The Beginning

The utility bath was the first project in the great remodel. I won’t lie, I was dying to tear this bathroom out because it was hideous, so when I found mold in the drywall around the base of the shower, I was pretty excited.  Helen, on the other hand – not so excited.

This was my first real “demo” job, so I started slow… but slow quickly escalated, and less than two days after finding those little black specks on the drywall, this was the result:

The goal of the demolition was to strip everything to the studs, assess and repair the damage, and then rebuild the bathroom. First step was to remove all of the fixtures.

While removing the vanity/mirror, I found a treasure map hidden in the wall by a previous homeowner– I’ll let you know if I find anything here when I re-landscape the yard someday.

I disconnected the toilet, and plugged the plumbing void to avoid any rats sneaking into the house.

Next step – drywall and walls. I started in the shower with a hammer and pry bar, smashing through the moldy tile and backer board.

After the tile and cement board was all down, I was able to see what was going on with the studs. Unfortunately, water had been seeping through the walls of the shower, so there was plenty of damage.

I knew the walls that were damaged weren’t load bearing (go here, if you need help identifying the load bearing walls in your house) so I tore out the studs that had signs of rot, and replaced them. When removing studs from an existing wall, I find it’s easier to use a reciprocating saw to cut the nails at the top, and then pull the stud off of the nailing plate at the bottom, rather than splitting the joist in the middle – you get less kick-back from the saw and have fewer pieces to discard.

For the floor, I first cut the old linoleum in to sections using a utility knife, and then pulled it up with a pry bar, followed by removing the sub flooring. I set my circular saw to just over 1/2” depth (the thickness of the sub floor), and cut the flooring into sections, and then removed the smaller pieces. I was down to the tongue-and-grove decking. I adjusted the depth to 1.75″, cut through the nails on the joists, and pulled up 4′ sections of the decking where it was rotten.

After tearing out the flooring, I discovered that one of the floor joists (the one directly below the shower) was partially rotten as well. Thankfully, it wasn’t rotten all the way through, so I cut out only the rotten portion, and then on each side of the beam added about 4 feet of pressure treated 2X8, connected to the joist with lag bolts, just to ensure it was plenty strong to hold the floor up.

And with that, the demo was complete. Next step… try to get the pieces back together.

One Comment

  1. Breana said:

    Great project, and helpful tips. Looking forward to new projects in the future!

    June 10, 2010

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