After giving the project much consideration, I devised a plan that really consisted of five different parts. The first part quite obviously was to actually start the wrecking process and remove the bath. I sat and looked at it for a long time knowing that the first blow of the hammer would commit to completing the project. There was still time to back out and leave things as they were and just add a couple of grab bars for safety and maybe add glass doors.
I thought back over the summer and all that had happened so far with replacing both toilets and the kitchen sink, working on the septic system after it backed up and losing my little dog, Abigail. Even though the work on the septic system had been both hard and difficult (and heartbreaking), I had enjoyed the challenge and the completed deck does look very nice.
Removing the tub.
I took a deep breath and carefully swung my hammer and broke out the first tile and the project was on. I removed the first row of tiles above the bath so that I could get the bath ledge clear. As the house is 30 years old, back when it was built, the method used to set the tiles was to metal lath and plaster the walls and use thin set grout to attach the tiles to the wall. Not only did I have to remove the tiles, I had to remove an inch thick layer of wire lath and plaster. I used one of my older power saws fitted with a carborundum blade to make a clean cut at the bottom edge of the remaining wall tile so I had a complete separation between what I was removing and the tile that was to remain.
I went to work in removing the bath bit by bit. As the salesman had pointed out, it was bloody heavy and I had to devise ways for me, on my own to get the job done. I knew that the drain would be an impediment and had to carefully work on removing it. Nothing I tried would unscrew it and I ended up using a screwdriver acting as a cold chisel with well delivered blows from my hammer to break it loose. The tile floor that I had installed a few years ago also gave me a problem and I had to devise a way of lifting the front edge of the bath up and over those tiles.
It was slow going and I was able to work the tub out bit by bit moving it an inch on one side and then an inch on the other and on and on. Luckily , I have many tools one of which is a long crowbar with a welded on fulcrum that was invaluable in working out the tub. The framing is built to fit the size of the tub and with the other stuff like floor tiles and wall plaster, it was not an easy job. In fact, it took the best part of half a day to just get it out onto the bathroom floor. It took me another 60 minutes to raise the tub sufficiently to get a movers dolly under it so that I could push it out of the bathroom, across the bedroom and out the sliding doors. The method used to raise it was actually pretty simple. I knew that I could not lift any part of it as I guessed it to weigh well over 100 pounds so again, patience was the answer. With my trusty bar and several blocks of 2 x 4 , I worked on each end prising it up and slipping a block under until I had it high enough. I had to work on alternate ends to keep it balanced. After I had slipped the dolly underneath, I reversed the process and lowered the tub back onto the dolly.
It was pretty simple to push the tub and dolly out of the bathroom and across the bedroom to the sliding doors but there I ran into a different problem. The sliding doors have a metal track on the bottom which stands about one inch high. I knew that the hard rubber wheels of the dolly would not mount the tracks so I built a ramp that would get me up and over the them. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and the tub slid off the dolly and wedged in between the sliding door frame.
There was nothing else for it but to manually work the tub through the doors, out onto the deck and repeat the process of getting the dolly back under it. Using a great deal of care so as not to damage the tile floor or the sliding glass doors and frame, I carefully worked the tub along and out and through the doors onto the deck. There, I repeated the process of raising each end up a block of wood at a time until I had it sitting back on the dolly ready to be moved off the deck. To date, three weeks after starting the project, the tub still sits on the dolly in the middle of the deck. I have not yet decided just what I plan on doing with it. I have several choices not the least of which is to set it up to start pond plants or to install it by one of the ponds and use it as a small bog. I could just break it up and sell it for scrap. Decisions, decisions.
The whole process took all day from the first swing of the hammer to getting the tub outside. I walked back inside and took a look at the hole left by removing the tub and thought to myself, “Well, we are really and truly committed to remodeling the tub to shower now”.