Bob and I spent a couple evenings last week dismantling the sink and toilet in order to gear up for a Saturday of tile removal. I picked up this book from amazon.com awhile back to help be a double check as we tackled these projects, so between that and a couple helpful youtube videos, the easiest part of our bathroom remodel was underway.
We shut off the water supply for the sink, then started dismantling the vanity, starting with the corner blocks that held the top in place. After little effort, disconnecting of the drain and pipes and a razor's edge to the caulk line, the countertop and sink popped right off.
In about 45 minutes, this corner of our bathroom suddenly got a lot more spacious.
Next up, the toilet. Water lines shut off again, with a small bin placed underneath the pipes to catch any dropped water. We followed this youtube video to a tee, first adding bleach to the water to help disinfect the bowl and then sponging out the excess water into a bucket.
The tank was removed by simply unscrewing the connecting bolts and lifting it out. A rag was stuff in the opening at the bottom to prevent leaks, and we placed it on a mat in our extra room until we were ready to discard it with our other demo'd material. The bowl also lifted right out after the putty line was broken with a boxcutter type tool. Our second bedroom was becoming quite the showroom. . .
Then the grossness - getting rid of all of the waxy parts adhered to the bottom of the unit and stuck in the floor. The DIY book had a suggestion to use a gallon ziplock over your gloved hand to pick up all of the pieces and create an immediate container.
We also picked up this test plug for $5 at Home Depot as opposed to just using a rag to stop the drain and prevent debris from making its way down the hole. This proved very useful as mere hours later wall tile was flying in the room.
Speaking of tile, we got up bright and early on Saturday morning ready to begin demo. And then we started watching Burning Love on Hulu. . . But by 10am we were ready to go! With the first crack of the hammer against the chisel we looked at each other surprised at how loud it ended up echoing in the tiny, empty bathroom. Now, keep in mind we live in a condo building with neighbors on four sides, not our own tucked away house where buzzsaws and jackhammers are more than welcome. We've already determined we need to find a faraway place (ahem, my sister's house) to tackle our tile cutting, but even just removing the tile proved much louder than anticipated!
Concrete lay underneath the tile, so Bob is rethinking his idea to level out the floor (if possible) so it is even with the hallway height, which currently sits a bit lower and necessitates a door threshold.
After a deserved break and a trip to the local Ace for a thinner pry bar to attack the wall tile properly, we got to work on the shower area. We got the job done in about 3 hours total, but not without some difficulty and sore arms the next day. It turns out the builder used mastic to glue the wall tiles on, which left a yellow residue in most areas and caused us to tear out some drywall in other parts - or maybe that wasn't the mastic's fault, but rather our less experienced method?
We had the opportunity the next day to ask our friends at the Tile Outlet what they thought of mastic vs. thinset, and we were told that mastic is a time-saver that doesn't do well in wet conditions - a hotbed for mold growth. As you can probably guess, we walked out of the Tile Outlet with thinset. Here's an article with some more info on the debate.
But, we persevered through the pain and by 5pm (our building's cut off time for noisy projects like this), the walls were cleared. Yes, some drywall came with it, but we were looking at replacing some of it anyways for our wall with the pocket door and to be able to remove the tub. I even managed to complete a large portion of one wall myself - though definitely not as forceful or quick with the hammer as Bob could be.
On another note, I've been the safety queen of this project, trying to make sure we're wearing our safety goggles during the demo, but one thing I didn't push hard enough was for the husband to wear pants instead of shorts! But after Bob's legs suffered a couple nicks from flying tile, the message was received. Pants from here on out.
We decided to let the bathroom stay like this overnight and shut the door to would-be curious kitties, tackling the clean up the next day after researching best ways to dispose of our demo'd material. While I'm sure we don't have a ton of garbage in the grand scheme of construction projects, its always a pet peeve of mine to see old toilets or refrigerators dumped in the alleyway, sometimes days away from garbage pick-up, so we piled together all of our ready-to-discard material and plan on driving the bags out to a recycling center that accepts construction material.
Clean up was actually a breeze, we made sure to wear paper masks because the tile, grout and drywall dust was everywhere. We bought 18-gallon compactor bags from Ace, lined our two buckets with them and started filling. In the end, we only needed 4 bags to get the wall tile cleaned up (the floor tile had been placed in extra cardboard boxes we had on hand).
Suddenly, the bathroom was swept up, cleared out and ready for next weekend's next step: tub removal!