Basement Bath, Demolition and Prep Work Before Rough-In

Wallboard, paneling, acoustic tiles and linoleum flooring all had to go before the basement bath project could begin.  Looking at the room for the first time with an eye towards remodeling was more than a little overwhelming. Years of just being a corner that was not used in the basement led to this area becoming a receptacle for everything imaginable. My seldom used tools,  a card table that had long since lost function,  a set of unassembled bunk beds were just the large items I could see were items that would have to go.  Once removing these items I found an antique marble topped set of drawers.  We spent the better part of a day just moving crap, much of it would find its way to the garbage.

With the room cleaned out, demolition could begin.  Paneling would come off easily, and the acoustical ceiling tiles should come down quickly. As with all things construction, nothing ever goes without a hitch. The paneling came off as expected. But the ceiling tiles were screwed, nailed and glued to the firring strips that held them.  What a mess it was.  Then came the fun of removing screws, some with stripped heads, others snapped off in place. Time for the Bosch Oscillating Multi-Tool and Milwaukee’s Sawzall to come out and play. Several hours later, the screws, glue and nails were gone and finally we had a clean palette to work with.  And then I looked down at the floor and saw the linoleum, 45 years of time for that Mastic to grab hold onto the concrete slab. 45 years was before the EPA said you couldn’t use certain chemicals despite the fact that they held like stink on a skunk.

So I began with a scraper, mechanical and effective on newer adhesives, but not so good on mastic from the “good ole days”. Then I opted for the oscillating tool, it worked, but it was cleaning inches and I had 80 square feet.  Finally I remembered my Hilti TE_905 had a scraper blade that I had not even used yet.  I grabbed it and had an epiphany like no other. That bad boy had the old mastic screaming uncle.  Like the old World War II saying, smoke em if ya got em, applied here. If you have a large area of old mastic to clear from concrete, run, don’t walk to rent a Hilti TE-905 with a scraper blade.  The tool turned a full days worth of removing the old fashioned way into a 10 minute exercise in using a bulldozer for a spoonful of work.

Finally I had a room ready for roughing in.  Thankfully, I have the tools for demolition. But most of you have a Sawzall and the little oscillating tools are a nice tool to have on hand.  The Sawzall handles all of the cutting chores and the multi-tool cleaned up nails, screws and other sundry items left behind after removing the paneling and ceiling tiles.  The Hilti TE-905 has been a lifesaver.  Not intended for homeowners, but for my contractor audience, this is a tool that will pay for itself many times over.  I have used it for cutting through concrete walls, light concrete demolition, ground rod insertion, digging and as mentioned here, it’s a beast when it comes to scraping or removing tile. Hilti has recently upgraded its 905 to the TE-1000,

Next comes prep work…

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