We just might be out of our minds. Who adds a bathroom on the second floor of a hundred year old house? Plumbing is hard enough without having to deal with tight floor areas and pipe routing through a finished first floor. We had to start with every TV renovator's favorite... demo day!
This awkward little corner had a Sheetrock closet that was an easy tear out. You can see the outline of it on the floor. Our plan is to build a wall across the closet where you can see the broom over to the wall by the doorknob. Then we will need to punch a doorway through the wall on the left. We will also have to do something with the conveniently placed cast iron plumbing vent running up through our new bathroom. Time to start breaking stuff!
Tearing Out Lath and Plaster
As expected, reality TV has little to do with reality. On our favorite shows, the photogenic hosts break a bunch of stuff in a theatrical manner, and then after the commercial we see a clean and empty house ready for renovating! In reality demolition requires a LOT of hauling stuff out. Seeing how we were doing this ourselves, we didn't have a crew, a garbage chute, and a Dumpster. What we had was a narrow set of stairs and HUNDREDS of POUNDS of plaster. I hauled some of it down two 5 gallon buckets at a time, and then resorted to a garbage can and an appliance dolly.
The easiest way to remove plaster is to tap the wall with a hammer until the plaster shatters and falls off. You can also work a flat bar under the plaster and pry it off in larger pieces. You will want a dust mask as this stuff is really dusty. Make sure to put up plastic or you will cover everything in a sticky, gritty dust. It is easiest to clean all the plaster off and haul it away, then deal with the lath.
After I removed the lath pictured above, I needed to cut the door hole through the other side. I was able to use the existing studs as the two sides of the door and I used a reciprocating saw to cut out the middle stud. Now I needed to cut a hole through the lath and plaster that wouldn't require me to redo the entire wall on the other side. I used a circular saw with an old blade to cut the door opening out. It throws sparks and ridiculous amounts of dust but it provides a clean cut that won't break the plaster loose from the lath.
There is the completed door opening. Behind it you can see the floor opened up and the plumbing began. Next time we will talk about what it took to bring that about.