Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Demo Begins...

We lived in our house for about 10 months before we decided to take the big step and demo the main floor.  That was a bit of a scary day if I'm honest.  Once we took the first swing it was like there's no turning back now....go big or go home! 

One of the things we learned very quickly, within the first few days, was that when you're doing a renovation for the first time, and you're doing it on your own, things seem to take waaaay longer than you anticipated.  Initially we thought oh yeah, we can demo this in a day or two....HA.  HA!  I can't even remember how long it took us, this phase was over a year ago now, but it definitely was not a day or two.  Although we knew we had lath and plaster walls, we didn't think the details through, that taking these walls down was like taking them down two times.  Once to get the plaster off (Darryl discovered after a bit that using a small, flat shovel worked best for him) and a second time to take the lath off (and then going around and taking all the teeny tiny nails out that didn't come out with the lath.  Job.and.a.half.)

We used pry bars to take the lath off.  If you're about to under take a job like this, be sure to have the proper masks, the thin, white ones won't do the job.  Hard hats were also important with things like the ceiling coming down.  Here's a closer look at the main reason we decided to take on this demo:

Behind the plaster and then the lath, what do you see?  That's right....nothing.  The walls were 100% empty.  Yikes!  So when the goverment was offering the Eco Energy Audit Rebates, we decided it was the perfect time.  If we were going to do all of this, we might as well be reimbursed for all we could qualify for (things like updating windows, increasing your R value in terms of insulation, Energy Star toilets...).

I'm not going to lie, the first few days of this were hard for me.  I'm not one to always enjoy change, I often like to keep things as they are.  This house is 91 years old, someone 91 years ago put this baby together and now we were going to take it apart??  Horror!  But the reality was that the house had already been so butchered and reconfigured by previous owners and landlords that I started to see it as my turn to make those things better.  I may be more emotional than is probably good for me  :S

More on the demo next week!

On another note, yesterday Darryl grabbed an original clawfoot tub from a neighbour a couple doors down who was going to throw it out!  Our house already has a clawfoot, but it is in desperate need of repair, so we're thinking maybe we'll use it as a tester before we try refinishing our own.  After seeing this kit at Little Old House I think we'll definitely try it!  It may be a while before we get to it, but it was free and we couldn't pass it up!

Do you or any one you know have experience refinishing cast iron tubs or sinks?  Any advice??


  1. We're still pretty new to our house, but already have some demo plans for the not-too-distant future. Just the idea of it can feel pretty overwhelming, so I'm glad to hear that you survived it :)

  2. Good luck with your demos Amelia!