Sunday, January 3, 2010

What Lies Beneath...

Our basement reno is well underway at our tiny Toronto home. As sledgehammers fly, and dust and debris scatter - I thought I'd give my readers (if there are any) a little update on what we've been working on down below.

Day 1 - Sunday, December 27, 2009: I must start out by saying that in no way did we plan on tearing our basement apart on this fine Sunday evening. The day started off pretty calm. We packed everything up from my parents (where we spent Christmas), dropped by HomeDepot to pick up our new washer and dryer pair and then headed home, with my parents following behind us. While the menfolk unloaded our new appliances from my father's trailer, and hooked up the new dishwasher in the kitchen, my Mom and I headed out to buy some storage bins for stuff we had in the basement, as well as for our Christmas decorations. After a small dinner, B, my father and myself headed downstairs to discuss what our plans were for our basement reno. The gist is that the old tiny office/guest bedroom was to be turned into a bright and airy laundry room, our basement bathroom was getting a complete overhaul, and the remainder of the living space was to be completely redone as well (just a little further down the road). To no one's surprise, shortly after the discussion started the dust masks, hammers and wrecking bar came out and we went to town. As my outfit in this picture will demonstrate - it really was an impromtu demolition session.

After a couple of hours of swinging hammers and weilding a wrecking bar - our basement bathroom and guest bedroom was nothing more than a giant pile of wood and drywall.

There weren't too many surprises this first day. A few moldy spots of drywall (which B was careful to cut up and immediately bag) and of course a bunch of beer caps - which would probably explain the horrible job done not only on the basement, but the work on the rest of the house! 

The biggest surprise was the old wasps nest B stumbled across, where our bathroom ceiling met an outside wall. There wasn't too much too worry about, as the old nest was dried out and had clearly been there for quite sometime without any use. More than anything, it let us know to be extra certain that the exterior of the house is well sealed when we close everything back up. After an exhausting night of ripping our basement apart, we called it quits and headed to bed feeling accomplished and ready for round 2 of demo the following day.

Day 2, Monday, December 28th, 2009: With both of us off work, Monday was the perfect day to head out to do some more shopping for our basement reno before getting back down to demolition. Our first stop was our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore where we were looking for everything - doors, a pedestal sink, a tub - you name it. We scored pretty huge when I found a stack of 375 sq. ft of laminate flooring for $280 bucks. Exactly what we'll need when we finish the living area of the basement. We definitely want to use laminate down there, just incase there ever IS an issue with water - we don't want expensive hardwood getting destroyed, or moldy carpet! We also left carrying a Rhino Bag, a great alternative to renting a dumpster for all of our basement demo waste. From there we picked up some more demolition supplies at Princess Auto before moving on to Home Depot (we really wish there was a Lowes closer to our house), where B needed to pick up a bunch of plumbing supplies. While B was exploring the isles of plumbing, I took off on my own to investigate sinks, vanities and tubs. While exploring I came across a lighting clearance section. To my joy I found THREE boxes of 3 1/4 inch recessed lights for $20 a box! SCORE! B and I inspected them and they are exactly what we need for the basement reno, and with 18 lights in total, we can do our laundry room and bathroom - as well as our kitchen!

Once our rather expensive shopping expedition was complete, we headed home and prepared to empty the basement of all of its debris. Thankfully, our basement windows were large enough to pass the debris out of (and for B to crawl through), so I passed up old pieces of wood and drywall, while B loaded them up in the Rhino Bag. Once we were done, we gave it a sweep and scooped up the smaller debris into some garbage bins.

With everything off the floor, it was time to take out the sledgehammers and break up the nasty green bathroom tile, and very strange mosaic tile floor (if you can call it that) - and of course, finally rip out the awful almond coloured, jetted monstrosity of a tub. After it was removed and B was able to get at the drain, we found our new friend - creepy the frog. An old broken up ceramic dish sponge holder. B promptly put him back together the best he could and let him sit by to supervise the remainder of our demo.

After the floor had been completely broken up and cleared away and B and I started discussing our final plans for the layout of our new laundry room and bathroom. While checking things out, we peeled back the vinyl flooring in what had been the guestroom to face a TON of mildew that we'll need to tackle with a handy bleach solution.

Day 3, Tuesday December 29, 2009: While B was staying home, working away on the basement, I was at work - feeling like I had demolition hang over. I was exhausted, congested feeling (despite my handy dandy dust mask) and hurting all over, but wishing I was at home helping with the work to be done. But - B trudged on, ripping up where the old tub drain used to be and smashing up concrete to create a new drain, where our new shower stall will be. After which, he filled in the old hole for the tub and a few places where the concrete was soft and smashed up when we were removing the old tile floors. Not surprisingly, that work took up most of his day. After we ate, and before the concrete set completely - B went down and wrote our name in the concrete that will be behind the new wall, separating the bathroom and laundry room.

So, Tuesday was pretty much taken up by filling in holes with concrete. A lot more on our plate - a bunch that B will have to do on his own, but a lot that we'll be able to knock out as a team.

Clearly, by this time we have completed much more but I didn't want to get into an overwhelming post of our progress and thought that for now, sharing our first three days would be helpful. I think my next update will spare you on so much of the detail and maybe just provide a quick update on where we've got to at this point. Let's just say, it's finally starting to look like a room!  


  1. Yowser! You guys are doing an awesome job. Love the impromptu demolition outfit :-)

    That is one scary frog. You'll have to keep him for posterity.

    Looking forward to the next installment!

  2. Wow you guys really got to work! Love the frog! My dad has one on his kitchen sink... no seriously! lol


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