Looking at the Demolition

I started talking about redoing the bathroom close to 4 years ago. Last year we got quotes from several places. The lowest price was just shy of $10,000! It is a tiny bathroom by most standards. It is small and utilitarian – not a space for entertaining. At Christmas Sparky’s parents had their bathroom remodeled by “Derrick” and it only cost them $1,800.00! What a bargain! So we called Derrick for an estimate. He obliged. It would cost ~$3000.00 and we said yes. The catch was that we needed to purchase the supplies. So we set to buying all the items we figured we would need. We contacted Derrick to let him know we were ready. That was late January. Sparky called every week through February and left phone messages. He never returned the calls. We persisted and after May came and went we finally threw in the towel. I had a bunch of stuff in the guest room gathering dust with no hope of moving it into the bathroom. At the end of July Sparky and I went to a garage sale in the little neighborhood adjacent to ours. The home owner was selling lots of tools and we chatted. She explained that her father did remodeling work with her brother but they had too many tools and were getting rid of a lot of the older ones. Within minutes Sparky was examining the remodel of her bathroom and then got to see the bathroom he did in the house across the street. We left with a business card and phone number. We got the quote of $2800. We sealed the deal and within a week we had a start date. The demolition was on Saturday Aug. 25th. It was loud and messy and glorious! At long last the main bathroom is being remodeled.
They ripped out the bulkhead and ceiling over the tub then decided to remove all the ceiling drywall because it would be easier than trying to seam and match the texture.  The tub and shower were on giant piece that had been installed during the original construction. The only way to get it out was to saw it into 6 pieces. This picture shows the partial tub remaining and a chunk of the tub being dragged out the door.
The medicine cabinet was not over the sink but to the side making it difficult to open. We opted to remove it completely. This shows the wall paper that was up when we moved in. The bathroom was originally light blue but the previous owners had a thing for wallpaper and nearly every room was wallpapered. The only exception was the garage!
This was the tub drain. Note that the pipe has threads on the end. It is supposed to be screwed into the tub drain. It wasn’t. The mystery of the leak in the kitchen ceiling has now been solved and most importantly corrected!
This last photo is the old toilet. It was still in great condition so we are keeping it. It is sitting in the garage awaiting a re-homing to Son#1 and #2’s house to replace their ancient and rather grody toilet.

First they took out the vanity, then the toilet. Next they had to saw the bathtub into 6 sections to get it out. I had to remove all my clothes from the closet so they could access the attic (to move insulation). Then they pulled the ceiling down and ripped the dry wall off the studs in the shower area. The medicine cabinet was ripped out of the wall. They inspected for insects, mold, water damage, leaks, etc. They made a giant opening from the attic to the rest of the house. They took the door off the bathroom leaving the house exposed to the attic. Fortunately there weren’t any bats that decided to come visit and explore!
These are the photos of the destruction/demolition of the bathroom. I wanted to get a before photo but these guys (Nolan, his dad Nate, and nephew Nick) were fast! They didn’t use a sledge hammer but instead did make use of a regular claw hammer (see the holes in the ceiling in the 2nd photo).

I will update as progress is made. So far I still have all my clothes in a giant pile in the computer room and hope I can move them back very soon… It is making my OCD act up a tad.

29 thoughts on “Looking at the Demolition

  1. This post brings back not so fond memory of the remodel of our bathroom, which eventually had a slight second remodel to re-do the walls and ceiling. I’m not planning any more remodeling.

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  2. Funny, Muri. Our bathroom remodel was the result of a tiny repair that mushroomed into a full-blown emergency. There was a crack in the tile around the faucets and my husband was worried that water would sneak through it and damage the underlying drywall. I said to put white duct tape over the crack. I’m kind of a jury-rigger that way. Instead, he removed the broken tile (intending to replace it with a new one) and found that there was nothing underneath to affix it to… the drywall was already eroded. By the time I got home from work, half of the tile surround had been hacked away and a leak had been discovered in the plumbing under the tub. The area around the tub’s drain was too rusted and fragile to attach the new pipe sowe needed to replace the tub. It quickly became clear that this project was beyond our capabilities, so we hired a remodeling guy. To get the tub out of the tiny bathroom, he said, we would have to remove both the toilet and sink. Since we’d be paying for labor to remove and reinstall them both, it would be a great time to get that low-flow toilet we wanted and buy a cute matching sink/vanity. We did, and then everything else looked old and dingy. Why not put in a new medicine cabinet, Hollywood lights around the mirror, new exhaust fan, overhead heater, a fancy tile border? Lavender paint, matching shower curtain and bath towels, etc, etc. It’s nice and everything, but I could have saved $5998 (or put off the repairs for another decade) if I’d just bought that damn roll of white duct tape. 🙂

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    1. Ha! That’s exactly how most of the remodels get started… We had a leak that was literally raining in the kitchen. We had the ceiling repaired twice (and the leak supposedly repaired twice as well). Now with the new tub and all the new plumbing I hope the ceiling leak is a thing of the past!!

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      1. I hope it fixes your problems. I forgot to mention that we have only ONE bathroom in our house, so during the remodel, the shower was out of commission for 3 weeks (hooray for gym membership), and the toilet and sink, for a long weekend (hooray for owning an RV). Also hubby learned a valuable lesson: just because you saw it on This Old House doesn’t mean you have the knowledge or skill to attempt it. Looking forward to your next post. 🙂

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  3. That’s a great price! I recently redid all 3 bathrooms in my 2-story home at a cost of just under $5,000, but all I did was replace the flooring and the shower door, and add a coat of paint! The original bid included removing soffirs,and mirrors, and adding lighting — it would have been $22,000. The next step will be carpeting in the dining and living rooms and bedrooms, and paint in the rest of the house (kitchen and baths excepted). I expect that will happen as I move out and sell, although it may happen sooner. I hope the bathroom remodel will be a quick one for you!

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    1. I was very happy with the price since the previous quotes were so high. So far all is going as planned and on schedule. They come back tomorrow to start on the tile. I often wonder if remodeling to sell is worth it. I mean I think I’d rather remodel because that is how I’d like it to be and then enjoy the upgrade instead of trying to maintain a pristine look so that someone else can enjoy it!

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      1. Yes — I’m not moving at least until March or April, so I’ll have some time to enjoy the ‘new’ bathrooms! I chose the wall color because it’s the color of all the walls at the new place, and I wanted to see how I like it — I love it! And the bathrooms really look much fresher and newer! I should get back the $5K I spent on them!

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  4. Back in the Phoenix days, a joist broke in the wall behind the master bathroom sink. Thankfully, insurance covered 70 % of the $9,000 it took to fix everything. Your situation actually sounds much worse, as it involved your kitchen and the whole attic.

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  5. I recently paid almost $10.000. for a bathroom remodel in a rental house I own that my oldest daughter and her husband rent from me. It involved a tub removal, newhandicap shower, new toilet, flooring and paint and removing a window and replacing siding. She’s very happy with it. I told her she should be. It needed to be done, and will make the house easier to sell when the time comes.

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    1. Yikes! Our remodel is all that minus the window/siding issue, but at a fraction of that cost! Sometimes when it must be done you don’t have the luxury of waiting 4 years until the perfect price shows up..

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  6. How awesome. One day (hopefully) we will start slowly redoing our house (use to be my mother in law’s). She loved wall paper as well and pretty much every room has it…or a border. Sigh. One day.
    Can’t wait to see the end result of your bathroom. I hate that it was so difficult and took so long.

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    1. Wallpaper was “in” at one time in the late 70s. We have purged most of the wallpaper. Currently we only have it on the top half of the dining room, the downstairs half bath, and the family room (which almost doesn’t count since we painted over it). I hope you can eventually remove some of the wallpaper in your house!

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  7. I’m so glad you found someone reliable and not so expensive to do your bathroom! (What is it with contractors who don’t return phone calls? I’ve encountered more than my share of those too, and they are beyond annoying.) We redid our master bath a few years ago, and were lucky enough to find a great contractor who did the job quickly and efficiently. I would use him again in a heart beat.

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    1. A good contractor is almost as valuable as a good mechanic! Once this bathroom is done, we will need to redo the master bath and eventually the half bath… But one thing at a time! I’m thinking the driveway will be the next big project.

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  8. So glad that you’ve found a solution & that they are making lots of progress. What a cool idea to photograph it as the work is done. Really enjoyed following this & looking forward to updates.
    (P.S. I’m the one who does “Forest of Thoughts” on xanga)

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  9. Yay! I hope you LOVE it when it’s done. Don’t be surprised if the price ends up being significantly more than anticipated. You always run into glitches that makes the project cost more.

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