Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mission : Demolition

Demolition is my favorite part of any project. Somehow there is something very theraputic about tearing out trim or cabinets or removing gross stuff. It's like I have house bulimia. And when the cockroach poo has fallen in my open mouth, I actually consider daily purging. The point is...demo is disgusting. And freakin' awesome.

So if you wanna attempt a project, don't let someone take the demo away from you. It might be just the thing to release the pent up frustration that builds from dealing with your physician who insists that chocolate is not a major food group.

Now let's look at the de-construction of my first floor bathroom.


We start with a normal bathroom. My flooring before went a little something like this:
The joists in your house are beams that hold up the floor, roof, or ceiling. They are important - do not mess with them during a bathroom tile job. Otherwise, the results are like Britney-with-an-umbrella, if you know what I mean.

On top of the joists come the subfloor. Yes, made of plywood. This is usually nailed directly to the joists and most importantly, needs to be dry. Why does it need to be moisture-free? Mold. Mildew. Wood rot.

Next comes the glue or adhesive that is holding the lineoleum down. If it is old then the lineoleum is ridiculously hard to remove. If it is new, it should come up pretty quick.

After the lineoleum is the trim...usually a 3" to 5" nailed board on the wall with a piece of quarter round finishing the look of the floor. Ours was partially made of pine, partially partical board...aka cheap...so it splinters upon removal. You have to remove the trim to remove ALL of the lineoleum. So obviously that is where I started.


After the trim was off (yuck), I tried peeling up a corner of the lineoleum. Hallelujah - it came off easily. Fortunately for us whoever laid the lineoleum let the glue dry a little too long before putting on the actual floor. The lineoleum wasn't even sticking. Basically the only thing holding it down was the trim and a few square feet where the glue did it's job.

Unfortunately I discovered some issues. Take a look:


Swirlies were no problem. The paper could be scraped up using my handy dandy joint compound knife. The water damage was quite old and the subfloor did not suffer any damage from mold, mildew or rot. Whew. My only issue was the joint compound on the floor. I called my mom. She said that in older homes people sometimes used jc or plaster to 'level' the floor. Obviously in my home, they didn't do a good job...only 3/4 of the room was covered...the other quarter was obviously lower. So I did my homework.

I found that you can apply mastic or thinset to the clean floor before fastening your Durock (or backerboard). Some people skip this step & fasten the board directly to the subfloor. But in our case, the thinset made sure our new tile foundation was completely level. But back to that in a second.


So I scraped, swept, cleaned and prepped the floor. When all the extra glue, paper, lineoleum and dirt was hauled off, I brought in the big guns to remove the toilet. Turn off water. Unscrew bolts. Lift toilet. Pretty easy right. My boyfriend and I hauled it to the garage.


The toilet hole got some press-n-seal to keep that stank down. And I finally got behind the toilet to sand the rough wall behind the tank.


I also took this opportunity to get rid of a couple squeeky floorboards. I fastened the floor down to the joists with a couple screws...and just like Trump, I said "Not another squeek or you're fired!".

The photo on the right shows me marking my tile line. As you can see the old lineoleum went right up to the hallway hardwoods. But our new tile would only be in the bathroom. We needed to extend the hardwood by adding a few additional pieces and then the finishing touch would be a threshold stained to match the hall.


Then came my floor leveling event via thinset. Spread with a notched trowel. Then take your backerboard and lay flat on the thinset. Press down until level.


Then screw er in. The fine folks at your local home improvement center will hook you up with all the proper equipment.

Speaking of equipment - here are my top 6 bathroom demolition tools (so girls, make sure you have one of each in your pink tool belt (or within reach) the next time you rip out your loo):

So there you have it. One prepped and ready to be tiled bathroom. Demolition mission complete. Yeah, my next mission (if I choose to accept) may be suspending over a temperature, motion, and pressure sensitive room to get a NOC list...or I might leave that to the amatuers :)

12 comments:

Kristina with a K said...

Way to go! I'd love to rip out my ghetto linoleum in my kitchen and put in tile. Your post is a huge help (for when I decide to muster up and do it)

Jennifer said...

you're the man.

Kelli said...

Man I wish I could do all of that. I would love to retile our bathrooms and my kitchen. I need to work on being handy.

Design it Chic said...

Oh how i wish i could rip out my kitchen linoleum and put nice clean tiles...but as this is just a rental we're living in, i guess i should just keep dreaming,right? :)
Congrats on yours tough!!!

A Slice of Drywall said...

This brings back so many memories. Except we totally gutted our bathroom. So you can guess how much fun that was. It's nice when it's all done though.

You did a great job!

:::Lyzz::: said...

The demo is fun, but the part between demo and new construction is absolutely hideous and nasty and I hate that part. I wish I had the money to outsource that part!

Taryn said...

I am not going to lie- this is a great tutorial- but seeing all the stages overwhelms me! I am sure when I actually have a house to work on I will feel different- but yeah. You are awesome.

Anonymous said...

You are my hero! Thanks for not shying away from the tough jobs and for explaining things so well. Your sense of humor is really great too!

Tammy said...

FYI - backerboard should always, always, always, always, i repeat always be thinsetted to the subfloor. then screwed or nailed to the subfloor! whether your floor is level or not. my husband has been a professional tile installer for twenty plus years :)

Katie said...

Well there you have it folks - news from a pro - always thinset between your backerboard and the subfloor.

Thanks Tammy!

XO - Katie

Mrs. said...

We're planning to rip up our linoleum in our new house soon to replace it with tile. One question--how did the use of thinset correct the unevenness of your floor? Wouldn't you need to use leveling compound instead?

Love the new bathroom by the way (especially the diagonal pattern)!

Katie said...

Hi Mrs. Sarah,

Absolutely you can use a leveling compound...however since my experience is limited with L.C. and since my entire bathroom was sloped, I knew that I would have to build a 'wall' to keep the coumpound from draining down behind the wall. aka pain in the rear.

So after a bit of googling & calling my big brother (who happens to be a master plumber), I decided that the easier route in my situation would be to build the lower part of the floor using the thinset which I made sure was nice and thick under the parts that were lower. It was a challenge for my leveling skills but after smooshing out the excess on the higher level of the floor - it came out just right.

If you are planning a renovation like this - definitely ask a professional for their expert opinion.

Hope the helps!

XO - Katie