It’s week 2 of the One Room Challenge, and today on the blog I’m sharing the demo of our half bath reno and the progress we’ve made so far.
Missed last week’s post and want to catch up? You can find Week 1 here: HALF BATH RENO: THE BEFORE | ONE ROOM CHALLENGE WEEK 1
One Room Challenge: Half Bath Demo
Demo day, as Chip Gaines would say, or rather demo week in our case, is finally here! We’ve been anxious to start tearing this half bath apart. To be honest, though, we’ve been working on the demo of our half bath since the start of the ORC last week.
When we started planning for this reno, one thing I didn’t really think about was what we were going to do with all the debris. Even though it’s a small project disposing of the waste from the reno isn’t something we wanted to, or even could, put in with our normal trash.
At first, we thought we’d just grab a Bagster bag from Home Depot. We’ve used one before and they are great for doing a bit of spring cleaning around the house. We quickly changed our minds though. There are a few other small projects in our home and yard that we want to clear out. So, we decided to get a small dumpster instead.
The price for the bag is $29 and they charge about $160 to pick it up. Most likely it would have been perfect for the size of our demo. With the other small projects and clean-up we want to do though, getting a dumpster just made sense.
For a little bit more we were able to get a small dumpster for the week for $295. And, any additional days we may need are billed at just $10 a day. With the rainy weather we’ve been having and an additional unrelated small project Mike wants to tackle, we may need an extra day or two.
Saturday, May 1st is when we officially kicked off the demo of our half bath reno project. We took it a bit slow that first weekend because Mike was still recovering from a nasty virus.
Around the time we were ready to start demo on our half bath, Mike was reaching the tail end of a cold. He had been fighting an upper respiratory bug and bad seasonal allergies for a couple of weeks. His energy was still pretty low but he was getting fidgety and ready to get up and moving again.
Plus, we were both eager to get started because there are a couple of changes we want to make to the floor plan. I’ll discuss these in more detail below but they involve moving the plumbing. Anxious to open up the floor and see what we were dealing with, we decided to start with the vanity.
First, we needed to turn off the water for the bathroom. This took us a moment because the shutoff valves under the vanity didn’t work. Instead, we headed to the basement to locate the valve for the bathroom and disable it from there. None of our shutoff valves are labeled so this took a bit of trial and error along with a bit of muscle. Adding “label basement water valves by room” to our to-do list for later.
Once the water was off, the vanity came out without a fight. The sink was barely attached to the wall and the only struggle we had was with disconnecting the water lines. They were a little awkward for Mike to get to.
Once the vanity was out we started to tackle the floor. This is where we hit a rough patch and quickly realized the flooring wasn’t coming up without a fight.
Underneath the sheet vinyl flooring, we found a layer of cement board. This was used as a base at some point over the original vinyl tile floor we discovered below. Beneath that we were finally able to locate the 1″ subflooring.
Because of some issues with the subfloor and the other layers above it, it made sense for us to rip out the whole thing and start fresh. Not knowing where or how big the joists underneath were, we proceeded with caution.
Using a crowbar and a hammer, we tried to pry up the flooring to remove it from the joists. Mike quickly realized this wasn’t going to work. The flooring was splintering and coming up in very small pieces. Making our progress extremely slow.
Frustrated, Mike decided to bust out his saw. Making an educated guess as to the location of the joists, he proceeded to slowly cut into the floor. He was able to remove a large section allowing us to locate the joists and get a glimpse of the layout of the plumbing underneath.
He did make a small cut into the edge of one joist in the process. It’s small enough that it shouldn’t cause any structural issues. We’ll need to add cross joists to secure the new subflooring and they will add some reinforcement as well.
To make it easier for the plumbers, we want to remove the entire floor so they have full access to work. Right now though it makes sense to move onto the walls while most of the original floor is still intact.
After opening up the floor a bit, we switched gears and started on the walls. Mike spent much of the weekend doing what he could to open up the floor. He was also able to remove the drywall from the window wall.
My role at this time was cleanup duty. We’re trying to keep renovation dust to a minimum because our half bath is connected to a family room with a door that leads outside. We use this door throughout the day to let Moose out to the backyard. It’s critical that this area stays clear of any nails or other renovation debris that could potentially hurt our pup.
Going into the first week of May, I knew we wouldn’t have a ton of time to work on the bathroom. We both had a pretty full week of meetings. When I found some time on Tuesday afternoon to work on the bathroom, I jumped on it.
I was able to remove most of the drywall on the wall with the pocket door. For the most part, the drywall covering the framing for the door came off in big horizontal sections. Making it super quick and easy to remove.
There is a pipe and some electrical in this wall as well and the drywall in this section was a bit more difficult to remove. Coming off in small pieces, making the removal process pretty slow going.
Mike was able to come in after me later in the week to finish the job. He removed the drywall from the remaining walls and even the ceiling. He was also able to start adding insulation to the outside wall.
Based on the remodel of our 2nd-floor main bathroom, we knew that we would be replacing/adding new insulation to the space. The insulation we did find was pretty gross and we pulled all of that out. Hopefully, the new insulation we’re adding will help this little bathroom stay warm and cozy in the winter.
We have a couple of changes we want to make to the floor plan to help with the functionality of the space. There are a couple of unknowns that we’re eager to solve in order to determine if this is possible.
One being the plumbing for the toilet the other the plumbing for the sink.
Rotate the toilet
In my week 1 ORC post, I talked about Mike’s desire to turn our toilet 90 degrees. Making it more functional in the space. We weren’t sure what our bathroom was sitting on and thought the plumbing might be in a cement slab.
We were told a few years ago that this would be a pretty pricey endeavor if it was. It feels like such a small change but it sounds like the labor involved to do this is what makes up much of the cost.
To our surprise when we opened up a bit of the floor we could see that instead of a concrete slab there was a big crawl space underneath. It isn’t accessible from the basement or outside our home though. We’re hoping this discovery makes it a little less pricey to turn our toilet.
Remove vanity to increase floor space
I also mentioned last week that we suspected there could be some water damage under the flooring. Sure enough, as we started to pull up the floor near the plumbing for the sink, the subfloor was soft.
We’re not quite sure where the leak is or how bad it is, but the pipe looks pretty old. Also, it now has a knick in it from where Mike accidentally cut into it. Hoping the plumber can assist with this and give us some insight.
Since we are making the switch from a vanity to a wall-mounted sink, we’ll need to move the plumbing for the faucet.
Right now, we have shutoff valves coming up through the floor. Mike thinks we will lose these when we install a wall-mounted sink but I’m hoping we can keep them if he wants.
The ones we have now don’t work but it would be nice to have them in case of an emergency. I shared above that to turn off our water we had to do this from the valve in the basement. Thankfully that one worked just fine.
In addition to addressing the leak and shutoff valves, I also want to raise the height of our sink. We will need a plumber to raise the height of our current plumbing to accommodate this.
One of the biggest outstanding unknowns of this project is the plumbing. We’re still in need of a plumber for our half bath reno.
I originally reached out to the company that worked on our other bathroom about a month or so ago. I wanted to get an idea of timing and get a quote for the work we wanted to do.
At the time, they were scheduling any new jobs about 2 weeks out. We weren’t ready to commit at that time and now they are no longer taking on renovation jobs. They are super busy and have one plumber in quarantine and are only able to do service work at this time. Bummer.
Thankfully, I was able to get an appointment scheduled with another company we’ve used before and they are coming out tomorrow to quote the work for us. Fingers crossed the price is right and they can squeeze us in. If not, this project may come to a screeching halt.
There are only a few things we can do in the space before we get in the way of where the plumber needs to be. It may be a mad dash at the end to wrap things up if we can’t nail down a plumber soon.
Our bathroom is quite small and doesn’t have a ton of storage in it. Since this isn’t our main bath, I’m not too concerned with adding in a bunch of storage. However, the little storage we did have in the form of a medicine cabinet was super functional and useful. I’m hoping that we are able to keep this as we build out the new bath.
We were able to remove our current medicine cabinet pretty easily. It was dated and not the look I was going for with the design of the new bathroom. I’m hoping to come up with a creative way to keep the functionality but make it a little more aesthetically pleasing.
One idea I have is to add a hinge of some sort to a new or existing mirror that we have in our home. DIYing a prettier version of the typical medicine cabinet. I’m not quite sure if this will work though and need to think it through a bit more.
Half bath reno | Demo
So far the demo portion of our half bath reno is moving along pretty smoothly. (Knock on wood) We’ve made great progress and I feel pretty good about where we’re at. With such a tight space though, measuring about 3′ wide and a little under 6′ long, I’m sure we’ll have some challenges though.
We have a few things to wrap up before the plumber comes out but we should be able to get them done before then.
Next week, I’m FINALLY sharing the mood board for this space! Woohoo! I’ve been going back and forth on a couple of things but feel good about the design we’ve landed on.
Almost everything has been ordered and has either arrived or is due to arrive this week. I still have a couple of things to finalize but I’m excited to share the design with you all!
For more inspiration and to cheer the other designers on, head to the One Room Challenge blog to follow along!
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