How Much Do I Love My Husband? This Much…

Things are progressing on my bathroom demolition/remodel, but they’re progressing much slower than I had hoped.  But a lot of that is because of Matt’s special request.  Let’s just say that if he were to ever doubt my love and devotion to him, all I need to do is show him these pictures to remind him of the lengths I’m willing to go to for him.  😀

When I left y’all on Friday, things were a mess in here, but I was about halfway finished busting out the tile on the walls, and not quite halfway finished wrestling that metal mesh off of the walls.

hallway bathroom - tiled walls demolition 3

So after bagging up all of that debris and removing it from the bathroom, I was ready to start on the other side of the room.

hallway bathroom - tiled walls demolition 6

So I unhooked the faucet, moved the vanity out of the way, and got busy on this side.  Again it was another full day of work to get this side of the room busted out, metal mesh removed, and debris bagged up.

hallway bathroom - tiled walls demolition 7

At this point, I was so ready to be finished with demolishing tile that I would have paid just about any price to be done with it.  In my mind, I was still planning to leave the tile on the floor for now and just cover it with something temporary (i.e., peel and stick groutable tile).  I knew that it really made no sense at this point to leave it, but I was so exhausted that I didn’t care if it made sense or not.

But then Matt came to look at my progress.  The first thing he said was, “Oh, look!  You cleaned the bathroom!  Good job, Sweetie.”  😀

And then after surveying the mess for a couple of minutes, he said, “You’re gonna take that floor out also, right?”  Ugh.  I did not want to hear those words.  It had already felt like I had been hammering away at that tile for a solid month (it had been three days).  My arms felt like Jello, and I getting so excited about nearing the demolition finish line…and he was asking me to remove the floor tile, too.

Quite honestly, I wanted to cry, but I knew he was right.  It needed to be done.  The fact is that Matt hasn’t been able to enter this bathroom ever since we moved here because of this 3/4-inch lip on the tile going from the hallway to into the bathroom.  There’s just no way he can maneuver over that.  Plus, really…what is the point in removing all of the rest of the tile and adding new finishes to the walls, just to leave the old tile on the floor?

hallway bathroom - tiled floor demolition 1

I was very nervous about what I’d find under there, but it had to be done, so I went for it.  I started out just using a hammer and floor chisel.  I realized almost immediately that the floor chisel would be worthless on this floor, so I just went at it with a hammer.

Just getting this small amount busted out (what probably amounted to 1.5 square feet) took about 45 minutes, and was unbelievably difficult.  I mean, it was way more difficult than the walls.  Those tiles were set on a mortar bed that was a solid two inches thick.  And while in my mind, I know that mortar isn’t as solid and hard as concrete, you couldn’t have convinced my arms and hands of that.

hallway bathroom - tiled floor demolition 2

At that point, I was so regretting having started busting out the floor, but I was kind of past the point of no return.  I knew for sure that there was no way that a hammer and floor chisel were going to do the job, though, so I headed to Home Depot to see if they had a tool that could speed this along.

I know that tool rental places have a power tool that can help remove tile much faster, but since I was working on this on a Sunday, and all of the tool rental places are closed on Sunday, that wasn’t an option.  Home Depot sells a tool I could use with my air compressor, but since it was quite expensive, and that’s not really the kind of tool I can see myself using often enough to justify the price, I passed on that option.   So some sort of manual tool was my only option.  A sledgehammer probably could have made quick work of this, but swinging a sledgehammer in such a small space didn’t seem like a good idea to me, especially when I had no idea what condition the subfloor would be in.

So I ended up with this guy…

hallway bathroom - tiled floor demolition 4

I have no idea what this is actually called, or what its intended purpose is.  It’s like a drilling hammer (which is basically a mini sledgehammer), and it weighs 2.5 pounds.  But unlike a drilling hammer, this one has that pointy side in addition to the flat side.  In my mind, the pointy side would be really helpful with breaking up the mortar.  I was wrong.  It wasn’t helpful at all.  The flat side actually worked great.  Had I known that beforehand, I would have opted for a 3- or 3.5-pound drilling hammer instead.  But probably anything over 3.5 pounds would have made my Jello arms completely useless.

But this 2.5-pound psuedo drilling hammer thing (I just looked it up, and it’s actually a blacksmith hammer) definitely made the job much faster than my regular 16 ounce hammer.

hallway bathroom - tiled floor demolition 3

I still have quite a bit more to do, and at this point I’m very uncertain about what I’ll find underneath all of this rubble, wire mesh, and tar paper.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it.  I just keep telling myself that as long as the floor joists are in good shape, everything will be fine.  Even if I have to take this thing all the way down to the floor joists and start with brand new subfloor (which probably wouldn’t be a bad idea anyway since whatever is under there has been carrying all of this weight for 65+ years), I’ve got it under control.

But if the floor joists are bad, that’s a different story.  Just last night I watched the episode of Fixer Upper, which is here in Waco, where they ripped the floor out of the bathroom and found that the floor joists had basically rotted away from years and years of leaks.  So I have floor joists on the brain, and it definitely has me feeling a bit nervous.  But I’m trying to keep my mind from going there until I know for sure what’s under all of this.  There’s no need in worrying about it until I know for sure.  And even then, worrying wont’ help, right?  I keep telling myself that.  🙂

On another note (because I know someone will ask me about this)… 🙂

Let me assure you that I’m not worried about my hardwood floors.  The main reason I chose to use Waterlox on my floors instead of polyurethane is because Waterloxed floors can be very easily repaired.  When all of this debris is cleared away, and my wood floors are swept and cleaned, I’ll no doubt have some scratches and scuffs here and there.  A quick sanding (and I’m talking about using my small rotary sander, not with the big, heavy drum sander I used to refinish the floors) and a fresh new coat of Waterlox will have them looking as good as new again…or as good as 65-year-old oak floors.  🙂

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. A few years ago, my husband and I helped his sister renovate her kitchen. It involved taking out all the interior walls and floors around the kitchen. All the floors outside the kitchen were covered in brick. Not thin brick pavers, but full size bricks. Set in at least 1″ of mortar over metal mesh. All this to say, I really know your pain! But it’s going to feel so good to get that part out of the way! And think of all the upper-body exercise you’re getting in the process!
    Lol, “You cleaned the bathroom!”. Sounds like something my husband would say!

  2. That is true love. I have the done same thing when my hubby makes a suggestion. Probably not with the same amount of grace as you did, but I do it.

    Home improvement shows will give you nightmares, but Fixer Upper is fun and shows that everything is fixable.

    1. Yes, I hear you say money, yadda, yadda… No, you don’t need money. You need help. You need experts. You need supplies. And oddly enough, these are not money. This is a lesson God had taught me and is constantly teaching me. So, do not be surprised by anything.

  3. My arms/wrists/hands are aching for you! Seems like a continuing theme with this house. You get a project started only to find out you have to “take it to the studs” and goodbye “quick” job. I think the bright light is that it will be done and done completely. Prayers up for the floor joists and I love Fixer Upper!

  4. Looking at the solidity of that floor – I don’t think you have any water damage worries. You would be seeing evidence of seepage by now and from the pics there certainly doesn’t appear to be.

  5. you poor thing – all that hammering in so few days would drive anybody’s arms to jello, I guess. I hope you have something nice to retire to every now and then in between? I keep my fingers crossed for not-rotten floor joists!!!

  6. Started my morning by reading your post and I’m exhausted! Oh my, dear Kristi, not only are you exerting your muscles but having to bring out all your mental and emotional energies in this project won’t leave you satisfied until you completely finish it. In the end, I truly feel you will be as proud of this project as you were finishing your lovely kitchen. Hang in there! Think happy, positive thoughts. I’m with you.

  7. Oh, how I feel your pain!! My husband and I decided to put new tile in our 2nd story master bath and discovered the same 4″ bed of mortar underneath the 4×4 white tiles. All 100 sf of it. Just thinking about it gives me the shakes. We were carrying that stuff out in buckets for days! I am not even allowed to use the words “new tile” in his presence ever again.

    People always ask us if tiling is hard…my response is “No, it’s the un-tiling that is torture”. In the end, of course, it is worth it. I can’t wait to see how this room turns out for you!

  8. Mercy! Look what true love can do!! 🙂 My husband, who never asks anything of me as far as the house goes, just asked me last night if I could get a larger table next to his chair. Well, needless to say, I have a lot of furniture re-arranging to do today to get it done, but by the time he comes home tonight, he will have a bigger table next to his chair! So glad he didn’t ask me to “clean the bathroom”! 🙂

  9. You’re a CRAZY WOMAN!
    And I love that about you. Just this past Friday I was reading your blog and had to interrupt my husband to show him what you do. What ALL you do. You’re just amazing. You tackle things I’d never dream of doing. Such an inspiration. I love reading your blog. Thank you.

  10. Kristi, I can’t imagine that anyone who reads your blog continuously would EVER doubt how much you will do to make Matt’s life comfortable. Not only are you a Superwoman in DIY and budgeting, but you are a SuperWife too! And please know how much your readers appreciate your openness in sharing. Rock On, Kristi!!!!

  11. Love Fixer Upper! Chip and Joanna exhibit love and respect plus their work appears to be first class! So fitting for you and Matt! I have to say that I recognized that hammer right away because my son aspires to be a blacksmith hobbyist and we picked one up for him at an antique store. I now know when I should borrow it from him!

  12. We just did the same thing this weekend, stop by my blog and checkout our issues if you’re interested, but the tool we used was a hammer drill with a spade bit. I think we bought it for under $150 a few years back and it’s the best tool for this job… In case you’re considering trying another approach. Good luck, I know how much this sucks!

  13. Oh Kristi I am so sorry you have to go through this. My question would it not be easier to knock out the floor tile around the edges and then use a saws-all to cut out the flooring/sub floor by sections ? I don’t really know if that is an option but sure wopuldmake it easier I would think. I will be looking forward to reading your next post, but only after you rest those sore muscles.

  14. I would think if the floor joists were rotted out, you would know it already considering you had guys under there in what the past year to level the floors? Surely they would have seen and reported if your bathroom was rotted out underneath?

    Those rehab shows are something else. Do they ever encounter a house that isn’t hiding some huge calamity? I’m surprised anyone ever tackles a renovation after watching them. There’s just always something dreadful hiding behind the plaster or under the floor, etc!

    1. I agree. I hate the drama they try to bring into those shows. They have the designer call the homeowner on the phone and say, “Hi So-and-so, we have a problem…” to discuss a newly discovered issue. Or on “Love It Or List It,” they discover a problem and then they show a shot of the homeowners in a heated discussion and the audio has one of the homeowners slamming the designer. Come on! If we wanted to watch drama we’d be on another channel. Just show us the progress and the outcome and save the drama for Mama! 🙂

  15. We watched that episode of Fixer Upper this week too, and that’s exactly what I was thinking as I was reading this! I will pray that your floor joists are OKAY!! My hubby helped his cousin take out a tile floor this past weekend, too bad you didn’t have an air chisel to hook to your compressor. That’s what it took to get his floor out…just think of how great of an arm workout you got, though!! Can’t wait to see what happens next!

  16. I’m sure you are exhausted but I really think this will be just like the painted stripes on the kitchen floor. If you hadn’t gone back in and done the extra work they would have bugged the snot out of you. This is your forever home and it makes sense to do things right. Then you’ll never have to do them again (Unless you want to!)

  17. I know this is probably too late, but I wished someone had told me about this, so I thought I’d share. 🙂

    There’s a tool that looks like a garden hoe with the blade bent almost straight inline with the handle (actually, at a slight angle like a shovel to give you leverage). I believe it’s actually made for removing roofing shingles and is usually down in the roofing and wood section of Home Depot on and end cap. If you can find one that’s sturdy enough (particularly where the handle meets the blade), it can be used for removing tile flooring…actually getting under and popping the tiles up. I’m not sure how well it works on small tiles like that though, but it would definitely get under any wire mesh you may have attached to the subfloor.

    My condo kitchen had a layer of parquet floor, a layer of linoleum “school tiles”, a layer of sheet vinyl, a 1/4-inch piece of sub-floor nailed over that, and then 12×12 tiles attached to that with a thick layer of thinset. Trying to get all those layers up at once was awful and the tiles wouldn’t pop off on their own. We ended-up using a tool like the one I described above (although I think mine was an edger or an ice chipper) to get enough leverage to pop all the nails and screws and glue and tile. It wasn’t easy, but it at least made the job doable.

    1. I think you are talking about a tile scraper.
      That’s a basic one, some are more shovel shaped, some have curved handles for different angles, some have a wider base. Tile scrapers are great for large areas and especially large tile where the tile is on a foundation or plywood/press board, I cleared an 800 sq foot room with a tile scraper for tile that was sitting on foundation. It’s hit and miss with smaller tiles. Unfortunately in small spaces you cant get enough speed or a good enough angle to get them going properly, plus she is pulling up the mortar bed and the scraper wont help much with the mortar bed. I pulled out all sorts of tile in my last house, and I am doing it again in my current house. The basement has 6×6 tile from the 60s, scraper pulls that stuff out like its nothing. But my last house had a shower bed with 2×2 tiles and a badly damaged mortar bed. I had to take it all out and the tile scraper couldn’t help because of the small space, small tiles, and damaged bed. Even in my current house I ripped up the bathroom floor and replaced it, but the scraper was just too big for the bathroom (full bath with tub etc so not tiny)

  18. Whoa! My house is about 120 years old, and so I get it! I’m getting ready to redo my carpeted stairs, and I’m terrified, as there is usually some crazy complication whenever I peel back a layer or two, or three, or more. Hang in there, you’re in the worst part by far, and this too will end!

  19. Kristi,you are my hero, I live vicariously through you, I have always wanted to buy a home and fix it up, but today at 67 and a very bad back , I have had to give up that dream a long time ago, But I love seeing , and reading your blog, it make me feel good to see your progress, and your unending love for what you are doing (maybe not at the time ) but you continue to make your house a home for you and Matt, it will be beautiful when you are finally done, some day you can relax, but I have a feeling you will still be looking for things to do,

  20. oh my gosh you must be sick of it! your poor arms! while you are at it can sure suck, huh?! but cant wait to see the new room!

  21. Oh my gosh…what energy you must have girl! I hope the floor joist are in amazing shape for the age of your home.
    You will be glad you did it tho and how nice that Matt will be able to use it when your done.

  22. Wow! What a lot of work this has been! Looking forward to hearing what you found underneath the floor and how the walls are turning out! Honestly, you do such beautiful work, I’m not sure if you would have been satisfied with the peel and stick placed over the tile. Your poor arms! I hope you are resting them a bit, but I imagine that you are back in there today, working away! Enjoy your progress! Hugs, Leena

  23. That is definitely true love! Hats off to you both.
    I hope you find good floor joists under there but I do doubt it.
    Have you ever read that kids book “If you give a Pig a Pancake”?
    Home renos are like that book. 😛

  24. Hey Kristi
    I am not sure if this is the tool you were talking about that could be used with an air compressor. But I have removed tile in conditions even more extreme (shower that dropped below the floor about 2 feet and tile directly on the mortar bed and cement sides). You literally couldn’t even hammer the tile off that was on the concrete because it would just turn to powder instead of coming loose. So I went and got this


    After getting this it was like slicing through butter with a knife. Tore up the mortar bed like it was nothing and took the tiles right off the concrete with just the tiniest bit of pressure. The price on these air hammers varies greatly and this is one of those tools where its so simple that there is no point in paying a ton of money for it (like a screwdriver). I bought that $20 one above and it worked perfect, came with all the attachments and was the best $20 I spent to work on that bathroom. I had literally spent days chiseling bit by bit with anything I could find, the air hammer just tore it all up in less than an hour. Its worth it to finish up your job, it will save you a ton of time just finishing that floor. With the air hammer you could probably have that floor done in 10 mins and at $20, who cares if you never use it again (though you probably will)

    1. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Medium-Stroke-Air-Hammer-H4630/203463688

      Here is one from home depot if you dont like Lowes. This one is a little more expensive, they have cheaper ones but I picked with one because you can see that the majority of the reviews are people removing tile, thinset and mortar beds with these. This would even have worked wonders on the tile wall with mortar beds as well. So if you decide to tear up the master bathroom as well to avoid costs with the expansion, this tool will cut your 3 day job into a half day job at best, and of course save your arms quite a bit of trouble.

  25. Well I have a few things to say….first wasn’t there a scary movie a few years back titled “What Lies Beneath”? This was to make you laugh, but in case you have not seen it, nothing to do with a bathroom floor….just a husband who killed a woman and dropped her in the lake at his house. The new wife gets suspicious, and discovers it….so now you don’t have to watch it, LOL but as long as you don’t have a lake, you are in good shape. Second, it totally blows my mind that you know how much your hammer weighs! I am sure your arms feel like jello, but you will persevere and the bathroom will be great and Matt will be able to use it. We are in the middle of a Noreaster up here. Got snow last night, is snowing again, and the big snow is coming tonight. I could have predicted this since today is my birthday and I had big plans for a nice dinner out. By this evening no one will even be opened. Oh well, we are headed to FL next week, and I will make up for it I am sure. I can’t believe you got all that crap out of the bathroom, Where do you go with it? We are very limited regarding dumping in these parts, too many people, not enough land. Stay sane and I look forward to hearing more about your progress. Blessings

  26. Your hard work coupled with the love you have for your husband clearly dictates the drive you have with this bathroom remodel! It’s going to look AMAZING plus you’ll have killer biceps 😉

  27. Flashback: Superbowl 1994 – We’ve been in our new home (130 yo new home) about 4 months now and I am SURE there must be a fireplace boarded over behind THAT wall of plaster. there aren’t anywhere else in the house.
    So, while my DH is watching the game, I began slowly removing the drywall and plaster. Darn, no fireplace. but, several months later all the walls on the main floor are stripped to the studs. These things have a life of their own.
    Just remember, some days these WILL be fond memories. Good job, keep it up.
    One more thing, I am definitely a left brainer and the concept that I can take a break from my left brain-ness was like a light bulb going off. Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. We have never done a home improvement project in our 70’s era home that didn’t involved something unforeseen to deal with. Usually its something small but a couple of times we’ve gotten into something big and it is nothing but annoying. Good luck with your floor joists and I’m sure your bathroom remodel will be awesome!

  29. What if…You added a closet on the opposite side of the doorway and made a short ramp (both in length and in height) between the two closets and into the bathroom. Then raise the bathroom floor just enough to make a roll in shower possible? You may have to do some plumbing adjustments and such but that might save you on the lowering floor costs.

    Or if the joists are bad, then think of it as a omen to go ahead with the lowering.

    Whatever you choose to do you will make it the best home you and yours. Somehow things always seem to work out just right and you do a beautiful job. Thanks for letting us all follow along.

    Good Luck with the bathroom!

    1. I think those sound like great ideas, Ashley!! Kristi, I hope you all can find the money to just do this bathroom renovation right now and be done with it! Wouldn’t that be great?!! After all this work, I’d hate to have to redo it in a couple of years! I know this is a lot of work, but, what an inspiration you are!!!

      We’ve been working on our “new” house for the past year. In JULY, we were supposed to have gorgeous chandeliers hung in both bathrooms AND new over-the-vanity chandelier-ish lights hung in both bathrooms as well. They were finally hung in DECEMBER. From JULY to DECEMBER the chandeliers and vanity lights lived in the middle of my living room floor. (among other things…too painful to mention…) 😉 All of that waiting, though, somehow has made me SO GRATEFUL every time I walk in our bathrooms, flip on the lights, and see gorgeous chandeliers twinkling at me!! Hope you get to enjoy your beautiful bathroom soon!!

      P.S. DId you ever pick a fabric for your living room? 🙂

  30. I’ve just recently finished the exact same bathroom demo: same tile floor, tile walls, metal mesh, mortar beds and all. My heart goes out to you. Even hauling it out is misery–heavy, massively dusty, sharp metal edges. [Mine was upstairs.] Any other job will feel easy by comparison! Hang in there…

  31. I’m so sorry your arms are aching and weak but Matt’s right, you’ve come this far, no sense in stopping now. When it’s done you’ll both be glad that you went all the way. Just think of all the possible flooring options you get to consider now!

  32. OMGOSHES GIRL!!!!! You are going at superpower !!!
    You must have arms of steel!
    This demo is looking fabulous……hang in there doll……
    I a, owner impressed and sending you all the strength I have!!!!!

  33. Kristi,
    You need minions (a herd of them actually) to help with demo projects like this! Holy toot woman that’s a lot of work.Keeping my fingers crossed for you that the joists and subfloor are in good shape. Dealing with that myself at the moment as we renovate my dad’s place to sell.

  34. I am very excited to see your progress on this remodel… I think your bathroom may be exactly like my full bath!! I have the same tub, the same exact layout, including window placement and all. my bathroom is extremely small, smaller than your looks, but that could be because your photos are taken with a wide angle to get the room in the shot? The only thing I can’t tell is… does your bathroom have a linen closet right next to the tub? My house was built in 1953, so it is just a few year younger than yours, and I am getting ready to tackle my full bath also. I did the half bath my self (very tiny 3′ x 6′!!!) and I did the beadboard over the wall tile (but I DO love beadboard, and it looks great!) so I was thinking of doing the same on these walls, but will probably re-tile the tub surround walls. What condition is your bathtub in? Are you keeping it, I assume, since you didn’t tear it out (yet?) Ours has obviously been re-coated once or twice, and I am trying to figure out solution for keeping the tub, maybe sanding(??) and re-coating? I know that tub would be a beast to remove, and from what I have read the original cast iron tubs are preferable, due to heat retention of bath water, etc… your thoughts?

  35. From having gone through my husband’s incapacitating illness, I know Matthew wishes you could be doing this project together. I’m sure that hurts your heart too. You are both amazing.

  36. I’ll say a prayer for your arms, lol. Wow, Kristi, you have more gumption than the average bear. I hope with you that those joists will be A-ok, and I am sure that all this hard work will be worth it the day Matt can roll right into that shower! You go, girl.

  37. OMG, Kristi, 🙂 you should leave it and have some rest on Sunday, and continue when you can hire a proper tool. In the long run it would save you a lot of time.

  38. Kristi – You are truly amazing!. God has given you many talents and you are very blessed. All I can offer are my prayers for you and Matt. Every morning when I run to the computer to see if there is a new post, I pray that things are going to be easier for you and Matt. Just know that many people are “pulling for you.” Keep up the fantastic work in turning your home into a real gem.

  39. You are one amazing woman, and such a hard worker, I think if anyone had one negative thing to say about you, I would like to see them work like you do first, as Jesus sad let the one without sin throw first. GOD bless you and your love for your husband, you are awesome.

  40. THAT is true love, Kristi!
    And your enthusiasm and optimism are indisputable! And inspirational!
    My parents had a tile floor like that and they tiled over it. Can I just tell you that I HATE it? I wish they had taken the time to do what you are doing…and I hate to say this but I think they will end up regretting it later.
    Good luck! Here’s to NO SURPRISES under that tile!

  41. You are an amazing force of nature, Kristi! I really think you need your own DIY/Reno show!

    Someone upthread mentioned that you need minions to help you. Wouldn’t it be fun if some of your readers could team up to help out? Even if it’s just bagging and hauling debris. Or maybe you’re a person who prefers to work alone because having people around to supervise can be more distracting that helpful? I’m also thinking crowdsourcing some funding to help hire some laborers for help might be the way to go. I’d donate to that fund!

  42. A floor like that is what has kept me from redoing my one and only bathroom. I had to remove the tile around the bathtub/shower several years back because of a water leak behind the wall (no access panel anywhere) and it was the same same mortar and wire mesh mess you are dealing with. I’m afraid I’ll be living with that floor forever. You’re much braver than I. I’m so looking forward to seeing the end result!

  43. Kristi…you have given so much inspiration to all of us! After reading today’s post, I find myself longing to be able to show up on your door step to announce, “Hey girlfriend, we can do this!” Yes, you can and will complete the task, but the concept of more hands make the job lighter runs through my veins. When I look at your pictures, I can smell what it smelled like when my bathroom looked like that. And, I can certainly remember my emotions! Bless you! Hoping you get a day or two of “it went faster” than I expected:) You truly are amazing!

  44. What an undertaking! I’m sure my arms would of fallen off after the first wall of tile. As always, you amaze me! You mentioned one of my favorite shows, Fixer Upper. I did see that episode. I hope you’re not dealing with that hot mess. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

  45. I know it was more that you wanted to tackle, but he really was right…it all needed to go. You made awesome progress getting the demo done so fast.