Let the Demolition Begin! One Room Challenge Week 2!

Demolition can sometimes be a very satisfying part of the renovation. You are getting rid of that Old, Ugly and maybe even problem causing room to make room for the new and improved. Some people even find demo to be a great stress reliever. Sadly, sometimes it can also be a very tedious part, especially when the person who had constructed the room did a lot of shall we say, “Make Shifting”. 

My bathroom happened to be the later and exposed many more problems that have been added to the ever-growing to-do list for my home. The demo also took far longer then I planned for it to take. Some of it even being so frustrating that I just had to walk away for a bit. We will look at some of the things I encountered which can help you prepare yourself for some of the things you may find yourself but First, let’s look at what we need and things to do in preparation for doing any demolition.  


Tools & Safety Gear Needed 

If you are going to do any demolition, you need to make sure you always have the right tools and safety gear and that you take the proper steps to ensure your Health & Safety. You will be ripping down things like tile and drywall and will want to make sure you are safe while doing so. 

  • Safety Gear (minimal – Safety Glasses, Proper Mask and Gloves; additional – Safety boots, long sleeves & pants and hard hats are always a plus)   
  • Tools – Each project will require specific tools to complete the task, but here are some of the common ones:  
    • Hammer,
    • Nail Puller
    • Screwdrivers
    • Drill, Pliers
    • Wrench
    • Saws
  • Garbage Bags (Contractor type), plastic sheeting and drop sheets
  • Electricity Tester, marrettes, wire cutters, electrical tape 


Things to Ensure & To do 

  •  If working on a room with water, i.e. bathroom, kitchen and laundry room, make sure you shut off the water prior to starting. Make sure you are prepared with Shut off Valves or Caps as a temporary solution until your new fixtures are in place. Otherwise, you are going to be going without water until you can get them.  
  • Shut off the power to the room and double check that each outlet is shut off. Even if you think you will be able to work around the outlet or light, it’s always best to just take the added step while you work as anything can happen. Before you turn the power back on make sure you haven’t made a wire come loose or accidentally cut/damaged one.  
  • Ensure that you turn off your furnace and seal the doorways and vents while you work. Note that some dust will ALWAYS find a way out. However, this will help limiting the amount exiting the space.  
  • Determine where you are going to put all the scrap.
    • Are you loading it and taking it right to the dump?
    • Do you have a bin in your driveway?
    • Are putting it in a specific spot until you can dispose of it?
  • Make sure that you Pre-order any fixtures you need. Some items are Special order and can take weeks to get in. There is nothing is worse than putting a project on hold because you must wait for things to come in 


Why the Bathroom First? 

I chose my bathroom as one of the first projects to work on for a few reasons. 

  1. It looked horrible and the tub & Shower was leaking when it was used 
  2. It was a start to a chain of events – The gross carpet in the master bedroom is going to be ripped out and new vinyl planks installed, but we’re also planning on ripping out our other crazy tiny bathroom (EnSuite to the master) and turning it into a walk in closet where the flooring will continue to run through. So, the flooring is on hold until the other bathroom is demo’d, but that cannot get done until after this bathroom is complete since it’s the other bathroom in the house.  So, as you can see, one project can lead to many others having to get done first.  


Problem Solving & Delays 

Now let’s get to the fun, where you can see some of the problems I encountered while doing the demolition.  

I truly figured my bathroom would take me 2 weeks tops to do from my past experiences. I figured my two-week timeline knowing I was off for 2 weeks with Christmas and New Years and would be able to work on it during that time. Oh, how wrong I was! 

See, I ordered everything I needed weeks ahead of schedule. I used to work for a Kitchen, Bath and Flooring store, so I know how long things can take to get in sometimes. Even with ordering ahead, one main component didn’t arrive like it was supposed to. The manufacturers had back ordered for weeks! The quickest option, was to order a different model and wait for that one. Thankfully, which was only an additional week and a half.  

Now with needing to wait for my shower base (the first item you prep for and install with the plumbing) I knew I wasn’t going to start during my holiday. I was going to have to work in the evenings and weekends when I had the time. Instead i started a few smaller things and then I didn’t have time to start the demolition until February. This is where I encountered my next set back and the start of the additions to my to-do list. The things I found when I ripped the bathroom apart just BLEW MY MIND!!! 


Some of the things I found: 
  • There was an electrical outlet BEHIND the Jet Tub at ground level and the tub was what was leaking. One of the pipes had cracked (right by the outlet)
  • Being in a 4-level side-split, when I removed the tub walls, I can see the attic space – and the gross black insulation where it wasn’t protected from the bathroom’s moisture. Guess what’s now been added to the to-do list?! You got it, replace the moldy attic insulation.  
  • My bathroom walls… UGH!!! This is where I really lost it! I even walked away from the demo for a whole week here. Not only out of frustration, but the sheer energy/effort to take this wall down took way too much out of me. I needed a break. 
    • The walls were the vinyl/plastic panels you see in Trailer showers that were fully glued to a ¼” plywood wall substrate. What is so bad with that you’re asking? Well, The Plastic panels would only slowly chip away from the plywood. While doing so, causing debris from the glue and wood chips to fly at my face each time. 
    • I then tried to Pull the Plywood right from the studs to make it easier. Well, what I didn’t expect is the Nails every 4 to 5 inches along the studs holding it in place. That with the super thin plywood had it splintering away also in small sections (leaving the nails in the studs) So here I was after taking forever to take the walls down… there were now a few hundred nails left behind to pull.  


In the Door

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These were the non-typical and not as easy parts I encountered. Again, everyone will find different things when they work on their own space. If you have had something crazy you’ve had to work with or if you get to a point where you need a second opinion or a tip on how to do something comment below!  


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To see more designers in this challenge you can check out Better Home & Garden’s One Room Challenge


Up Next: Bathroom Prep Work & the Essentials including Product information & Tips 



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