Duo Ventures

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kitchen Makeover: Countertop Template & Demo

Last week we detailed our experience shopping for kitchen countertops & shared how we chose our sink & faucet.  Next up - the template & demo process.

First things first - we had to get the template made.  A few days after we finalized our order, Granite Direct sent someone out to measure the countertops.  There wasn't much we had to do before he arrived other than clearing off our toaster & coffee maker.  It took about an hour or so & he used some interesting equipment to measure - we think the method is called digital laser templating.  We forgot to take a picture of him in action, but the equipment looked something like this:

The following Monday, our salesperson Melissa called to let us know our slabs had arrived & that we should stop in to take a look at them.  She wanted to make sure we were happy with the product before they moved forward.  Here are our two slabs of Frosty Carrina by Caesarstone in the warehouse:
After seeing the slabs in person, we were really happy with our choice.  It's difficult to see the veining in these photos, but we thought the quartz was really beautiful!  We gave them the green light to begin cutting & confirmed installation for later on that week.

The day before installation we decided to get started on demo.  We probably should have started earlier to be on the safe side, but we wanted to have a working kitchen for as long as possible.
First, we began by removing the existing travertine backsplash:

We tried so hard to get the tiles off without damaging the drywall, but we weren't off to a good start.  It was a pain in the butt trying to remove these tiles.  Nader had to essentially hammer away at the grout lines & then pry the tiles off:

We realize there are tools made to cut through grout, but we don't think that would have helped, as the problem was more so where the adhesive stuck to the drywall.   You can see below that the builders put a blob of adhesive on the back of each individual tile & then stuck them on the wall - no troweling:

All we know is that it was a lot of work getting them off.  At this point, we decided we had to just keep going & finish removing the tiles.  Once were completely done, we would see what drywall we could save & repair.

We used an old box to minimize cleanup behind the stove (Nader had been holding on to this box foreeeever, just knowing we would need it for something):

Slowly but surely, we worked our way around the kitchen:

Almost done - just look at the excitement:

Once we were finished we assessed the damage...

The drywall might look salvageable, but most of it was so compromised that it made more sense to just replace it.  So out it came:

Once we cleaned off all of the debris & dust (we finally bought a shop vac - best idea ever!), we started taking off the countertops.  They were screwed into the base cabinets & not too difficult to take off:

 We also had to detach the plumbing & remove the sink:

Here's what the kitchen looked like the following morning on installation day:
Of course, we would have liked to replace the drywall before the new counters were installed, but we did not anticipate that it would be so damaged & we simply didn't have the time to fix it.  DIY & Learn.

So that's it for now.  Up next: countertop installation!
More on that coming soon...

Mel & Nader

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