Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Should this worry me?

Shower ceiling - gone!

Last night, I finished the rip out for the light fixture in the shower ceiling. It was a beautiful chunk of porcelain, but unfortunately, a bare bulb in such an environment is no longer up to code, and the city chose this as one of the few violations (of the many many that we posess) to write up. The fixture is curious in that it mounts without any visible screws - the screws that hold it to the backing plate are in the socket itself. I'll have to post a photo of this at some future time.

Since this photograph, I've sistered in some 2x3s to hold the drywall flush with the edge of the tile - the plaster and fiberboard combined were about 7/8" thick. But before getting to that point, I took some photographs from the vantage point afforded me.

The following two images are of the same location.

Questionable wiring - far

The stud in the foreground at the bottom of the picture is one edge of the shower enclosure.

Questionable wiring - close

This is a close up. Note the cracked joist, the tube with a nail resting in it, the wiring joined outside a box, the knob and tube wiring just resting on the ceiling, the beautiful notching and drilling...

The strange part of all this is that I can't figure out the purpose of the copper pipe that necessitated all of this. This pipe, I assume, would be servicing something on the third floor - yet there's nothing there or anywhere near where this pipe appears to run. If it were a radiator pipe, there should be another one accompanying it.

It's just a small crack, right? I really don't want to pull up the floor up there, not yet.


Jenny Kerr said...

We have pipes in our basement that go no where, old heating oil pipes I guess for whatever the original boiler ran off of (our inspector said) is it possible they were going to run water up there and never finished it? What else runs in copper pipes? Always fun to have a little mystery!

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Jenny, we too have some pipes in the basement that go nowhere - but they're interesting looking and go through the basement floor, so I don't have any real inclination to tear them out.

There's a full (or 3/4, depending on how you want to call it) bathroom up there already, in a much more logical place (one that coincides handlily with the plumbing stack), so I don't think that that is is. I'm slightly more inclined to think that it had something to do with the hot water return tank, a concept I do not fully grasp.

Mary Beth said...

Ok, this is a little bizarre, but you might be able to figure out if there is water that actually runs through those pipes by turning on faucets and then touching the pipes. (Hot water is easiest, but cold water may give a temperature drop and/or be detectable as a vibration).

I don't think the crack is anything to worry about - we have quite a few, and those beams aren't going anywhere!

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Mary Beth, that's comforting to hear. I think I've spent too much time reading another Tudor Revival house blog where every single light fixture involved a notched joist....

I like the idea of trying to touch the pipe. I can't reach far enough to do so, alas. If only there was a tool for plumbing like those for electrical wires, to tell if they are currently live without actually touching them.

Todd said...

If you can reach up there I'd screw and glue a piece of 1/2" thick plywood to the sides of the cracked joist.