Millie’s Remodel: HAZMAT Demolition Progress
and Precautions

It took me two weeks, but the HAZMAT demolition process is finally finished. Truth be told, I never wanted demolition to be completed more than on this house. It seemed like every wall I opened and every piece of subfloor I removed lead me down a black hole of more mold, rotted floor joists, and termite damage. I was so anxious to start building back. But, what I wanted more was to turn the air conditioning back on in the house and start a day working in my clothing and not the unbearably hot Tyvek suit and respirator!

Let me back up and explain why the need for full protective gear. I know the house, I affectionately refer to as Millie, was built in 1957. For that reason, I took lots of samples from the ceilings, walls, and floor and had them sent to our local EMSL laboratories. The results from the front exterior came back positive for lead paint. And I knew there was some suspicious mold on the drywall in the laundry room and the kitchen wall. But, little did I know how much mold was hiding in the wall. And therefore, I’m really glad I took the proper precautions during the HAZMAT demolition process.

black mold on drywall

Boy am I thankful I had on all the protective gear. Especially when I discovered hundreds of rusty razor blades in the wall behind the bathroom. I can’t imagine how dangerous it would have been to cut my hand and have mold get into the wound. (Shuttering.)

Removing Lead Paint and Black Mold

Some friends have asked how I safely remove the lead paint and black mold. A month ago I got certified in Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting. It was a full day class, and we learned the protocol for dealing with lead paint dust. The precautions are almost identical for dealing with mold or other hazardous materials in a home. As a licensed general contractor and certified lead paint contractor, I can complete this type of demolition myself (while following the protocol for safe abatement.)

I won’t go into details because dealing with hazardous materials in your home is not a DIY project. The consequences of exposure or poor abatement practices can be hazardous to your health or your family members’ health. I highly recommend hiring a professional who is certified in abatement for mold, asbestos, lead paint or other environmental hazards. If you have a house built in 1980 or earlier, insist on having samples sent to a lab looking for lead or asbestos. You can learn more about asbestos and why it is important to know if your home is at risk here.

Safety Equipment & Demo Tools:

These are the tools I used and the personal protective gear I wore for the demolition.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Demo Hammer
Pry Bar
Medium Disposable Tyvek Suit
Anti-Fog Goggles
HEPA Vacuum
Garden Sprayer
Cleaning Wipes

HAZMAT Demolition Time Lapse Video:

Want to watch my time lapse video of the demolition? Enjoy the efforts of three days compressed into just a few minutes.

I wish it felt this short in real life. In actuality it was so hot and the demolition went on for two weeks. A bra and underwear were all I wore underneath the TYVEK suit because it was so incredibly hot in the suit. To protect the house outside the demo area, I had plastic on the floor and the air conditioner turned off to contain any demolition dust and debris. A garden sprayer filled with water was used to carefully spray down each area to keep dust at a minimum.

I found a flat end shovel was one of the best demolition tools (thanks for the idea Melbourne Chippy Chick!) The thin blade slips between the drywall and studs. Then I could press against the opposite drywall for leverage and pop the drywall off the side I worked on (while keeping the back side drywall in tact.)

After the drywall was removed and carefully disposed of in trash bags, I removed all the drywall nails. Then I cleaned and sprayed the wall studs that had mold on them.

Two Chemicals Used for Eliminating Mold:

Mold Cleaner

Mold Killer

Because of all the mold, I had to remove all the drywall between the kitchen and the bathroom and the tile around the tub. I’m so glad I did because I uncovered the source of the rodent access between the crawlspace and the attic. I can only speculate there was an opossum or a raccoon gaining access because of the size of the poop in the attic. Gross!

I also couldn’t believe the toilet didn’t fall into the crawlspace after I removed the tile and found the subfloor crumbled in my fingers.

rotted floor around toilet

Speaking of falling, I also discovered termite damage along the outside band joists of the laundry room. It’s amazing the house wasn’t sagging there.

laundry room floor termite and mold damage

Be sure to watch my video to see the demolition process and the reveal after demolition was finished! You can also find out why I had to add some framing to this small hallway wall.

new subpanel framing

Thank you to the sponsors of Milllie’s Remodel for helping me give this old gal a makeover!

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Until the next Millie’s Remodel update! In the meantime, you can follow the real life progress on Instagram and weekly updates on Facebook!

Make sure you are subscribed to my YouTube channel to keep up with the Millie’s Remodel project!

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Millie's Remodel Mini Demo UpdateMillie’s Remodel: Mini Demolition Update

I know it’s been a few weeks since you had an update on the Millie’s Remodel project. If you’re wondering who is Millie and what am I doing to her, you can read more here. Otherwise, let me give you the latest update on mini demolition and share the state of Millie’s Remodel.

With a few family vacations and several weeks of meeting with subcontractors, progress has been slow on the house. However, as you’ll see in my video, there has definitely been progress, but I still have more to do.

Anyone who has been involved in demolition knows a few things about demolition are for certain:

  • It’s fun and great for getting out bottled up aggression.
  • It’s hard work and can give you a better workout than a CrossFit workout.
  • It can be unpredictable and you risk opening a can of worms (or a wall full of razor blades. True story!)
  • Sometimes you discover more damage than you anticipated and have to do more demo.
  • Demolition feels like you are moving backwards instead of making progress.
  • Once you finish demolition, hopefully it’s all progress and building back from that point.

Since purchasing the house, I sold the carport immediately! After the carport was hauled away, the only thing left were several anchor rebar stakes sticking out of the driveway. I must have tripped on them a dozen times until I finally took care of them. It was a quick task cutting them off with my grinder. (Frankly I always like the opportunity to make sparks fly, so I’m not sure why I waited almost two weeks to remove them.)

grind rebar from driveway

The old refrigerator was also easy to sell and the man who picked it up was more interested in poking around the house and giving me his opinion about everything (insert my eye roll here.) He had no idea I’m a general contractor and didn’t need his mansplaining.

Unfortunately, I’m still trying to sell the brand new range. It’s black and has never been used, but I’m replacing all the appliances with stainless steel appliances.

My plumber showed up a few weeks in and helped get the water heater and dishwasher disconnected. He scared the bejeezus out of me by cutting the live electrical wire to the dishwasher because the circuit for it wasn’t labeled. Talk about flying sparks! Luckily we’ll be wiring and plumbing the entire house to bring everything up to code (and you know I’ll label those circuits clearly).

Are you ready for another tour of the Millie’s Remodel project after mini demolition? I can’t wait to give you the plans for the future layout and show you one last look before the major changes happen. Also, I’m giddy about my haul from our local Habitat ReStore! It’s going to really help with my renovation budget!

Watch this video for the mini demolition video and tour of the house:

What did you think? Would you reglaze the tub or replace it? What do you think about my ReStore treasures?

Keep in mind you can always follow the day-to-day snapshots of the project on my Instagram account. And I try to give a weekly Facebook Live update on Fridays (although this week it was on Saturday.) Of course, you definitely want to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see my videos before the blog posts go live:

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Get ready for the next update, it’s gonna be big. I’m all dressed up and ready to bring it to you!

But, I may have shed several pounds after sweating in this get up for two weeks.

Thank you to the sponsors of Milllie’s Remodel for helping me give this old gal a makeover!

millies remodel sponsors logos

Millie’s Remodel: A 1950’s Ranch Renovation

This is my latest home renovation project and another opportunity to use my general contracting skills to turn a dated and neglected house into a beautiful new home. Follow along with Millie’s Remodel: A 1950’s Ranch Renovation.

It’s been about six months since I picked up a hammer and worked on a house project. After the Saving Etta project finished, I took some much needed time off from house building and enjoyed the holidays with my family. But, after a month or so, I found myself getting antsy. If I’m going to be honest, I was actually feeling a little melancholy without something to do. While planning on some major upgrades to my own house, I kept my eye out for another house to flip. There were several contenders, but my offers were not accepted. Unfortunately the investors’ real estate market in Raleigh is HOT. Meaning there are lots of investors and houses for sale, but the prices have been pushed too high for me to make a profit on a flip house.

After several months, I began to think about changing my profit equation and began looking for a rental property. This would allow me to adjust my budget and look for houses in up and coming neighborhoods that could be renovated and rented while waiting for the value to go up.

About a month ago, a little brick ranch popped up in my real estate search. Actually there were two brick ranches, but after touring both, this quaint 1950’s brick ranch appealed to me more.

The carport isn’t exactly adding much charm, so I plan to sell it as soon as I can.

The living room/dining room is separated by carpeting and laminate flooring. The goal will be to integrate the two and make it feel more like one open room.

Millie's Remodel: Living Room Before

I peeked underneath the carpet and laminate to discover wood floors under both! Unfortunately, the laminate was covering glue down linoleum and the wood flooring is underneath that. Before I can start demolition I’ll need to test for asbestos.

The kitchen is small and cramped with two doorways leading into it.

I’m hoping we can remove the corner wall behind the refrigerator and open it up to the living area. This should provide a nice open concept kitchen and bring more light into the kitchen. But, first I’ll consult with my structural engineer.

All three bedrooms are approximately the same. This is the smallest bedroom with only one window. As I did in the living room, I pulled back the carpeting to reveal wood floors underneath. Hooray! They look like they are in rough shape, but can probably be refinished.

The second bedroom is slightly larger and has two windows providing lots of light.

Bedroom number three is at the back of the house and could have a nice view of the backyard, if we move the shed (you’ll see a picture soon.)

The only bathroom in the house really needs to be brought into this century.

Although the tile floor looks structurally sound, the tile is cracking and sinking under the toilet, so we’ll need to address that. Also, the vanity is one of the shortest vanities I’ve ever stood in front of. I have big plans for this bathroom, including trying to save the old cast iron tub.

One of the plans I have is to add a small powder room in the current laundry room. Be sure to watch this video to see where this will happen.

Here’s a view of the backyard. You can see the ugly eyesore of a shed behind the house. It’s definitely ugly and in need of some TLC or just a complete demolition.

The deck on the back of the house was built off the back landing. It’s not beautiful but it seems to be structurally sound (or will be after I add some extra structural screws to the posts), so I’ll leave it as is.

The biggest issue with the house is the very old HVAC unit. My inspector advised me not to run the heat because the combustion fan doesn’t work and this is a big safety issue.

That completes the photo tour. If you’d like to see inside the house and hear my ideas for the renovation, watch this video:

I can’t wait to hear your feedback about this project. What do you think of the house? Any ideas for me?

Thank you to the sponsors of Milllie’s Remodel for helping me give this old gal a makeover!

millies remodel sponsors logos

See ya later with more updates soon.