Monday, April 6, 2015

Demolition: Bathrooms

With the kitchen as demolished as I can get it without power tools I decided to move on to the bathrooms. Because the master bathroom is so much smaller and also not in the public area of the house I decided that starting there would be best although one frustrating 45 minute phone call with  our health insurance company did yield this result:

Yes, even when enraged I carefully pried each tile off the wall and then stacked them. This is not an efficient use of time or energy.

Demo digression here- I removed those tiles before the salvage company came because they wanted the faucet from that bathroom. This became lesson #1 for anyone considering doing their own demo or renovations: if you think it is easy and "not a problem" you're in for big trouble. When the very experienced salvage guy removed this faucet and unhooked the hoses, the water was dripping a bit. When he tried to shut off the cold water completely, the valve handle broke off. At which point we needed a bucket- not because water was gushing but it was steadily dripping. Then he said I would need to keep checking it every couple of hours because the bucket would fill up. Uhhhmmmm...we don't live in the house so what am I going to do? He said something about capping the end with a plug I could get at Home Depot and all I'm hearing is, "Blah, blah, J is out of the country and I've really messed up now, what am I going to do?"

Thankfully, salvage dude managed to twist the hose into the drain pipe so while the water is still dripping (and we're paying for it unless we want to shut off the main) it is going down the drain. Problem solved! But I'll leave faucet removal in the rest of the house to the professionals.

Onto the master bathroom. First to go were the doors. Normally, professionals use a handsaw to cut into wood and break frames and jambs apart but I'm not up to the 'power' stage of things so, basically I have three best friends: screwdriver, hammer, and crowbar. They're slow but they get the job done.

This is the tiny closet on it's way out.  

Next I removed the mirrors (no smashing- bad luck and dangerous), and then I did start in on the tiles, only this time I did not delicately pry and stack them. 

The original wall color- from behind the mirror. It's an almost flesh-colored peach/pink. Not my favorite color.

Now for another lesson in the 1950s construction- one you'll get tired of hearing from me. They built the hell out of things! The thinset mortar tiles are now set in? Not what they used back then. Instead, as you can see below, they set counter tiles in solid CONCRETE. Yes. 

Thankfully, I did not swing a sledge hammer at this counter because I probably would have dislocated my shoulder or worse. I did this tiny bit of damage with the hammer and won't be attempting anything more.

Because counters, faucets, and vanity are beyond my abilities (for now) I moved onto taking apart the tiny closet. I don't want to impugn women's construction knowledge here  so I am only speaking for myself: WHY do you need so much wood and drywall for a closet smaller than a phone booth?! Once again, my love of home renovation television did me no favors. Everyone can punch a hole in drywall, right? Wrong. Very wrong. I made one tiny attempt, realized it was going nowhere and then, even using a hammer, could only manage this:
My first go-round of drywall removal. This was an hour of work and it's gross and dusty and bits fly everywhere. If you think it pulls off in big pieces, the answer is no. Not unless you are a burly guy named Rocco.

Here is what is left of the bathroom for now. J thinks at least one of the closet posts may be supporting something so he said I cannot remove anymore. I won't. For now.

The fun part about making all this mess? I don't have to clean up!

The results of my labor. It doesn't look like much but every bit helps.

Have you ever inadvertently cause a problem when you were trying to remove or fix something in your house?

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