The Gut Job

Brooke here.  This is the second bathroom remodeling post.

Did you know that one of the recommended ways to remove a cast iron bathtub is with a sledgehammer?

Obsessive... compulsive... disorder... rising....
Obsessive… compulsive… disorder… rising….

This is mainly a Hired Dudes post, as we did none of the demolition ourselves.  We could have easily done all of this over a messy, angry Saturday, but the contractor we hired to do the stuff we couldn’t do ourselves (electric, etc…) gave us a great package deal.  It was mainly to keep us out of his way, though, because when he and his crew got rolling, they had the bathroom stripped to the studs in mere hours.

Goodbye room.  Goodbye mold bloom.  Goodbye tiles scattered in little piles.  Goodbye sink, goodbye pink. Goodbye scary frightening stink.
Goodbye room. Goodbye mold bloom. Goodbye tiles scattered in piles. Goodbye sink, goodbye pink. Goodbye scary frightening stink.

The green thing the garbage is sitting in is a Bagster, which is basically like renting a small dumpster.  I’ll be damned if that service doesn’t work exactly as promised.  I bought the bag, scheduled pickup over the Internet, and they collected it.  If I had used the self checkout at Home Depot, I wouldn’t have had to interact with a single human being during the entire process.  This beat the snot out of the hoops you have to jump through to rent a full-sized dumpster, and was a fifth of the cost.

The gray stuff is the mouse nest.  The black sections are the interior side of our exterior wall.  Whole-house insulation has been added to the Neverending List of Things to Do.
The gray stuff is the mouse nest. The black sections are the interior side of our exterior wall. Whole-house insulation has been added to the Neverending List of Things to Do.

One of my criteria for finding a contractor was that he would teach Brown and me as he went along.  We couldn’t help without messing up his insurance coverage, but each time he started a new phase of the process, he would bring us in and explain the materials and techniques.  I was the one at home during the demolition and he’d call me in every so often, usually to note some wacky Do-It-Yourself shenanigans he had found (“Lady, we don’t rightfully know why your sink hasn’t fallen through the floor.  Are you religious, maybe?  Because God had a hand in this.”).  Although once and a while he wanted to point out interesting or potentially dangerous weirdness.  So when he called me in to show how the exterior wall had never been insulated, I was not surprised.  He was.  I was not.  Anyhow, I recognized the mouse nest on sight.

HIM: “You have a mouse problem.”

ME: “That’s impossible.”

HIM (doing the oh-the-female’s-about-to-freak-out side glance with his men): “Well, it’s nothing to worry about!  Almost every house has some type of…”

ME: “Yeah yeah.  No, I mean it’s impossible because we have a six-foot rat snake living in the attic.”

HIM (quietly): “I was just up there.”

I was right: it was an old abandoned nest.  I cleaned and bleached the area after the contractor left for the night, so it’s not a Thing.

And after that, except for the drywall around the stained glass window, we had a completely empty room.

No, not mauve.
No, not mauve.

More images of the demolition will be added to the appropriate posts, various progress shots of the tub, floor, vanity, and so on.   I think I’ll write up the plumbing post next.  That was drama-tastic.

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One thought on “The Gut Job

  1. G

    My darlin’ mom-in-law renovated a wooooonderful 1910 house (well, it wasn’t wonderful when she started, but it was by the time she was done). Between its date of build at the time of her purchase, it had been owned by a lot of people, including a hospital (a SMALL hospital) and a few different slumlords. Each of these had cut up the house and redone it in wacky DIY ways… like the one who cut through a second story support beam to install an AC duct.

    My favorite, though, was the leak in the second story bathroom, which still had the original cast-iron tub. And was directly above the entrance from the back porch, the one EVERYONE was using to get in and out, and they started working on the first floor… so it was pretty far into the remodel by the time they discovered this. That bathroom floor had been leaked on and dried out so many times that there was no structural integrity left.

    That cast-iron tub, above the entrance to the house that they were using most and the area they’d already done a lot of work, was pretty much only supported by its plumbing.

    Which was, thankfully, also cast iron (apparently) and had done an *admirable* job of preventing that tub from killing anyone.

    Oh, the DIY I’ve seen… and now, so have you. Hey, it’s done? Whooooo!

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