Thursday, January 21, 2016

Our Basement Renovation Story - Demo time!

Once we finalized our basement layout plans, we had to decide how we wanted to get rid of our construction materials.  A dumpster was not really cost efficient, since we knew it would take months and months to complete the renovation.  We seriously considered the Bagster, since it was $30 and it could be picked up by waste management.  The main issue we saw with this is we would have to either a) fill it up at the basement and drag it through the front yard to the street or b) put the Bagster at the street and carry the demo materials across the yard.  Honestly, neither of these ideas sounded good or efficient to us.  My husband had the idea to find a trailer on Craigslist, so we could fill it at the basement, then hook it up to our vehicle and drive it to the city dump as needed.  At first, I thought this idea was crazy, but it was honestly the BEST option ever! It made demo so convenient and an added bonus is having a way to buy our construction materials all at once, instead of trying to fit a few studs at a time in the back of our Explorer.

After deciding on a plan for our trash, it was time to start demo.  I think this has to be one of my favorite parts of the renovation!  I got to take my aggression out on the ugly basement by tearing down walls and ceilings using a baby sledgehammer and a crowbar (or "Big Carl" as we like to call it!  If you watch CougarTown, you will get this reference!)   

The first area we focused on tearing out was the old bathroom and hallway.  We took care to not damage the toilet and vanity as we were planning on re-using those items. We would have reused the shower as well, but it was so tiny, so we decided to donate it to Habitat for Humanity.  The drop ceiling was the first to come down.  Make sure you wear a Tyvek suit and mask because there is plenty of dust and mouse poop up there!  Sure, you will sweat like a pig and look like you belong in Breaking Bad, but you will thank me later!  We bagged up all the ceiling tiles in construction sized trash bags and put them in the trailer for the dump.

Tiny bathroom shower
We then started tearing out the bathroom walls.  We tried to save most of the studs, but many of them were either too water damaged (from previous years of water issues) or were nailed and screwed in so excessively that we had to cut them out (Seriously, we think the guy who built our house owned stock in a nail company!)  After the walls were down, then we had to tear up the floor.  Because the bathroom was a later addition to the house, it was built one step up, on a platform.  This was so the plumbing could be run underneath the room, instead of them cutting into the concrete floor and running it underground.  We were not sure what we would find underneath, but it was built like a deck, so it was easy to tear out.  We also had to remove the plumbing, which left us with one small hole in the concrete that we will need to repair.

Bathroom - After it was torn out.  This will be the Mudroom.
We also tore down the wall in the hallway which separated the garage from the hallway/main living space. It was the most water damaged and it made it easy for us to throw the demo materials into the trailer, without having to navigate through a doorway.  It was amazing how much the space was opened up by removing the tiny bathroom.  It will make a nice, large area to have a mudroom and storage area for sports gear, work boots, and dog paraphernalia. We also plan on replacing the entry door with one that is glass and the tiny window with one that is double the size, to allow more light into the basement area.  It feel so good to start making progress toward our new space!
Hallway with both walls removed
Do you have a mudroom in your house?  If so, what features do you have or would you want?


  1. Big Carl reference made me laugh :)
    It's a big project but really great to see how it comes together.
    We don't have a mudroom in our house (though I'd say most houses in the UK don't) but I sure definitely would love one.
    Great post, Mary! Can't wait to see more!
    xox Nadia

    1. It really is a big project, but we just take it one bit at a time. Thank you for reading my friend!

  2. Wow! Good for you guys for tackling all this work! I wish we had a mudroom. It will definitely be a must have in our next home!

    1. I am super excited to have some where to corral all of of outdoor stuff! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I don't have a mudroom but I' really like one as an outdoor person with pets and kids. I'm envious of your new facilities. You've inspired me to take a look at my basement that's been locked for years with goodness knows what kinds of horrors lurking down there. Great tip about buying a trailer to help with renovations - thanks.

    Traci Romero @ Harris Plumbing

    1. I think I am looking forward to the mudroom to most! With dogs and a teenager that plays sports, as well as a pool...we track in all sorts of mess. Hopefully this will corral some of it! Thank you for visiting and commenting!

  4. The bigger window is a really good idea. It is strange or an oversight sometimes when people neglect to make simple changes that would allow more natural light to enter a room. Having tiny windows may be good for security and privacy but it pays when you can install something that is a whole lot bigger and get more fresh air.

    Wilfred Andrews @ LB Plumbing and Heating

    1. We need as much light as we can get in our dark basement!


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