Tag Archives: How to

Removing Nails


How to remove a nail the easy way or remove a nail that’s missing it’s nail head!

The way I learned to pull out a nail as a child is much harder than the way Scott taught me.  Let the hammer do the work!  I used to use all my body weight and strength against a nail, with little result for all my effort.  Often resulting in my falling on my rear end when the nail gave way.  :)

Simple steps:

1.  Secure the nail
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2.  Rock the hammer from side to side.
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3.  Regrip the nail, and repeat step 2.
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4.  Done!
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You’ll have that nail out in no time!
And, you won’t even break a sweat or fall over when the nail head gives way.  :)

Below is a video clip to demonstrate.  You’ll get the hang of it after one or two nails.  It’s kind of fun to take on those challenging nails you thought you’d have to hammer out the other way, or clip off…


Bathroom Remodel – Demo


When the whole “remodel the bathroom” started, I had every intention of just doing a renovation.  Updating the tile, the vanity, fixtures, etc.

I began calculating costs.  Scoured the internet for ideas and inspiration.  I came across an article detailing how to revamp (paint) your bathtub.  I thought that perhaps this option would save me a lot of money, so I looked into it.

I researched for hours.  I read customer reviews.  I compared the $50 DIY kit to the professional epoxy, painters reviews.  I really wanted this option to work.  I was really hoping to save money.  I eventually called the company that makes the DIY kit.  Their customer service was nice enough, but there was 0% guarantee on their product.  Not only that, when I asked how long they anticipated their epoxy lasting, the answer was 5 years.  That right there settled it for me.  I didn’t want a  5 year fix.  I wanted a permanent bathroom solution.

So, when I started the tear out, I anticipated replacing the tub with a white one.

Work began.

First up – removing the cultured marble.  I was worried it was going to be really stuck to the wall.  Pleasantly surprised.  First, I cut the caulk away with a box cutter.  Then, I used my mini pry-bar and mini hammer (it’s just too cute) to get behind the cultured marble.  :)


The marble basically popped off once I loosened it all the way around.  We knew we would need to replace all this sheetrock anyway, so I wasn’t worried about damaging it.

tub_surroundThis then left the bathtub edges visible.  The tub is really crammed into this space.  In order to remove a bathtub, you need to remove the drain.  Depends on the style of bathtub, but most screw onto the pipe, so a pair of pliers can often grip allowing you to twist the drain free:


Besides the drain, there will also be something anchoring the tub to the wall.  In this instance, some simple nails:


Once the nails were free, the bathtub could rock.  But again, it was such a tight fit, we had to remove some of the sheetrock:


The tile floor was also installed after the bathtub, therefore it had to come out before the tub.  I used a chisel to gouge the grout line:


This then allowed me to get under the first tile with my hammer.  They came out quite easily after that.


Now we were ready to pull that tub out!  No pictures as it was a 2 man job…  But here is the space once it was removed.


At this point I was beaming ear to ear.
Getting rid of this gross bathroom.

I walked around the new space.  I then sheepishly asked Scott, “So…the plumbing is open to the crawl space…is it possible to move the toilet over here???” (6 feet away…)

Not what a man wants to hear…  :)
Scott grumbled around the house for a bit and I could hear,
“Move the toilet, she says!”
He is a good man.  :)

As I stated when I started this post – I had every intention of just replacing and updating things.  But, once the tub was out I couldn’t help but wander the space and feel how OPEN it felt!  The way a powder room should feel!

Secondly, there were a few things that really bothered me about this bathroom and it’s layout:
1.  The toilet is basically IN the door.  When someone uses the loo, you hear it…I wanted the toilet elsewhere in the bathroom.
2.  The pocket door was old, meaning it would often stick and scrape and was just a pain.  I wanted a real door.
3.  The bathroom is off our main entry – it does not need a bathtub.  There are no bedrooms near this bathroom.  Therefore, why not get rid of the bathtub all together whilest moving the toilet?!


These 3 items were details that could only be fixed with a major overhaul.  The other details – gross tile, replacing toilet and sink, new mirror, all that could’ve been done with a renovation.  So, those were going to be changed no matter what.

After Scott scoped out the crawl space and plumbing situation, it was reluctantly announced that yes, it was possible to change the location of the toilet.

Dream come true!

The next day entailed more demo.
All the way down to the bare studs and insulation.

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We bribed our boys with a 99 cent chocolate frosty from Wendy’s.
Cheapest hired help ever!

My favorite was when we handed them wrenches to remove the old toilet.  Our oldest began dry heaving.  :)
It’s good for them to have to do gross hard things now and again…we’re raising real men, not sissy’s!toilet_removal

We hauled all this to the local dump.  Cost us $28.50 to dispose of it.  It was work, but worth the money saved from hiring someone else to come do the demo and haul away for us.


COMING SOON – Bathroom Remodel – Transformation!


Recessed Lighting


It is TOTALLY possible, to replace boob lights (or surface mount light fixtures) with canned lights!  I’m not going to lie and say it’s a fun job - holding your hands above your head, rewiring in a cramped space, sprinkling insulation and sheetrock in your eyes…but it is possible!

No husband wants to tell their wife this is a possibility, because they know we will always pick recessed lights over boob lights.  :)

Things to consider for your light selection:
Design - Is this a Remodel or New Construction?
Rating –  Is there insulation in the area where the cans will be?
Style – How broad of light do you want it to disperse?

REMODEL:  The remodel construction cans have a slimmer design.  A long arm extending from the can.  The can comes with a template, directing you in the size of hole you will need to cut in your sheetrock.  The electricians have fancy power saws to do this.  But, a simple jab saw gets the job done.  It doesn’t need to be the prettiest cut, because you will be placing a cover over the hole eventually.  Notice the small black clips on the can – they secure the new recessed light to the sheetrock.

:  A larger contraption.  Its design would be very difficult to attach if sheetrock is already in place.  To install this, you’ll need access to the studs (either floor joists, or attic joists).  If you’ve stripped a wall down to the studs, then this is the route you’ll want to go.

Some cans are rated IC – insulation contact.  If being installed in an area where there is insulation in the ceiling, you’ve got to make sure you get the IC rating.

You will find cans ranging in diameter.  Most common are 3″, 4″, 5″, 7″.  Some have housing so the light can ‘swivel’ while most are a straight downward housing.  The smaller diameter cans creates more of a spotlight.  If you are wanting direct lighting in a built-in shelving unit, a 3″ (or smaller) is probably what you want.  In a hallway where you want lots of light to flood the area, you’ll probably want a 7″ can.

The housings range in price.  I am not picky, and find that it’s not often I am sitting on the couch staring up into the cans wishing I had bought a more expensive one that had a white coating on the inside…  It doesn’t matter to me.  Therefore, I go with a relatively cheap option found at big box stores - in the $10-$15 range for standard sizes.  The covers then run you that much again depending if you pick white or stainless steel, or fancier options.  Most covers are purchased separately.

If you aren’t an electrician – or you don’t understand wiring, don’t risk a DIY on this.  If you hire a licensed electrician to come in and do all the work for you – I think a reasonable estimate is about $150 per light.  Price would obviously depend on
(a) where you live
(b) if there is attic access
(c) if he is running new wire.

My example above – we simply put lights where the existing lights already were.  This is obviously the easiest installation of the remodel can.cut_hole_mancaveinvaded

But, let’s say you have a single light in the middle of the room.  Is it possible to add 4 cans in the ceiling instead?  YES!  It is possible!  But, it might be a lot of work, and here is why…  It all depends on which way your support beams are running through your ceiling.  If you can run the wire parallel to the joists – the job will be so much easier.  If you are picky about your light locations, it might (ok, it will) be a pain to cut into the sheetrock in more than one place in order to then drill through a floor joist allowing a wire to pass through.  Just keep that in mind.  If you bring in an electrician to do the work – they often point out the locations its possible to put a can.  :)  Lots of times this means, they don’t want to drill through floor joists…which is a lot more work.