Master Bathroom Demo!

Last Friday was the start of our master bathroom remodel project … and what a difference one day makes!  Two carpenters showed up at about 8:30 in the morning and worked until about 3:00pm and got most everything (including the tile) removed.  Here are some before & after pictures:


Our best guess is that the bathroom had been remodeled a couple of times before, with the most recent version probably happening in the late 80’s or early 90’s, judging by the tile, vanity, etc.  Based on the plumbing work, we’re also guessing that there was some work completed in the 1950’s when the previous owner told us a lot of the plumbing and electrical had been replaced.

One of the things we were surprised by when the demo was over was that the original tile floor matches (almost exactly!) the floor we chose to be installed with this remodel:  1″ white hex tile with gray grout.  One difference, though, is that the existing tile floor appears to be set in a bed of concrete between 3 and 4″ thick.  This seemed to surprise everyone – the contractors mentioned they’d seen tile installed in an inch or so of concrete before, but no one had ever seen anything quite like this – especially on a second floor bathroom.  Although we’d love to be able to re-use the existing floor, it’s really not in that great of shape, so we’re continuing with our plan to install the new floor over the top of this one.

Original Tile Floor

Original Tile Floor

New Floor Tile

New Floor Tile

The other thing that came as a surprise was what we found (or rather didn’t find) under the bathtub.  We had assumed that the bathroom had (at one time) had a big old cast iron claw foot tub, but when the existing fiberglass tub was removed, we found that there was no floor under it – the original concrete and tile stopped short.  The framing under the tub was a little unusual, but didn’t appear to necessarily be the result of multiple generations of plumbing work – a lot of it seemed to be original.  Best we can figure, there was some kind of sunken tub at the time the house was built, although we have no idea what that would have looked like.

We were also a little shocked to see how much plumbing was in the walls behind the shower or the floor under the tub.  We found supply lines coming up from the basement, cutting through the concrete floor to the sink on the other side of the room, and continuing up to the powder room on the 3rd floor.  We also found what we assume is a vent pipe and some old plumbing that we assume is part of the old radiator system, but that don’t seem to be in use any longer.

Plumbing Behind Shower Walls

Plumbing Under Tub

In the old tile, just a few inches from the bathtub, we also found an old clean-out (now covered in wood) that’s embedded in the floor.  Our best guess is that the drain for the tub snakes through this trap to the wall on the opposite side of the bathroom where it meets up with the drain from the waste from the sink and toilet.  It’s just so amazing to us how different this arrangement is than what you’d find in a newer home.

A lot of the plumbing that was uncovered when the tub and shower was removed appears to be galvanized, so we’re planning to replace as much as we can with copper as part of this remodel – hopefully including the run to the 3rd floor powder room and also the run up from the basement.  The plumber comes tomorrow to start working on that task – we’re hoping he won’t run in to too many challenges along the way.

So, the goal for tomorrow, then, is to get the plumbing and framing around the tub cleaned up so that the new one can be installed. In the meantime, our bedroom has been the staging area for all of the new bathroom stuff that we’re anxiously awaiting to see in place in the updated bathroom.

Staging Area

With any luck, the tub should be set by the end of the day tomorrow!

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