We left off in our tale of bathtub salvage with a cleaned up and freshly painted cast iron behemoth in the basement, just waiting for the big moving day.

Wendy had contacted the movers and scheduled a date for a group of pros to help us accomplish this lofty goal of lifting the tub from its basement resting place to its rightful position in our master bathroom.

This may go without saying, but we were both completely stressed out about this looming event. So much so that we'd both been dreaming about and dreading the day this tub was to move from the basement and into the bathroom for a decade. With each passing year the idea grew more imposing and the thought that it might never even happen crept into our minds. The whole concept was so overhyped that Wendy even declared that the thought of being in the house during the move would be too much for her to bear, and she would need to be away when it all happened lest she might lose her mind. Yes, she'd officially proclaimed she'd likely lose it if she were to witness to this monumental occasion. Her loss, my gain?

As the more easy going half of our harebrained duo, I understood the level of torture she would be under and opted to offer myself as the emotional sacrificial lamb that would oversee the endeavor.

On the day of the deed the guys from My Truck Buddy were scheduled to arrive at 11:30, and I had a complete disaster of a basement to deal with. We told them we'd clean stuff up and clear a path to make is "easy" to get the tub out of the basement. But I have to say, I think "easy" is all relative when you're dealing with 350 pounds of iron.

I set my alarm for 7:00am so I could get to work bright and early. The main thing I had to do in the basement was move crap. And when I say move crap, I mean, a whole lot of crap. It's seems like I've used the bottom of the basement stairs as a dumping ground for all of my stuff for a bit too long. Doors, wood, drywall, wood, scraps, wood, hoses, wood, bags, nothing was off limits, not even wood.

This was a quick and dirty move of stuff, not some major overhaul organization, so my movements were fast and furious. Before I knew it I had myself a largely open area at the bottom of the basement stairs. By this point I was frantically cleaning when I heard out psycho dog running and barking crazy upstairs. "Oh-no!" I thought. "The mover guys are early!" But the basement was in decent shape.

Yes indeed, they were here. I opened the door and was greeted by Leon, of My Truck Buddy, along with three of his colleagues, Sean, Ara, and Marshall. "Hi, we're here to move a tub." This was music to my ears...but more the suspense building horror movie type of music than anything else. I wanted to jump out of my skin. Cleaning the basement had acted as a good distraction, but THE event had arrived.

I welcomed the guys in and showed them to the basement. I have to admit I smiled a little when the first guy got to the tub and said, "Wow, you mean, this is all solid metal?" I said, "Yes...yes it is. That's why we called you."

Lulu was losing her mind upstairs, running around like a crazy person and sniffing everything she could, so I scooped her up and closed her in the kitchen for the duration of the move. Not sure if you can imagine, but this move did not make her happy, and she made it known through high pitched yipps, crazy jumping, and drool smeared all over the door at about shoulder height.

We huddled in the basement for a few minutes while we talked over the objective. I then walked them through the path the tub would take, outlining where it would need to turn on its side to get through doorways, where it might be particularly tight, what direction it should face at any given time and where to be extra careful.

In our general shooting the shit while getting ready to lug the beast up our fragile stairs I mentioned that this tub is on the lighter side of cast iron tubs I've seen. There have been a handful that are larger, thicker, generally more massive that I've seen in various salvage yards. The movers glanced back at me and thanked me for not picking one of those. It seems their boss, who had previously come to the house to take a look at the tub and our home may have slightly underestimated the level of effort needed to pull this off. I was okay with this since there were four guys here to do the job. They said they had brought "backup," just in case.

It's at this point that I also pointed out the fact the back portions of the stair treads are unsupported, and to make sure their feet used the front of the steps rather than the back. I was freaking out a bit inside but I think I was relatively calm cool and collected on the outside (or I'm just delusional).

We returned to the basement to discuss how in the hell they were going to lift the tub. I showed them how a friend and I had gotten it into the basement and how it would need to make the entire journey on its side. They immediately noticed the primary problem with this, there's absolutely nothing for the person in back to grab onto. With the tub on its side, the center of gravity is very unruly.

The person leading the tub can hook their hand through the tub's drain, but in the back, with the tub on its side, and the slanted back of the tub, there's just nothing.

The guys hatched a plan to use moving straps wrapped precariously around the tub to let their legs and back do more of the lifting than their arms. They figured they had two flights of stairs to go up where the first one was less delicate and more forgiving. They'd venture up the basement stairs first, and if they needed to make any adjustments or modifications to their plan, they could stop in the dining room to reassess.

At this point I got out of the way and became a spectator to the show. The two guys strapped themselves into the job and began lifting the tub. It started with a guy on either end of the tub with one guy at the top of the stairs spotting for them, and another following close behind and tailing them up the stairs. I'll tell you one thing, these guys worked quickly but carefully. However, this wasn't without a near incident.

When the guys were about 2/3 up the basement stairs the guy on the backside of the tub proclaimed "I'm starting to lose it," which made me yell internally "OMG, I'M STARTING TO LOSE IT!!!!" It seems the strapping was having just as hard of a time getting a grip on the tub as the hands of the carrier. It was secure when standing on flat ground, but when the tub tipped up on the incline of the stairs the straps just started to slid off of the slanted portion of the tub.

Luckily, they were able to wrestle the tub up the last bit of stairs with the straps hanging on and without significant incident. They made it into the dining room where a large pad was waiting as a pit stop.

Lulu, who had exhausted herself on the other side of our French doors, was now quietly watching. I think she could sense my anxiety and felt she didn't need to add to it through her continued histrionics. Or maybe she'd just gotten tired of hearing herself whine and couldn't see through the glass very well when her snot all over it.

The team of movers evaluated their next steps and how to resolve the issues with losing their grip. Their solution was to further wrap the tub in blankets and then apply ratchet straps around the strapping attached to the carriers. As they were cranking the straps down I noticed it was also slipping over the edge and would have the same issue as the other straps. I politely pointed out what I saw and hoped that the massive anxiety attack I was having wasn't resulting in a bright red face, profuse sweating, and unconscious obscenities spewing from my mouth in an uncontrolled manner.

From my unique and possibly colorful insight, they moved the strapping to the opposite side of the tub's feet brackets. These bracket holds worked perfectly to keep the ratchet straps in place and secured the strapping attached to the carriers of the tub. The guys picked up the tub in preparation for climbing the all important 125 year old stairs with the possibility of putting their foot right through one of the treads.

As the four movers oriented the tub and positioned themselves for the climb, they definitely seemed like they had a much better grip on the tub with the new straps. This time the two tub carriers, Sean and Ara lead this way, while Leon stuck tight to the guy on the back of the tub and followed them up the stairs.

Now, I have some experience moving some very large stuff in my life, including a massive piece of tempered glass that ended in a massive disaster. I was carrying it along with two other people and everything was going smoothly as we walked the glass through several doorways.

Everything was great and we were humming along then the lead person took an awkward step. This awkward step caused a ripple along with the other two of us, and caused the guy in the middle (I was on the end) to slightly raise the large glass panel allowing the edge of the middle to strike the door frame. There was an instantaneous sound of an explosion and the large piece of glass suddenly became hundreds of thousands of pieces of glass. It was shocking, but exactly how tempered glass is supposed to break. In short, this has given me an absolute understanding of just how wrong something can go when it all seems to be going great.

Anyhow, back to our story.

As the team moved slowly up the stairs they reminded each other to keep their feet on the front of the stair tread, not the back. My heart beat quickly as they ascended, but I could tell how careful and deliberate they were being, which made me feel great.

Then it happened. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The lead carrier slightly lost his footing. Nothing terrible, but enough to stop their fluid momentum. I instantly remembered the massive explosion of glass in my hands and watched as everything seemed to move in slow motion. Their momentum was interrupted and all bets were off.

The tub began to shift backwards, down toward the first floor. All of the weight of the tub then shifted onto the rear carrier who attempted to accommodate the shift, but it only stood him up straight, rocking him backwards. I could see a potential disaster unfolding before my eyes, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

At this point their experience and professionalism kicked in. The large guy tailing the two carriers spring into action. He quickly climbed the two stairs he was down, planted his feet behind him (on the front of the stair treads), and put his shoulder against the rear tub carrier and his arms around him, once again shifting his momentum forward on the stairs. By this time the guy in front had regained his footing and was ready to move forward. The little boost steadied the rear of the tub and it was once again moving up the stairs and onto the second floor landing.

The whole tense event probably took only about two seconds, but it felt like it lasted about two seconds shy of two hours. I had vividly realistic scenarios of the tub crashing down on the movers, through the floor, and right back into the basement, but all of that was put to rest through the true professionalism of the lifters. And this, folks, is exactly why Wendy didn't want me doing this job with a friend. What a brilliant woman she is, I fear I've definitely married well out of my league.

Once they reached the second floor the final tricky portion of the move came when they had to get the tub through the narrow opening between the newel post and the wall. I was worried they'd need to lift the tub up and over the railing, but we lucked out. The tub fit through the opening on its side with just about one inch to spare.

They moved the tub along the hall, upside down into our bathroom, and onto some waiting towels we'd placed in front of the toilet.

After unstrapping themselves, they gathered up their blankets and supplies, asked me if it looked good, shook my hand, and headed out. We settled up on the bill, I gave them a parting gift and thanked them for their efforts, and shook their hands again as they went on their way. I don't think they can really understand what they had just done for us. I also don't think I can properly express to you what they had just done for us.

I had them place the tub in the bathroom upside down as I anticipated the move had likely scratched up the new paint job a little or a lot. Upon closer inspection, there were a few minor scratches from the straps, but they were primarily on the area that will be hidden by the wall. A little more sanding and a few more coats of paint and those scrapes will be no more.

In case you're curious as to the cost and if we think it was worth it, this was easily the best $195 we've ever spent while working on our house.

And just like that, the tub had made it's roughly 85 foot journey (20 vertical feet) from it's dungeon resting place of over 10 years, to the location where I hope it will live for the next 50 or so.

After all was said and done Lulu and I were exhausted and Lulu could only collapse in a heap on the cool tile to gather her breath. I sent Wendy a photo of the bathtub in its final room and I can only imagine she breathed a sign of relief equivalent to the massive weight of our tub. 

In case you noticed in a photo above, we also have the new curtains hung in the space. After obsessing over and subsequently purchasing the fabric nearly a year ago, Wendy contacted our trusted seamstress to have the panels made...finally. It feels like we're making real progress in the space on items both big and small, and it's only a matter of time before we can finally start using a room that we've worked on for the last five years!

Comments 9


11/24/2014 at 11:07 AM

I recently had work done my staircase and found out that my closed/house stringer staircase was wholly unsupported in the middle also, no center stringer what so ever.

The carpenter ended up cutting the bullnose off each tread to install new, slightly longer treads on top. My stringer is now open. There are studs on each side at every other step, because the staircase runs directly down the center of my house (not against any sidewall).

Here's to hoping old stringers hold up for at least another 100 years...

Mike Howard
11/24/2014 at 1:10 PM
Good job done. Lucky it didn't end like this sofa move last week: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-30148003
Franki Parde
11/24/2014 at 1:59 PM

I need a nap. franki

11/24/2014 at 2:11 PM

Wow, we just installed a new cast iron sink and I thought I would never be the same after lifting it! I couldn't imagine moving that bad boy around! Great job movers!

Jean-Christian Pitre
11/25/2014 at 9:15 AM
I spot new curtains! :D
11/25/2014 at 10:06 AM

WHOOOT! Looking very good - bubbles really soon, Wendy!

11/25/2014 at 6:27 PM

"Wow, you mean, this is all solid metal?" - Now that's classic!

Congratulations on getting it up to its new home. I bet those guys felt that the next day!

11/26/2014 at 10:38 AM

My palms got all sweaty reading this. Glad it's in position!!

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