Renovation Diary, Part 1: Bathroom Demolition

Some projects start out so innocently.  Just a short while ago, our main bathroom started presenting an occasional smell of mildew.  


Thinking some water from the kid’s baths might have leaked under the stick-on vinyl tiles, I decided to peel one or two up and take a peek.  My husband told me to go right ahead, hoping that peeling up vinyl would keep me occupied for awhile and I wouldn’t have time to get any more crazy projects going.  That’s exactly how it all began.


The vinyl tiles broke and tore as they peeled up, which didn’t break my heart any.  Directly underneath were some tiles that had been laid on top of a second layer of vinyl.


Unfortunately, vinyl is not a solid base for tile, and at least 15 of the tiles were broken.


Most of the broken pieces were around the toilet and beside the tub, which soon became the obvious location for the mildew smell.




 Six layers of flooring later, we finally reached the subfloor, which consisted of diagonal planks across the joists.  Jer jumped in to help at the third or fourth layer of flooring, resigning himself to the fact that this was going to be a joint effort.

Six layers of flooring on top of the subfloor.

Six layers of flooring on top of the subfloor.

After digging through layers of vinyl, tile, vinyl, plywood, linoleum and plywood, we finally reached the subfloor. Most of the damage was actually removed, but we decided to put a good solid base of ¾ inch plywood over the entire floor to give us a fresh start.  The tub had to be removed at this point and we decided to do a complete bathroom renovation.


Aspen was excited to get out her eye protection and hammer to help with the demolition.

Aspen was excited to get out her eye protection and hammer to help with the demolition.


As you might have gathered from the flooring situation, there have been several DIY attempts throughout the years toward updating this bathroom.  The last rendition before we moved in involved the vinyl floor tiles, lots of paint, faux beadboard paneling, and about 8 tubes of caulk.  



The vanity drawers were not usable, and the faucet had an annoying squeak that I never could get rid of.  It was high-time for a renovation anyway.  Thank goodness for an over-sensitive nose and an understanding husband.

Demolition involved the removal of the tub, vanity, glued on shower walls, and original aluminum window.  The toilet was moved to the garage, and we also intended to reuse the tub.  We decided to tile the shower/tub area, so we also removed the drywall in that area to make room for cement board.  The lower part of the drywall was removed along the toilet and vanity wall because of some mold issues, and we opted to expose the cinder block chimney to gain 4 inches of space for a new vanity.


Here are some things we learned in the demolition process:

  1. Demolition is messy. We rented a large dumpster from the City of Pocatello for one day and quickly cleared out the majority of the mess.  What I didn’t count on was the thick layer of dust that look up residence on every flat surface (and some vertical surfaces, too!) in the house.
  2. Gloves, face masks and eye protection are a must.  Bathroom, mold, rusty nails, enough said.
  3. You might get more than you bargained for.  Renovations are never what you expect, especially on an older home.

Next up, Renovation Diary: Inspiration and Research.

3 thoughts on “Renovation Diary, Part 1: Bathroom Demolition

  1. I can’t believe how lazy some people are…..6 layers of flooring? Really? I think you are doing the right thing by taking it down to the original studs and flooring and starting over again. You will be SO glad that you did.

  2. Oh man! A whole bunch of good and bad mashed into one! Six layers! Crazy! I love your “so we decided to do a full renovation ” face! Haha! Based on the quality of the past renovations, I can tell you are going to be thrilled with an all new room! Woot woot!

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