Demo, the Remix

My original game plan was to demo everything down to the studs.  Someone suggested that I could drywall over the plaster on the ceilings in the process of the first demo, so I altered course and left the ceiling in the dining room, majority of living room, 1st floor hall and one of the bedrooms (future office).  On the inside walls I left the lathe from approximately 30″ and up.

Well turns out that was not a good move.  The HVAC company, who has started running ducts, needed access to more joist in the non-demoed ceilings and walls.  With the high 40s/low 50s temps of last week I completed all the demo.  Cameron and his brother-in-law brought the muscle.  Fresh from my dumpster lesson I tried Whitton Containers this time.  Still not a great experience, but at least I didn’t get over charged.  I was supposed to have a Wednesday morning delivery.  It showed about 2pm (the other company did the same thing), but they knocked $50 off the price (unlike the other company).  I think they all have a racquet to get over.  Whitton told me they only had a 15 yard available, but it allowed up to 12 tons.  Well I hoped that would be enough space, but I knew weight would not be an issue.  I took a different route to the house on Thursday and low and behold I stumbled across a lot jammed packed with Whitton dumpsters.  Many larger than the 15-yard that was my “only option”.  I went from a 40 yard with low weight allowance to a 15 yard with a high weight allowance.  Something is wrong with that picture.

My dad urged me to remove all lathe and just add it back to the vertical studs were needed for the walls with doors or windows.  I took his suggestion in most areas.  No video or action shots.  Just photos of the finished product.  The other advantage to removing everything is the access I gained to even more of the knob and tubs I need to clear out.  Amazing to see how that house was wired and even more amazing that it never burned down.

I’m so ready to start rebuilding.



Days is more appropriate.  We began on Friday, Oct 27 and I will call Tuesday, Nov 7 the official last day of demolition.  Including myself, 8 people (6 men and 2 females) had a hand at bringing my house down to its studs.  We filled two, 40-yard dumpsters.  I totally understand why Demo Day is @ChipGaines favorite day.  I loved every minute of the process and did not feel true fatigue until today (like typing this entry is testing my arms, which I can barely lift).

My father told me I could do the demo myself.  I had hoped I could get it complete under the $3800 estimate I had gotten from Tiburon Energy owner, Daryn Goulbourne, but I missed the mark by about $1000.  However I got a lot more done than was covered in his bid.  Remember “I Just Want Brick” post?  Well I have brick in all the areas I mentioned in that blog.  My guys literally pounded the plaster with a mini sledgehammer until it crumbled to the ground.  That brick in the hallway is going to look fabulous once it’s cleaned and sealed.  My master closet will have a cool brick feature and my gas stove will look awesome centered on the brick wall in the kitchen.  To get the tub out of the first floor and expose the sagging and severely cut floor joist we had to hammer jack through a bed of 6-8″ thick concrete.  Cameron and John tackled that by themselves (Herculean Feat).  Cameron and Jermaine also tackled removing the boiler system in the basement (another Herculean Feat).  My spend also extended to the outside of the house where I was also able to get the ragged chain link fence removed from the back and side yard thanks to Cameron, John, Jermaine, and Greg.  I have a snake issue to address (YIKES!)

Here’s a Quik video I created of the demo process: #DEMODAY

At one point my cousin Greg asked me if I was feeling stressed.  I honestly answered, no.  In the midst of all the destruction, I have an even greater sense of clarity on this project.  The crew left between 4 and 5 each day, but I remained until dark and was at such peace as I walked through the demoed spaces.  My friend Joan stopped by one day and I told her I could get an air mattress and start sleeping there right now (me and Ricky the Racoon, the box gutters can’t get fixed fast enough).

One contractor that came through the house told me it would not be possible to remove and reuse the majority of the trim without breaking it.  I saved 95% of the trim; really only losing the floor trim that had outlets cut into them and the long wall of the kitchen, which will house cabinets in the remodel.  I hope we aren’t going to have a harsh winter as I will have my hands full cleaning up, patching, sanding, staining, and sealing the trim and doors in my current garage.  More sweat equity, which is the only way I’ll be able to make the numbers work.  I can’t wait to price trim just to see how much I saved.

One thing I know for sure.  If I ever get into the house flipping (for rent or sell) business I’m calling these guys and gal first to hire as my crew!  They ROCKED!

Let the remodeling begin!

$49.80+$27.30+$33.05+ $34.65+$19.95=$2664.75

Ok it really only equals $164.75.  That’s how much money I got for taking the cast iron pipes and radiators that once heated my house to Garden Street Iron & Metal, Inc, located in my neighborhood.  The additional $2500 is the money I won’t have to pay the HVAC company if their crew removed the pipes.  Almost all of the most valuable metals had been stripped from the house already.  The valves to almost all the rads were still in place and they were brass.  On one load I had a 160 lb radiator and 35 lbs in valves.  I got $8.40 for the rad and $41.40 for the valves.

#NicoleCurtis posted a blog showing how she turned a rad into a bedroom shelf,, and I thought about doing this project with the over 6′ rad (only two rads were left) that was upstairs in the new Master bedroom.  However it was too heavy to move (in one piece) and was in the way to remove the floor trim I’m trying to save and would have been in the way of the floor refinishers.  She harps a lot about saving our landfills and i agree, but if you have access to a scrap metal yard who can shred it in preparation for a new life then to me throwing out is a viable option too.

One contractor that walked through my house early on said it’s a shame that looters don’t understand that they do $1000s in damage to a person’s home for a few hundred bucks.  I totally get that now.  The worst buckling of my floors, where I’ll spend about $5,000 restoring, was probably caused from where they cut the rads without draining the water.  For code reasons (old knob and tube) I needed to rip out electric anyway, but perhaps if more scrap was left I would have rented a UHaul for one trip versus testing the stamia of my PT Cruiser.  All is good, on to tackle the next obstacle!  BTW – I’m thoroughly enjoying this journey thus far.



Pine It Will Be

Today I had more meetings with contractors at the house (HKC Roofing, EverDry (again- they seem so shady to me), and Tri-State Roofing), so to kill time between the first and last I set out to reveal the full kitchen flooring; removing the last of the debris and linoleum flooring.  Aside from a few holes from the old radiator heat pipes and an approximate 5′ x 2′ bad patch the floors will be beautiful once sanded and sealed.  That bad patch would actually end up being under the cabinets, so I could just let it go (NOT).

Yellow pine tongue and groove is the sub floor of the entire house, except for the living and dining room where they laid oak on top of the pine sub floor.  I plan to let that pine sub floor be my actual flooring and I most likely won’t stain it, allowing the natural color to come through the sealant coat that will be applied.

Only thing left to do with the floor is to remove the million staples used to put down the plywood that the old linoleum was adhered to.  I’m hoping a few friends will want to bring their pliers and help me pull them out on Saturday (hint hint).


Armed with 2 PB&Js, Vitamin Water, and Gatorade

20171013_130741Today was another productive day at my house.  I met with two more contractors.  Another foundation company, Everdry, and a roofer, Deer Park Roofing, regarding the box gutters.  Not a great start to the day as both provided me with 5-digit estimates to address the problems.  Not to be deterred I went back to my sweat equity work.

I totally understand why Chip Gaines loves Demo Day #demoday.  There is something exhilarating in ripping down walls, but today I set out to my original goal of removing all 20171013_155752the trim.  I almost stayed on task.  All trim is removed from the kitchen and dining room; none damaged, so can be reinstalled.  I also managed to completely expose the brick in the kitchen.  Less than an hour, so very glad I did it.  It is going to look awesome once cleaned up and sealed.  Hopefully the vent for the stove can utilize the hole that was filled with plaster.

I also managed to free up the built-in cabinet that was located on the wall to be removed for the open concept kitchen/dining room.  I planneds to relocate it next to the kitchen door and that became a reality today.  Amazingly only 6 nails held it in place and I only had to remove two studs from one side to gain access.  The real struggle came when I realized that the 1/4″ sub-floor that was laid down for the linoleum flooring was stopping it from freeing up.  Once I got that out the way I was able to move it relatively easily (by myself) and it is going to be fabulous once it’s all cleaned up.  I can already picture my cookbooks sitting on the shelves.  Saving that piece saves me 2′ of upper and lower cabinets, cha ching!

The true bright spot of the day was discovering the original pine floors were in great shape underneath the linoleum sub-floor.  COST SAVINGS!!!!!  I will have these restored and sealed vs. laying new flooring.  I think the flooring area where the sink use to be will need to be replaced along with splicing in pieces to fill the radiator hole, but that will be cheaper than a whole new floor!  Hopefully it will be in equally good shape in the hall way as the linoleum runs there also.  Amazingly they put oak flooring in the living room and dining room, but pine everywhere else.


I couldn’t resist taking a selfie