We are sharing these stories from our first house to show what’s involved with popular home improvement projects, including the messy parts. As general contractors and first-time homeowners, we’re stretching our budget by doing some of the work ourselves. We hope these glimpses behind-the-scenes help other owners to understand the costs of these renovations, whether they’re spending their money and/or energy to complete them.
In our last story, we shared a video of the new plumbing for our basement bathroom and laundry room. Sections of the basement floor need to be removed so licensed plumber Jake Jacoby of Progressive Mechanical could get rid of some of the existing plumbing and add new pipes under the floor. We decided to do this concrete work ourselves to save money on our whole-house renovation.
Keep the volume on for this video clip of Josh cutting the 3 ½ inch thick basement floor to sample how noisy that concrete saw was. Mim filmed while she sprayed water to reduce dust and sparks from the metal reinforcements in the concrete. We had all 6 basement windows open and 3 fans going to circulate the air from the gas-powered concrete saw, but we still had to take frequent breaks for fresh air.
THINGS WE LEARNED
We spent 2, exhausting days cutting the basement floor, breaking it up with a jackhammer, carrying bucketsful of concrete upstairs, and loading the pickup truck bed. After emptying it at Colorado Aggregate Recycling’s landfill, we were thrilled to discover that it’s FREE to dump clean concrete. We also decided that we’re never doing this work again. Whatever we saved by doing it ourselves, we paid for in super-sore muscles the next week. This was hard work, even for a master carpenter like Josh who’s worked in home construction since the mid-1990s. If we add or rearrange a basement bathroom on future projects, we’ll hire out this tough concrete work to Jake or someone else.