Farewell to Drain

We are edging closer to that moment when we will pick up a paint brush and bring some light and colour to the kitchen. We have come a long way since the horror show that was our old kitchen to the finished kitchen larder and book shelves. Through it all, first as a temporary fix drain and then a strange but stinky totem pole for mice and slugs -- even stuffing a cloth down the drain to temporarily block it merely over excited the slugs -- has been the drainage pipe. Here once stood the sink above a sheared off stop cock and lead piping that made us cringe. It took us two months to find the main turn off for our water, which is in our neighbour's drive; we have a hilarious story about that which involves switching off the wrong water main and seeing our neighbour dripping with soap suds, a towel and not much else standing above us asking politely if 'We switched her water off'. We couldn't really deny this as we had our hand on a very dirty mains switch off. Oh, how we laughed and how our neighbour glared. Back to that totem drain. It's sat there for the last few weeks as the sink was moved, a new drain created that went out through the wall, one drill bit worn to a nub later and one rather bemused handyman, we had a new drain and the old one was surplus to requirement. Time to take a hammer to it. This time it's down to Andrew, who has been told not to overdo it, to take his time and shout for any help.

Farewell to Drain

Little help is needed. A mere nudge of the drain cover and the whole things snaps off in one piece leaving a hole in the floor. An old pot drain that reeks and looks like it has been home to slug orgies. Andrew discusses with me about chopping away the old concrete to get it below the slate tiles so he could lay one new tile over it. There are plus sides, it will blend in. There are downsides, it could damage the tiles around it. The old drain will be under a bench that will form part of our new kitchen table, is there another solution? Chip the pipe down, Andrew says, pack it with bricks and rubble and fill with concrete. Result! A job that could take a day will now take hours and once the table and bench are in you won't see it. Andrew tells me he will mix the concrete like he mixed it for the floor, he goes away to find his note book where he has written down what mix he used.

How to block up an old drain.

Before he goes he brings in two large bricks which fit tightly into the drain, blocking it for around twelve inches (30cm approx.). While he's rummaging for his notes, I pack in rubble that he's chipped away and brush any dust and assorted rubbish into the drain.

Pouring concrete

We then mix up some concrete that will be the same colour as the mortar that shows around the slate tiles.

Mixing concrete

Andrew then spends around twenty minutes working it and smoothing out the scree. This simply means a layer of concrete that is self leveling -- or in this case is leveled with a piece of wood and a plasterers trowel -- the final result for drying looks like this. Andrew cleans around it with a wet cloth to take of excess.

Final layer of concrete

Andrew then spends around four hours visiting the spot in the kitchen to make sure that it doesn't crack as it dries. Even though the drain is blocked there is still some air movement and moisture will be sucked out quickly. Andrew uses his brush trick and within five hours the cement is setting and by morning the floor is ready to be cleaned and sealed.

Before and after, blocking up a drain.


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