Thursday 3 April 2014

Project Owner build - Demolition day

Our house is a pretty classic 1950's house from Perth, if you can picture a box with a front door and hallway with the rooms running off it that's pretty much it.

Back in the days before air conditioning most old homes had the addition of a sleepout tacked onto the back end of the house, this was usually a makeshift enclosed veranda with louver style windows to open out and let in the evening breeze**. The whole idea was that the family could sleep out there in the stinking hot summer and not cook to death inside. You can read all about our sleep out here if you would like to take a look.

*** Just a bit of useless trivia for those not from Perth we call the evening breeze that rolls in The Fremantle doctor

Thanks to this UGLY addition on the back end of our house, its actually made the demolition process somewhat simpler. To get the back of our house ready for the build, we just have to take of this back end which means we can continue to live in the house while we are working on the new part. This is a good thing (if I can deal with the dust) as it will save us a LOT of money in renting somewhere else to live in the meantime.

Now onto the business end of things - Mr DD and some friends did most of the demolition work as part of our cost cutting, to get a team in to do this would have cost us thousands which we didn't want to shell out.

To demolish the back of the house this is what we - and I really mean Mr DD did.

1. Gyprock up the french doors to a single door opining. This was important for me especially as I hate the dust involved in building (ironic I know) and I also wanted to ensure the disruption to the rest of the house was minimized and the house still felt secure. It was sad to see these lovely glass doors go but we plan on salvaging them to use later on down the track.

To gyprock up this wall we used much the same process as we have here although we haven't finished it off with plaster and paint yet as this is more of a temporary measure for the time being.

2. Pull back and disconnect the services. As I have mentioned before our creepy laundry was also in this part of the house so water and power had to be pulled back. Mr DD is a qualified electrician so can do this if you are going to undertake a job like this and are not qualified GET SOMEONE WHO IS TO DO IT (sorry to shout but it only takes one mistake to put your life in danger so its worth shouting about) not to mention it is also illegal to perform electrical work without a licence.

3. Taking down all the loose auxiliary fixtures and fittings. This means removing the window louvers, shoddy tacked on tin veranda guttering and down pipes.

4. Asbestos removal- Unfortunately we had asbestos cladding on the walls and laundry ceiling that needed to be removed. We made use of a licensed asbestos removal company for this part and I took the two little ones out for the day. I was nervous about this part for obvious reasons having young children so I am happy to know that it is all safely gone.

5. Change the flat bobcat tyre (its not a home DIY job until something goes wrong)

6. Take out the roof ceiling and walls. There has been a fair bit of sledge hammer swinging here as although the sleep out section was just a wood clad frame the laundry and outdoor toilet are double concrete brick.

7. Remove the concrete slab from the sleep out and laundry. There is obviously a reason the house survived an earthquake here back in the 60s the original owners built this house on a serious heavy duty slab. While we were able to remove the slab to the sleep out ourselves as it was poured separately to the house, the laundry slab was attached to the main part of the house so called in a contractor to cut the concrete for us

Here we are the night before the last of the slab is cut cut away... I am not really sure how to explain this pose other than it seemed like the right thing to do at the time...

There we have it folks, one sleep out and lawn gone forever..

Although it doesn't look like much, this was a good week worth of work to get to this stage. While removing an old tree stump and the old unused soak well, the hubs uncovered two huge old concrete leach drains which had to be dug out. Fortunately we were not using contractors to get this removed if we had it would have been a big budget blow out. As it was we needed an additional 30 square meters of dirt to fill in the big old hole they left.

So far removed for the glamorous life you see on the block sorry to say but much more exciting for us.

If you could pick a part of your home to demolish would you? Or if you have any tips for dealing with the mess and dust? (eeek!)

Next up I will be writing about minimizing stress while building.

Dani xo


  1. Wow you guys (I mean Mr DD lol) are doing a great job with the demo and to do it all yourself is the way to go, save as much money as you can. Now you have a big block and blank canvass to work with I can see heaps excited about it you can barely stand up! :)
    If I can offer any tips on dust it would be to buy a roll of plastic that has tape on one side (Bunnings has them) and put the plastic up over all the doorways that you dont need to use ie: we taped up our hallway door and left it on until the bathroom and kitchen renos were done as we created heaps of dust removing bricks and tiles etc and it definately stopped the dust floating through the whole house. Also keep windows/doors shut and air con off as the breeze will blow all the dust in. Just think, you can have a break from the house work for a while because you can blame it on the renos :)

    1. Haha Michelle yes the Mr is a workhorse these days he's doing a great job and I am getting really good at toasted sandwiches and tea for the workers to keep them all happy hehe. We did end up with the black plastic and duct tape but only as an afterthought (wish I had your wise advice a few weeks earlier!!) after we realised how much dirt and dust was getting into the house eeek. Definitely gotten a little lax on the floor upkeep at the moment its just a pointless case trying to keep it nice right now.

  2. Hahahah!! I love your pose Dani! You don't need to explain... I completely understand the need to pose in such a way too especially after you did so much hard work, I mean Mr DD ;) You know what, I feel like such a dummy because I never really thought too much about why a sleepout is called a sleepout... I know of so many old houses where the kids would sleep out there - but doh. Your blank slate garden looks so exciting! I am stoked for you. And I had an OMG! Twins! moment at the end of your post because I was also thinking lately, "I should write a post on minimising stress and stop yelling at your partner while renovating so you don't kill each other". One of those posts I feel I need to write for myself so I can learn! :D I will look forward to reading your advice and seeing what happens next to your backyard - so exciting!

    1. And your haunted laundry is gone! :D

    2. I read your comment to the hubs and he said, no the laundry will always be there so will Barbara (the ghost) haha but it will be our ensuite in the future so she can haunt my toothbrush.
      I am known as a encyclopedia of random useless facts, so one day if you ever end up on who wants to be a millionaire and they ask you the origin of the sleep out you will be able to thank me for that one haha.
      I totally hear you on the need to write it for yourself to learn, exactly why I started writing about it myself. I'm 100% sure couples who can renovate, live in dust and filth see money flying out the door, agree on everything and no free time together but still remain all lovey dovey together are just plain creepy weird.


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