Renovation vs Hell….Hmmm, Tough choice Chap. #1

Chapter one. Demo Day 

As both a home owner and a blogger on this site, I hold the unique position of being able to write about the benefits of particular designs and styles over another; while at the same time mull over its cost to install and the durability of the selection (how long the installed item will last till it needs to be repaired or replaced).

What we as young homeowners were never told tho, was to consider the hassle of having the work done in the first place. Now don’t get me wrong, It’s not like I expect to have the work done without, …….well, having the work done. I appreciate that the install in some cases will also include the demo of the existing work in place. But you see, these are just words to some of us, “demo” “remodel” and the classic Trini renovator phrase “Change up”.

The fact is, a major part of the renovation includes the effective removal, or “demo” of the existing work. This can be a simple cabinet that’s bolted to a wall in a bedoom that’s been there since your grandmother moved in, or it can be a lot more. Case in point….

I’ve been working on my own home renovation for sometime now and have finally gotten to the two bathrooms of my modest home. Both shared baths, (No en suite at my place) the decision had to be made to do them both at the same time and loose use of the rooms altogether for a few days, or go one by one and juggle the schedule of the workmen till it’s completed. well, after waiting this long to get to the bathrooms, I decided to go all out and have them both competed together.

Drama #1

Getting the material was a somewhat relaxing experience, partly because Real Spaces takes me into a lot of home stores across T&T, but also partly because I’m not really fussy, and selecting the tile to replace the old one in my 35 year old baths, was as easy as pointing to the one that looks reasonably priced and of a comfortable quality and design. Can I also add that the two baths are going to be tiled in the same pattern and trim, just because I really don’t want to be fussy.

Wall tile to be used, 6 cases of 10x 13.


Thinking that the tricky part was over, I consulted with the tileman and a date was set for the “demo” stage of the work. “No, problem” he said; “We will strip off all the old tile in a day and take two days after to tile up the both rooms.” Two days and the major work is over? Then it’s just the basic plumbing, to change the single sink into a double, and change the toilet, then we’re done!

Wall moulding, to be placed at eye height to break up the monotony of the tile pattern.

Little did I know that the devil lives in the details of renovation too! The day has arrived and the tilemen arrive for work, a little late, but hey, It’s Trinidad! Gear in hand, BOSCH Drill with all the tips and everything. After a short breakfast break, they pull their masks on and get to work. Within minutes the first sign of the unforeseen appears. Apparently the tile is stuck on with more than a few milimeters of thin set. This is a 35 year old home, and the tile has been along for the ride every day of those years. So, the men surmise, the tile would have been installed with cement and not thinset all those years ago, by the industrious lads that built the place.

The look of 35 year old cement laid tiles being removed, not a pretty sight.


Unlike today, where everything is designed to fail in 5 years to 10 years, (cus your gonna wanna re-decorate anyway) the tile was designed to stay on till the end of the Mya Calendar. Tho given when I’m actually writing this blog, it just might have! Sooo, I’m hours into my “demo” phase, and already cringing in fear of delays in the project because of the unforeseen circumstances, not to mention, that the house will be without a “throne” for the duration of the demo and retile work….Great!

As I type, the guys are on their third or fourth break between exclamations of how this is the hardest tile removal they have ever done, sounds like they’re gearing up for a price increase to me. But, that’s to be revealed in the later chapters of this exciting, no -washroom period of my life. I hope my brother’s offer of crashing at his place still stands.

This is just chapter one on this saga and i’ve been taking pics along the way for your entertainment / edification. As its going, we will all be having an interesting read at the end of this multipart blog.

End of Renovation vs. Hell, Chapter one. Demo Day