Basement Demo, Jackhammer Edition

Today, Liz and I decided to brave some basement demo on our own. We talked a bit over the last week, in terms of us trying to take on more tasks ourselves. Even though we love Bob’s help, we found ourselves wanting to try to do more by ourselves.

After going over a rough gameplan with Bob via phone, we picked up a jackhammer from Home Depot and decided to make today a basement demo day!

Props to Liz, who spotted a discrepancy in our previous paperwork. I had the forms from the last time we rented the jackhammer, and it listed the device as a 20 lb. jackhammer. Liz noticed it didn’t look right, and we upgraded to a larger (and appropriate) one – very nice catch!

These guys are surprisingly small. Bob said that anything larger than this comes with its own hand truck. We may end up seeing one of those guys in the future. But I think this one is fine enough for our basement work (the concrete is surprisingly thin).

Liz, ready to go to work.

Making some initial holes.

Liz and I made sure to talk through the process, and shared with one another our thoughts on approach. We tackled the job in a very collaborative manner, and I think this really helped us minimize tensions and arguments.

After the first run of breaking up the concrete. Liz, packing up the larger pieces.

After this first run, we decided to forego moving the concrete… and just focused on powering through busting up the concrete. You can rent tools from Home Depot in one of two durations: 4 hours, or a full day.

We figured we could power through the work quickly, and return the jackhammer in time to avoid a full day’s charge.

After another run, I traded with Liz to let her give the jackhammer a go.

Pretty nearly done.

Liz, finishing up the last run of concrete. If you’re curious to see her in action, I took some video of her doing the demo, along with a close-up view.

As you can see, she caught on quickly!

The full area, with all the concrete broken up. We stopped at an existing crack in the floor, which was really handy as it helped perfectly mark our stopping point.

While I ran the jackhammer back to Home Depot, Liz stayed and hauled out a lionshare of the concrete. Here’s the space, ready for us to dig up next!

So you know – we’re getting a plumber to come in, to help finalize the pipe work down here. We discussed potentially installing an additional bathroom down here, so we’re opening up the floor to help lay the groundwork for that.

It’ll be a kind of 1/2 bath, given the limited space. But it’s one of those “while we’re doing this, we might as well…” kind of things that seems to happen frequently, when working on a house. So it goes.

We are very proud of ourselves today, having tackled this and making short work of it to boot. It was an interesting project, as I am someone who worries a lot and sees a lot of potential problems off the bat; but Liz is more optimistic, and sees more of the potential. We make a good match, and seem to balance one another well.

We’ll always need Bob’s help and expertise, but it was nice tackling something outside of our comfort zone, and being successful at something new.

// Edit: I think “jackhammer” is the wrong term, here. Technically, it was a demo/impact hammer.

Digging a Very Large Hole in the Basement

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