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The management company and super of our newly purchased 1960's co-op do not seem to know the answers to our questions:
1. To improve the layout of our 5' x 12' galley kitchen, we would like to move the gas stove (currently about in the middle of the 12' run) rotated 90 degrees to the end of the 12' run (think base of "L"). How does one find out where the gas riser is? Is it usual for the plumbing and gas lines to be in the same riser? Is moving the gas line within our space feasible?
2. We would like to replace the exisitng tub in our tiny bathroom with a walk-in shower using the same drain/footprint. The bathroom does have a dropped ceiling. How can we ascertain that this can be done without disturbing the neighbor below and without destroying the tub only to find out it can't be done.
We have chosen a contractor and would like to complete the application process knowing that our plan can be implemented. Thanks.
Gas line: Gas and plumbing is often in the same riseer. Look under your cabinets until you find where the gas line comes through the wall and the shutoff valve is. After the shutoff will be some amount of flexible gas line connecting to the stove. If you can move the stove to the new location without exceeding the legal limit for the flexible line, then you probably can do this (you will have to run the line through cabinets, etc.). Running a new solid line, behind the walls, from the main riser to your new location will involve shutting down gas to everybody in your apt line, and the building may not want to do that (because they have to arrange to have all pilot lights relit, etc.). In my building (same era), this would inconvenience 30 other apartments, and was a non-starter from the super's point of view.
Shower: You need to determine whether the distance between your floor and the downstairs neighbor's ceiling is enough for a proper drain trap. If so, you can probably do it. You may be able to base distances on the drop ceiling in your bath, but you really should check the downstairs neighbor's layout. Maybe they got raised their ceiling, or put in recessed lights... ? In my recent renovation, the tub was replaced (with another tub), which necessitated digging out a section of concrete floor, to replace the drain line. We did end up going through the floor (neighbor's ceiling), but were fortunate as that apartment was also being renovated, and my contractor just coordinated with their contractor.
All this is of course impossible unless the co-op says yes to the plans. A well thought out set of architectural drawings and specs showing how plumbing and waterproofing will be handled will help.
you should be able to ADD to existing gas line and place it in the new location. no coop in their right mind will allow the gas to be shut-off for the whole building to have this done. i was considering it and the super said "OK". fortunately, my friend who does plumbing on large buildings stopped me and gave me an example where this cost someone more that $20K. once gas stops running through those pipes, the rust/wear/tear will cause some leaks and it will be on you to fix all of them.
changing the bath to shower should not be a problem unless there's a requirement to have at least 1 tub in the apartment.
"If you can move the stove to the new location without exceeding the legal limit for the flexible line"
How does one determine the legal limit for flexible, external gas line?
Also, hypothetical question:
Say the legal limit for such flexible line is 3 feet. But someone wants to move their stove 10 feet. Is it possible to, AFTER the shut-off valve which is outside the wall, go back INTO the wall, and extend the rest of the line (7 feet) to the stove? Thereby adhering to the law and not needing to shut off gas to the building?
The NYC Fuel Gas Code is here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/fuel_code.pdf. Per section FGC411, Appliance connections, it looks like you're allowed 6'. You may be able to extend solid piping to the new location from the existing location. I'm not a gas expert, and it looks like there's a lot of detail about what is and is not permitted (particularly regarding fittings behind walls -- i.e., you may not be permitted to have the new solid line go back into the wall after the original shut-off valve). You need to speak to an experienced gas line installer.
The only big mistake I made in renovating our house, and adversely affecting its resale value, was removing the tub from the master bath and putting in a large shower and a bidet instead. I should have replaced the tub.[I don't mean to suggest I did the hard labor myself. I hired great contractors]
I would not remove a tub again and put in a shower if I cared about resale--and I always care about resale. And this is in a house with another full bath, now with a whirlpool tub (which I added because I thought it might help offset removing the tub upstairs).
I once showed an apartment of 350 square feet (on the LES) to a buyer. The owner had removed the tub and put in a fantastic high-end renovated shower (sealed travertine, no less). But once the buyer saw no tub, it was no deal. He explained it to me well when he said something like, "I hardly ever use the tub, but I want to know it's there."
Numerous buyers stood in our impressive bathroom and plotted how to take out the shower and put in a tub. It hurt me to hear this.....never again.
EXCELLENT POINT, kharby2.
I have a real estate agent friend who bemoans this all the time. Usually it's gay men, she says, who take out bathtubs (often in a one-bath apartment) in favor for an indulgent euro-style spa shower. No woman (she says) would ever agree to buy a place with no bathtub. Period. Double if that woman expects to have a child anytime soon (you can bathe a child in the kitchen sink for only so long).
I was also one of those guys who hadn't taken a *bath* since about 1982, and toyed with the idea of taking out my tub, putting in a shower, and using the extra space for a stacked washer/dryer.
Until I developed a serious skin issue that required daily therapeutic soaking baths. I would have been up Shit Creek Without a Paddle without my bathtub!!!
Also, kharby2 ...
If it were me (and I'm sure I'm not alone), a *whirlpool* bathtub as the only tub in the apartment would also be a dealkiller.
They are just too fussy, high-maintenance, and difficult to clean.
Kharby and NYCMatt,
I agree and disagree. Yes there is people who want a tub in the master bathroom but there are also many people (more from what I can tell) would rather have a shower.
What I know most people wan the tub if they have children. If my client is buying a one bedroom they usually take out the tub. In a 2 bedroom 2 bath they usually leave one tub and change the tub to a shower in the master. In a three-4 bedroom with 3 baths, it usually turns into 2 showers and oner bath.
I am 64 years old and a woman. I never take baths, and purchased an apartment that had the tub removed for a big shower. Don't think I'm that unusual.
Thank you all for your comments, particularly aaron2 - we have not made any progress as of yet. As this was my first post I made the mistake of putting this query in the wrong category - streeteasy will be deleting this post for me and I will repost correctly - but keep the suggestions coming. btw, I do not believe anyone with children would ever buy a 750 sq.ft. one bedroom, so we are not worried about resale.