'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

05 November 2013

MB Remodel Part V

I've been putting it off because it's such a chore but it was finally time to cut some concrete. But whilst I was procrastinating we did manage to finish off the South wall. We took out the old windows and the door, framed and covered them and changed out that 2x3 single pane in the Laundry Room for a 2x2 thermopane. We also got Angus' new doggy door installed.

Here's an outside view. This will all eventually be stucco.

But this was just ignoring the bad stuff, hoping the plumbing Gnomes would arrive but they never did. It became obvious. I couldn't put it off any longer.

Warning!! If you're cutting a concrete slab take the time to make absolutely certain that you're not going to cut into or through existing plumbing or even electrical runs. I cannot stress how important this step is. If you cut something important you will end up with a much larger issue to address and repair. You may be risking life and/or limb and certainly property damage. There are no shortcuts (no pun intended) allowed on this. If you're not sure, absolutely positively 100 percent sure, consult with an expert or even consider hiring the job out. I am so not kidding here. 

Cutting concrete is pretty straightforward. Mark out the floor, get the proper saw and blade and start slinging dust and sharp chips. I decided to see how thick the slab was by using a circular saw with a concrete blade. It actually works very well if a little dusty. The problem was that the slab is thicker than the blade could reach. I cut out this square in hopes but no joy. Something larger was needed.

Enter something larger. I got it from the local rental place and I was actually quite disappointed with it. Maybe I just got a bad one but the engine kept bogging down. The circular saw as actually faster. Still, with the hose hooked up and supplying water it was a lot less dusty. Though way messier.

This is a very messy job. If it's not dust it's concrete mud. Just persevere and try to dam and mop as you go. I kept Lu running.

Once the cuts are done it's simply a matter of removing the material. I wish I had some brilliant tip to pass along here but I don't. It's hammers, pry bars, shovels and lots of back breaking effort.

Oh and Jackhammers. Did I forget to mention the jackhammers? If you're cutting and removing concrete from a slab it's most likely at least 4 inches thick. It's tough, heavy and a stone cold bastard to get out. I swing a mean sledge but this is beyond that. Luckily this one was a loaner so I didn't have to rent it.

Be careful here because you can damage the part of the slab you want to leave. In our case that was inevitable. You can see a small broken piece center pic. The problem here is there's no rebar in the concrete. Yep, not an inch. That was a large reason for the cutting as opposed to simply jackhammering it all out. If I was Mike Holmes I'd probably tear the entire slab out and start from scratch. Since I'm not I've decided to live with it. I may get the occasional displaced crack but at this point tearing up a floor to repair it is preferable. Chances are I won't have a problem. This floor has been here better than 60 years after all. At present I've got cracks but no displacement. Good enough.

Use the jackhammer to make holes and cracks in the cut portion of the slab. Then it's hammer hammer hammer and pry pry pry until you get it all out.

Once the big stuff is out it's time to shovel out the gravel and dig down into the underlying dirt to create space for the plumbing. I need 1/4 inch drop per foot of run so we dug it down 12 inches from the top of the slab. Save the gravel and dirt. We'll use it for backfill later and pour new concrete on top of it.

Finally it was done. The sink and vanity will go in on the right, the toilet center and the shower drain to the left. Then the plumbing will run under the subfloor upper left to the main drain and the street sewer system. Tomorrow I get to cut out a large section of the subfloor so we can get at the existing plumbing.

It looks like a lot of work and honestly it really is. But it's just labor and not excessively complex. Make sure of your runs and mark the floor accordingly. Then it's just a matter of cutting and hammering out what you need gone. It's dirty and messy and a pain in the posterior but not excessively hard though I'd really have preferred not to do this. But if we want a second bathroom this was absolutely required. And we really, really need that second bathroom. I guess we're motivated.

Next up, removing the subfloor and then plumbing. Stay tuned because that should be fun.



Old NFO said...

Advil or Aleve.... Just sayin... :-) Thanks for the pics and the cautions, they are ALL true...

Monkeywrangler said...

My luck? I'd cut that stuff, dig it out, and discover I had disturbed a big ol' fire ant nest! That would be a real mess...

Six said...

I'm sitting in my lazy-boy basking in the warmth of a good dose of Advil NFO. Man, I'm getting old.

Luckily that's one problem we don't have yet MW. Not to jinx us or anything!

Monkeywrangler said...

I could send you some, Six, if you want them! HA!

Six said...

Thanks MW :) Lu says I'm pestiferous enough!