The Cool House: demolition
Showing posts with label demolition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label demolition. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The leaky sink and faucet, huge range hood, beat-up cabinets... all gone. But what about the elephant in the room, I hear you shout? Don't worry, we didn't discard the refrigerator just because it had tested our patience on several occasions. We simply moved* it to a temporary locale...

*four strong guys and a dolly

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Great snakes alive!

Well maybe not snakes per se, just cables that used to service the island. Actually, it reminds me of Medusa's curls* but I digress. Five electric cables plus that huge black insulated one for the halogen cooktop. If you're counting that represents one for the built-in toaster, one for the electric can opener, one for the outlet and one for the range hood... and a spare.

With the island out of the way you can really appreciate the size of the kitchen - we've lived in apartments with less square footage.

*Medusa may be female but I got a preview of the stony glance that The Guy will be using on the carpenter next time he sees him. It's also the face of a man who gets back from a business trip with a case of Montezuma's revenge and finds he has to rip out a kitchen in 24 hours because said carpenter phoned in sick. If looks could kill...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Drastic but effective*





The Guy is in Mexico, the carpenter let me down three straight days in a row, the floor guy starts Monday and the kitchen needed to be out before he can rip up the carpet/vinyl/plywood. Someone had to do it and it might as well be the woman with the sledgehammer and a raging temper.
*For full-on rage I recommend cranking the volume to 50 and playing Eamon, Green Day, The Fratellis and Macy Grey until the windows shake. And no, I'm not quite over it yet!

Monday, January 04, 2010

We call it progress!

We have temporarily lost a bathroom (although that tub still has to be hauled out)

Gained a "media room"

Refurnished the spare bedroom.
(Thank you to the house elves for dismantling/moving/reassembling the bed)!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Demo: The dressing room

The thing about doing the demo yourself is you get to marvel over the little renovation discoveries; insights into other peoples' lives. For instance, had we engaged a crew to knock out the master suite I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have yelled "Come see what was behind the mirrors!"

And we would have missed the saffron flock wallpaper that had once complimented the yellow shag carpet and gold cultured marble bathtub and sinks.

The splendour of the '70s replaced by sterile '90s white on white fixtures and floor to ceiling mirrors, soon to be finished in uniquely modern style circa 2010.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Demo: Day 5

Collapse: The Guy put in a full 7 AM - 4 PM day in a last desperate push to get the bathroom clear. This was taken after carrying the last cement backerboard to the dumpster. Exhaustion! He did spring up once more to remove the 42" x 48" mirror that used to sit over the vanity before heading off to shower, followed by a stiff G&T and two Alleve.

Down to the studs - cement board in the wet areas removed at last! That stuff is nasty, dusty and wicks water on to the wood - especially if you didn't use a liner between it and the joists. Instead of leaving a 1/4" gap between the shower base and the board so the board doesn't sit in water the last contractor had gone for a generous 3/4", which meant water had poured through the space - and down the stairs! See that gloopy grey stuff on the floor? That's where the tiles were mortared directly onto the plywood subfloor. This will be smoothed down when I get new pads for my trusty hand sander - and a few more dust masks!

Surprise! The Guy uncovered an electrical outlet behind the sheetrock in the shower. This is what I have been wanting for five whole years - a light in the shower. Can someone please explain why this was covered by board and tiles? Here's hoping the electricians can transform it into a wet location approved light without too much drama.

Demo: Day 4

The Guy is racing to get the cement board off the shower walls and the 70s mirrors out of the dressing room before he goes back to his paying job on Monday morning. The haste led to a little whoops moment: he chipped the last floor tile off and the screwdriver he was using as a lever shot out of his hand and down the void under the shower. The only way we'll see that again is if we take off the wallboard in the kitchen that hides the front stairs. Not Going To Happen. We'll leave it there for a future renovator to puzzle over.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ye Gods of Snow!

I was JOKING about the snow, Gods of Irony! At least it's 2" not 2', but as Laura points out even a little snow around the dumpster makes hauling out the debris more treacherous - and increases the clean-up 100-fold.

Still, the tile is off, the wallboard too, in many places. Considering the leaks we had from the shower and the tub, it's amazing there is no visible damage to the cement backerboard, the floor or the walls behind. No mold, either.
This bathroom should be stripped down to the studs be Saturday, then the plumber and electricians can get in. Tiles arrive Jan 8th, vanities Jan 25th; all other fixtures except the Toto Nexus toilet (delivery scheduled for the second week in January) are here and waiting. After everything has been installed I can get the Caesarstone fabricators to measure for the countertops and the shower door people to fit the glass door. I'm hoping to take my first shower in this bathroom Valentine's Day 2010. That doesn't sound too optomistic does it?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It was twenty years ago...

I guess we now know the last time the primary bathroom was remodeled (I'd always guessed late eighties, early nineties, nice to have a more exact date, though). A piece of house history brought to you courtesy of the back of the medicine cabinet... That, by the way, is the best preserved material in the room, so maybe we should keep it?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's Missing?

I waited in all day but the dumpster I ordered before Xmas (to be sure of getting one delivered on the right day) didn't arrive until 3:30 this afternoon - but better late than never, no? Well, no, actually, because they had put the 10 yard dumpster on the largest truck on Long Island, which meant it couldn't get onto our drive. The dumpster would fit, the truck wouldn't, or not without driving right across my neighbor's lawn! The driver assured me he will ask for an early delivery tomorrow and that it will arrive on one of the medium-sized or teeny-tiny trucks specially designed for the narrow roads in the Incorporated Village. Until then, The Guy is piling up debris in front of the den window. Hope we don't get 2' snow tonight...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Deja Vu

Hmm, where have I seen this before?

and what is The Guy going to do with all that packaging material?
Winter holidays - the best time for relieving stress by tearing down tiles and hitting terrazzo with a sledgehammer.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Taking Out the Trash: Finally

The last brick from the old barbecue we dismantled back in the summer. We saved the good ones in case we need another patio or path somewhere on the property. But we still had three large trash bags full of bits of bricks to get rid of. We reckoned if we put three half bricks into every sack of garbage we should have them gone by Labor Day. Hmm, that would require us to actually remember the plan, and act upon it.
Today, only five months behind schedule, Steven ceremoniously put out the last piece of brick and I recorded the moment for posterity.

Friday, June 22, 2007

More demo

This time in the yard. The old built-in barbecue finally expired when Steven was slow grilling a pork butt just before we went to Tennessee (we were craving bbq and couldn't wait).
We could have re-pointed the bricks, got new stainless steel doors made and installed a new barbecue unit, but it would have cost $$$$ more than buying a new gas grill so we went the demolition route.
As we believe in making our kids work for their supper, Verity gave a few whacks of the trusty sledgehammer and this is all that was left.
old bbq
Now all we have to do is choose a new grill.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Where were we?

downstarirs bath plumbing
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
This has been a really busy weekend house-wise. We got back lunchtime Friday and spent the afternoon cleaning up cat poop, I have never seen so much shit in my life - and it was all confined to the master bathroom. Poop in the bath, in the shower, all around the loo. Horrible. There was also sick in the living room but that was minor. And evidence that the cat sitter had cleaned up in the kitchen. I don't know what went on while we were away, they were fine before we left and have been fine since we got back. I can only think they were locked in and got scared. They are used to running in and out of the house all day. I won't leave them again, they can suck it up and join the dogs in kennels.
Steven got rid of his frustration on the remains of the old vanity unit, it's amazing that what is essentially sawdust can stand up to nearly forty years of wear and tear and still put up a good fight but the sledgehammer won in the end.
After that, and a trip to t-mobile to get the replacement phone, we pretty much succumbed to jet-lag.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A little more demo

Although we'd agreed we wouldn't tackle the master bath until the boys' bath is finished I got a little bored today and took off the shower doors and hauled them out to the dumpster. Then I took off the door to the medicine cabinet. The one Steven cracked with his elbow oh, nearly twelve months ago. That baby had twelve screws and took me an hour to get off. It also weighed more than the shower doors combined. Still it has now joined them in the dumpster. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the medicine cabinet out as the screws are bent and somebody nailed it in for added strength, so I'm leaving that job for Steven.

I even tried once again to clean the tiles in the shower, now the doors are off it's much lighter in there but, nope, that dirty grout is not getting any cleaner.

My prediction is that by Sunday evening there won't be any tiles, grubby or otherwise in the shower. Now, if I could only find a tiler who is happy to install rectified tiles with 1/16th grout lines...

Friday, December 29, 2006

More demo

original 1968 formica
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
When you've hired a dumpster and learnt how to swing a sledgehammer to great effect you might as well use it.
We couldn't do anything else to the boys' bathroom in the way of demolition so we moved on to the laundry room. Actually I take no credit for this, the "we" was all "he". He cleared the room, unsrcrewed the upper cabinets and resorted to the sledgehammer when the were unresponsive. Then he carted it all out to the dumpster, which is now full.
I'd like to clean up the walls and hang new cabinets but he thinks it will be better to wait until the kitchen gets replaced in 2008. My original thought was to do this room and use that s a makeshift kitchen while the big room is being done. But I can see the benefit of waiting - that way we can go throughout the kitchen, mud room and laundry with 18x18" tiles, and get a clean, continuous look.
The only question is whether I can live with a half-demolised laundry room for 20 months.

Santa? No, the demo man

Santa? No, the demo man
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
He's looking surprisingly chipper for a man who just rearranged the back of his new car on a dumpster. If you add the cost of the bodywork to the renovation we are now seriously over budget. Grr. His only excuse? "I forgot it was there". Huh.
I knew it was only a matter of time before he "personalised" the car but on our own driveway? The morning after he filled the dumpster? How is that possible?
Anyway, the ceiling is now down, we can see where the hole in the flashing round the vent pipe caused the water damage, and the assessment is that it's not too bad. The biggest relief is that there is no longer any smell of mold or rot in the room so I think we can change the cruddier insulation and start putting things back together again.
Next on the list: change the wastepipes to PVC, upgrade the fan to a quieter model, install a light over the shower and a GFCI circuit.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The shower pan nightmare

Floor under shower pan
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
The terrazzo shower pan is no more. Steven drilled a couple of holes, hit a chisel with a hammer and used a sledgehammer vigorously for an hour or so and that base stood no chance. I'd been dreading tackling this beacause I'd heard horror stories about how difficult they were to remove. It turned out to be fairly easy. That was the best part of the day.
The second good thing was that forty minutes after ringing to enquire about dumpsters (skips) we had one sitting on our drive. And two hours later we had just about filled it.
It was far harder carrying the lumps of broken terrazzo out to the dumpster than it was breaking the shower pan up. That stuff is heavy. But here's the scary bit: the pan was just resting on the floorboards. No plywood reinforcement, no tar-paper or liner. So when you break up the shower base tiny pieces of terrazzo rain down through the cracks in the floorboards onto the bathroom ceiling below. And when you switch on the light in that bathroom you realise that not only does that no longer work, but the fan has stopped also.
Now my problem is that we still have to take up the cement floor tile bed. I imagine that this has a liner because otherwise what stops the mud falling down the spaces between the floorboards? But what if it doesn't? How much debris can I afford to let fall onto the ground floor bathroom before the ceiling collapses? The nightmare continues.....

Monday, December 25, 2006

Xmas Day 2006

demo left wall
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
Some people eat turkey, some open presents and some spend the day with relatives. We do demolition.
Steven stepped up and removed the partition that was preventing us from taking off the last of the wallboard. There's a little mould on the ceiling that was under a piece of framing, but nothing worse. We will experiment with diluted bleach to remove it, but unfortunately there's also a tiny hole in the ceiling where the wood slipped as it was coming out. Whoops.
He is finding that demo is rewarding and kind of fun too. The next job is to try and prise (hammer, drill, jackhammer) the terrazzo shower pan out. We'll see if he's still having fun after struggling with that for a couple of hours.
Wish us luck.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A lot of old drywall

or a valance of tiles

This is where I finished today. There is a 2" (60cm) border left around the room plus this tiny bit behind the door

almost done

I just ran out of boxes to put the debris in, otherwise I might have pressed on to the bitter end. I can't do anything about the "valance" as I'm not supposed to jump on and off ladders at the moment and my arms won't reach up there without a lift.

I had hoped someone would volunteer to help me but so far that hasn't happened, although last Saturday he did carry to the garage one (1) box of old tiles. This morning I suggested that getting a plumber to take out the old toilet would make us look like pussies, we can easily do it. The look I got back means I'll be finding out on my own.