

  2. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    February 23, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Yay Mike! He really IS a pro. Maybe y’all are lucky that you don’t live next door to us. I’d be calling him all of the time. 🙂

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      I know Eartha, he is really on the ball isn’t he! He gets mad props for doing like all of the crazy hard stuff! You know if we lived next door Mike would be happy to help y’all out, then he’d get to visit Pip and maybe get some chocolate chip cookies out of the deal! 🙂

      • RetroRuth Reply

        February 24, 2012 at 10:58 am

        Whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. Mike likes PIP?!?!?! That’s it, I’m totally telling Midnight! :p

  3. Andrea Reply

    February 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Hee, I am kinda excited to see you clean the grout – just because I have fits trying to keep the grout in my bathroom clean, and maybe you’ve got a better suggestion!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Uggghhhhh, grout. It’s the bane of my existence!!!! 😉 It was a real blast getting the grout here whipped into shape, but I managed to do it after days of work……..eeks, SO glad that is over with!

  4. RetroRuth Reply

    February 24, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Oh my goodness, you guys really had your work cut out for you, huh? That tub, ouch! I applaud you guys for looking at that and thinking “restoration” rather than “new tub”! 🙂

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      It was kinda horrible Ruth, but there was NO way I was going to rip out that mini Cinderella!!! NO WAY!!!

      • RetroRuth Reply

        February 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

        And that is why you are awesome! 🙂

  5. Vickie Reply

    February 24, 2012 at 11:52 am

    You two are simply amazing! Couldn’t you pleeeeze come to California & fix my bathroom too??? ;- )

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Oh gosh, that is really kind of you to say Vickie!Thank you! I’ll try to talk Mike into fixing up your bathroom too, but he might be kinda burned out with the whole renovation thing now! 😉

  6. Pingback: Retro Bathroom Shower Reveal In Mom’s 1950s Time Capsule Condo | No Pattern Required

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