Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Guest Post: Semi-Homemade DIY

You probably remember our good friends Abby and Chris that I mentioned a few days ago in this post. They are cranking through the projects at their house. Up next is the bathroom, so let's check it out!

Hello fellow DIY-ers. My name is Abby and Tim and Chanelle are the brother-in-law and sister I never had. Today, my husband Chris, our friend Matt, and I are doing some semi-homemade DIY (ya know, like Sandra Lee’s cooking….partially done by her, partially done by someone else). We hired a contractor to install the shower surround, set the new toilet and vanity, and move the plumbing 6in (so that we can put in a smaller vanity to save some space). BUT not before we do the demo ourselves (oh, yeeeeaaaahhhh!!!). So, this blog goes out to all the people that do not have the skill and patience to completely “do-it-yourself”.

Chris and Matt ready for a bathroom demo!

A little history first: We bought our first house Dec. 15, 2010. It’s a 1.5story, 3bdrm, 2bthrm home, built in 1975. The previous owner was about to go into foreclosure, so while we didn’t buy a foreclosed home, we did buy one that had some like neglect. Thus, we need to re-do our mainfloor bathroom.


I am fairly certain that the bathroom is completely original with the house…..just think about it….a toilet that is 36 years old. How many butts has it seen?!?! But seriously, the biggest problem is the shower surround. The tile has bubbled up and gotten a lot of black mystery substance (i.e., BAD). So, we’re taking out the tile and the dry wall behind it, as well as the toilet, and the vanity.

Before I go too much further, I should confess. Chris always teases me about my DIY-ness because to say that I “do-it-MYSELF” would be a bit of a stretch. Every time Chris starts a project he says ‘This week, on HGTV’s Make Your Husband Do It….”. So, in other words, I’m the idea-person and director (Ha!); Chris is the do-er. :-D

Shelby and Abby directing the demo

….Back to the demolition….Here is our step-by-step for demo-ing your bathroom for anyone who is cheap with limited DIY skills:

1.) Before, we (i.e., THEY) get started, we prepare the bathroom. Important step and one that I hate. In the bathtub (that we’re keeping) we put down old cardboard, an old blanket and then a tarp. This is an AMAZING idea (thanks Matt) because when they’re all done taking off the tile they can just fold it up. Perfect. We also took out ALL of the stuff in the bathroom (obviously, but thought it should be mentioned).

2.) We took out the bolts of the vanity. However, the last bolt was in a hard to reach place and the sink won’t come out. Chris and Matt did some internet research on it (thanks Google), but alas, no easy solution. So, we come to a fork in the road…..cut the pipe or leave it for the contractor to take care of it? :::images of water spewing out of the pipe and our new laminate floor buckling::: Hmmm…..leave it alone. The toilet came out no problem.

Google action shot

In progress shot

3.) They used the crowbars to start chipping off the bubbled up tile first. They came off pretty easy and fairly mess free (though behind the tiles is NASTY).

The tiles are coming off!

Look at all of those tiles gone!

4.) However, they ran into a slight problem. (Chanelle, don’t read this part). When they took off the next tile, HUNDREDS of large, black carpenter ants spewed out of the wall. ISN’T THAT SO NASTY?!?!?!? EEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!! Chris made me take a picture of it but for the sake of Chanelle and I’s friendship, I am leaving it out. So, I called the contractor (SUPER nice guy, L-O-V-E him!!) and asked [a] is this normal? [b] what should we do? [c] will I wake up in a sea of ants?!?! He answered [a] this is not uncommon; it just means that we have a slight water leak somewhere (which we knew), [b] the ants should retreat back to their nest, but for those that don’t use wasp spray killer and set up some ant poison, and [c] no. So, we all learned something new this evening :-D

5.) Chris decided that we all needed to loosen up after the ant debacle….hence the amaretto and koolaid. But, hey, like Mary Poppins says “With every job that must be done, there’s an element of fun”…I’m just not sure she meant booze with crowbars.

6.) Many wasp killer sprays later, Chris and Matt are back at it. They eventually wise up and use the box cutters to cut a slit across the dry wall at the top and just take giant bricks of the tile/ drywall off. Much easier/faster.

7.) All done. They had fairly easy clean up because of the good prep we did (again, prep is my least favorite part but saves you SO much time, hassle, fighting, etc.).

Now, it’s the contractor’s turn. We may not be doing all the bathroom remodel ourself, but by doing the demo (as well as us picking out all the bathroom appliances over the course of a few months, waiting for good sales) we saved enough money to pay for almost all of the new stuff we bought to put IN the bathroom. And I’m happy with that. :)

-Face masks
-2 crow bars
-1 blanket
-1 tarp
-old crappy cardboard
-cordless drill
-2 hammers
-2 screwdrivers
-2 plastic bins (for trash)
-2 box cutters
-wasp killer spray
-a strong stomach
-rippling muscles
-a comfortable couch with a dachshund

Ahhh! Abby the part about the carpenter ants is so scary. I'm glad you didn't unleash that on me in a photo attachment. Yikes! Let's hope we never encounter that madness in our DIY futures or I'll surely pass out, scream, jump up and down like a little girl-- all of the above.

I love the prep work strategy. I hope that really paid off when it came to clean up! Seldom do we think about that unsavory aspect of ripping out a bathroom, carpet, etc. That's also a fantastic tip to score/cut the drywall adjacent to the tile and take it off in large chunks.

We have a few bathrooms that need a facelift, so we'll be sure to keep your advice in mind when we embark on those projects! Thank you so much for sharing, Abby. I can't wait to see an after picture when the project is all said and done!

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