Karin & Jeff's Bathroom Renovation: Eve of Destruction

Karin & Jeff's Bathroom Renovation: Eve of Destruction

Tess Wilson
Jul 21, 2015

Name: Karin and Jeff
Type of Project: Main Bathroom Remodel
Type of Home: Single-family home built in 1967
Square Footage: 1,800
Years Lived In: 2.5

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In today's installment of Karin and Jeff's bathroom renovation, you'll find New Year's Eve demolition, surprise water damage, tub wrestling, and most importantly of all, the world's cutest foster puppy...

Labor-intensive floor removal.

From Karin and Jeff:

New Year's Eve was celebrated this year with hammers and crowbars - Jeff and I began demolition that night and were able to finish clearing out the room the next. The process went fairly quickly, despite the fact we had to be careful removing all the wall tile since there were adjacent walls with tile work we didn't want to disturb. Demolition was fairly satisfying - having been through several renovations already, it was so nice to already have tools on hand and not have to run to the store for 'just the thing' needed to finish the job. We decided to try a Bagster for disposal and it is about the perfect size - hopefully it isn't too heavy with all the chunks of mortar base and tile filling it to the brim. Probably the biggest challenge was inhaling all the dust and insulation (even with masks on, our lungs weren't happy) and working with multiple people in such a small room.
Some of the water-damaged subfloor.
Standing water under the toilet... not great.
The sink drain crumbled under slight pressure.
Once the tile and mortar bed were up, it became apparent how rough of shape the subfloor was in - it was lucky the toilet didn't end up in the basement! It appeared the wax ring had been leaking for a long time, as there was standing water under the stool and extensive damage to the subfloor. Yuck. Unfortunately, additional time and money was needed to remove and replace the subfloor, but luckily there wasn't damage to the floor joists at all.
Water had been running down the side of the tub for decades - the mortar was moldy underneath.
One other surprise we came across during demo was the shower tile backing - only the bottom 18 inches was set in mortar and the rest was regular drywall behind the tile with no waterproofing! I cannot believe there wasn't more signs of water damage behind the walls.
Jeff and my brother wrestling the tub down the stairs.
We very careful in removing the vanity in hopes of somebody being able to reuse it - we were able to re-home the vanity and cupboard doors through Craigslist to a couple who had one of their rental bathrooms trashed. We are always pleased to keep useful materials from going to waste and help others out in the process. Wrestling the cast iron tub out of the room and down the stairs was another challenge that was fortunately accomplished with little damage to the house or the people involved.
Dali the foster puppy.
After the first few days, progress slowed considerably when we brought home a sweet little foster dog to supplement our pack of three scruffy dogs. While absolutely adorable and affectionate, she does require a lot of supervision to work on her house training skills. Even with the darling distraction, we were able to continue forward progress with the help of my parents. My dad and I (and his pickup truck!) made a couple huge supply runs to pick up all the big pieces and sheet goods and my mom watched the puppy. We also made a trip to Ikea with my brother to pick up the sink cabinet and counter. Since the floor was up, we decided to add a heat run to the room, since there wasn't an air supply at all.
Beautiful new blocking to add support to the edge of the subfloor.
Over the next few days, we added blocking between the joists to minimize deflection for the large floor tile we selected and cut and fastened two layers of plywood down for the subfloor. In addition to the demo and subfloor work, we also got a small jump on the minor plumbing and electrical work.

Things are moving along and we're ready to set the new tub and work on the walls and floor. Although, the biggest accomplishment of the week might be that the foster puppy is almost entirely house trained - another big step in the right direction!

Estimated time for project: 7 weeks
Time remaining: 6 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us tomorrow for installment #5 of Karin & Jeff's bathroom renovation.

(Images and diary text: Karin & Jeff)

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