Hi all, I haven’t written much lately because the long-discussed basement bathroom is finally underway. I was waiting for ages to hear back from the plumber on his availability when suddenly he was free to do the work the very next weekend. The starting price was $4,500 for the entire job, but he gave me a $800 discount if I paid in cash and another $400 discount if I did the demo work in advance (and I think $3,300 to completely redo your basement’s plumbing, along with its rusty, 50-year-old steel pipes is a good deal.)** That meant I needed to haul ass and tear the place apart before he got there…and lead to the equally quick discovery that I had practically no experience on how to do that, and certainly none of the right tools for the job. There’s a hell of a lot more involved than just a hammer. Fortunately my general contractor roommate took pity on me, grabbed his crowbars and skillsaw, and quickly laid waste to the place. The utility room has two windows, but one of them is hidden in an alcove behind the wall and that wall needed to come down to open the space up. I don’t even want to think how long it would’ve taken me to do it without him.
My roommate in action, tearing the wall apart with a skillsaw and flat bar.
After removing that wall, I got rid of the utility sink and cheap wall coverings, and we moved the washer and dryer from the basement to another utility room upstairs (that was already plumbed for a washer and dryer since the house had been a two unit rental before). That really opened the space up. We then rented out a jack hammer and broke up the floor in trenches where the new plumbing would go to all the fixtures we were installing, as well as to the old waste stack vent. Which sucked. Thank God I went to the gym so much these last few months or hauling out thousands of pounds of concrete would’ve killed me. I would’ve liked it if it hadn’t been sub-zero and snowing outside too! But hey, I finally got to use a jack hammer to tear shit up, and what 5-year-old boy could ask for more?
The bathroom with the space opened up, and the floor broken apart for plumbing.
Now we just need to wait for the plumber to arrive and do his work and we’ll be underway, followed by a city inspection later this week. While this is the messiest part of the work, it is not the hardest. Because it is a basement bathroom, framing in the ceiling with all of its pipes and wires, as well as framing/insulating/installing vapor barrier along the rear exposed wall will be an absolute nightmare. I will let you know how the work goes as the project progresses! I have also been doing some research for another two stock trading articles and will post those as time allows.
What’s the worst construction project you’ve ever been involved with? Did you learn any lessons you’d like to share? Feel free to comment here and start a discussion.
** A good way to save money, particulary in construction work, is (1) to pay cash if they ask for it, and (2) to do the dumb labor components yourself. I don’t have a clue how to plumb a house, but I can clear a work area, move a shovel, and haul dirt away. There is no reason to pay skilled labor prices for simple work anybody can do, and this can save you thousands of dollars over the course of your life.