And we’d do it again in a heartbeat.
We’re still working our way through a lot of the finishing touches on the kitchen, but now that our sink and countertops are in, a lot of what remains is on me.
That means Mr PoP has been getting antsy to get started on the next big phase, which is extending the new tile that he laid in half the house (basically the kitchen and living room) through to the bedrooms.
We’ve already purchased the tile itself (way back in summer 2015!), but before it can be laid, the old tile has to come out.
What Does That Entail?
For the first big batch of tile we laid, Mr PoP and I rented big tools to attack the job. In one epic weekend where we rented two different jackhammers (pictured above), we managed managed to remove about 550sqft of tile*. But it left us like this…
It also left our floor uneven and not ready for laying tile.
So after a few weekends of waiting for us to recover and make a game plan, we rented a machine kindof like a floor buffer and diamond blades to go on it to knock down the thinset that was still stuck to our concrete subfloor.
On the advice of the tool rental guy, we used water with the grinding blade, resulting in an insanely messy and similarly backbreaking day, albeit one that ended with a concrete subfloor mostly ready for showtime. See my shoes for example of how much mess this created —>
So not only was this ridiculously difficult and messy, but it wasn’t cheap!
Altogether this cost:
$188 – jackhammers and tile removal blades for 24 hours
$169 – waste disposal of the tile in a big green bag
$130 – grinder with diamond blade to knock down excess thinset for 24 hours
$487 – in tool rental and disposal fees to get rid of the first batch of old tile.
Staring down the barrel of removing another very difficult 450 square feet of tile, spread across three bedrooms, we knew that it wasn’t going to be super cheap or super easy to do the work ourselves. We could soften the physical blow by spreading it across more weekends and possibly months (something Mr PoP was advocating), but that would potentially double the cost, and I wasn’t a giant fan of that idea.
Luckily Mr PoP had a flash of brilliance when he remembered seeing a truck that advertised flooring removal services on his way to work one morning. Now having hard numbers on how much this would cost in time and effort, we agreed it was definitely worthwhile to get a quote.
My jaw dropped when he told me. $1.50/square foot. Or, as our neighbor who also removed their own tile shortly after we did said, “That’s cheaper than the deductible I had to pay at the ER when we took out our tile!”
For the 450 sqft we had remaining to tear up, it would be $675. And it’d be done in a day. With no physical pain on our part**.
Yes, this is $188 more than we would spend if we managed to do it all in one rental batch, but I know Mr PoP well enough by now that no matter how much I asked, the probability of us doing it all over two 24-hour periods wasn’t going to happen. While I try and help with the heavy lifting, I think we both know it’s more of a 40/60 or 30/70 split when it comes to the LITERAL heavy lifting in our relationship.
So these guys actually ended up being cheaper than us doing it ourselves since I’ve accepted we wouldn’t have done it across two 24 hour periods. And we now have 4 more weekends to get a head start on the tile since we’ve got guests coming to stay with us the first week in May, and we’d love for them to have new floors when that happens! =)
In the end, three guys came to our house with two jackhammers and a grinder with a diamond blade. (Note, much like the same tools that we used ourselves, so we were weren’t erring too much in our tool selection the first time!) But their strength and skill was far superior to our own.
In 2.5 hours they broke up the tile, removed it, knocked down the thinset, and managed to do it all with a minimal amount of dust and virtually no mess in the rest of the house. Mr PoP couldn’t have been happier to hang out while they worked and to write that check, and I couldn’t have been happier to be at work and not even have to listen to the jackhammering!
I’m not opposed to hard work, and will lift a shovel and man a jackhammer if that’s what the job takes. But when someone offers to come in and do it for less than it would cost us to rent the tools? Well… we’re not stupid!
And that’s how we bought ourselves 4 weekends. Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll find plenty of productive ways to fill the time. =)
* The first 100 sqft of this removal was insanely easy, because it was laid over sheet vinyl. The remaining 450 sqft was absolutely backbreaking.
** Well, we still did have to move all the furniture (and the 4000 lbs of tile that was being stored under the guest bed) out of the rooms in advance of their arrival, so there was definitely some muscle soreness after that day.