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Tearing Apart Our Rental – Beginning Stages of DIY

It’s a super exciting time for Liz and I. We closed on our rental property on Monday and have been tearing apart the rental ever since. Unfortunately, much of the beginning stages of the demo has left us a bit disappointed….

Day 1 – Tearing Out the Living Room Carpet and Kitchen Laminate Tile

The Living and Dining Room

On the day of the closing, I decided to start tearing into the living and dining room immediately. I knew there were hardwood floors underneath (because I tore up a small corner of the carpet when we first looked at it), but I didn’t know the full condition of the floors and I was excited to see them.

Well, I tore back the first corner and…wommp wommm….not what I was expecting. The entire floor wasn’t hardwood! It had a different, cheaper version of wood in the middle. I had  seen this before, but it never crossed my mind when we purchased the house. Back in the day, people wanted their homes to look nice with hardwood, but often couldn’t afford it, so they installed the cheaper softwood in the middle of the house and ended up covering it with a big area rug when they moved in. As it turns out, this was one of those floors…

“Oh well, we can still shine it up with the rest of the floors and it will look alright” – I convinced myself.

Then, when I got to the portion of carpet that was in between the living and dining room, I saw a different kind of wood… it was plywood. At one time, the room must have been divided by a wall. Since then, the wall was taken down, but it wasn’t replaced with nice hardwood planks. Instead, they covered the 6″ strip with plywood. Not very exciting at all, but we’ll figure it out. We still want to refinish the floors, and we’re just crossing our fingers that it will all still look okay!

Living Room Carpet Up

The Kitchen

Digging into the kitchen was actually pretty easy. The floor was just covered with sticky laminate tile – some of which would come up in whole pieces by hand. Others were stuck down a little better, but it was no match for my utility bar! In total, it probably only took an hour to get the 150 square feet of tile up, and the sub-floor beneath it looks to be in great shape!

Kitchen Tile Removal

Day 2 – Tearing Out the Hallway and Bedroom Floors

We were hoping that the hallway was natural hardwood as well. When we starting removing the layer of carpet and the 3 layers of laminate flooring beneath it, we realized that it was….but that it probably couldn’t be saved since much of it was covered with adhesive and the remaining backer off the first layer of laminate that was stuck directly on the hardwood (seriously people…what were you thinking when you stuck laminate flooring directly on the hardwood?! Ughhh….). So as of now, we assume this will have to be carpeted to make it look decent.

Hallway tearup

The bedroom tear-out was a much needed breath of fresh air. The top layer was carpet and underneath it was laminate, BUT it wasn’t stuck to the hardwood. THANK GOODNESS! It probably took me a whopping 20 minutes to remove it all and the wood is in fantastic shape. So, the bedroom is going to look amazing at least.

Bedroom tearup

Day 3 – Demo-ing the Bathroom

The  bathroom is the only other room on the main floor (except for the strange 4’x6′ room off the kitchen that is…but we didn’t tear into this one quite yet, as we’re not really sure what to do with it) and it proved to be quite challenging as well. There were 2 or 3 layers of laminate flooring that were glued to the sub-floor quite well. Not only did it take a while to remove, but I also had to take out the vanity and toilet to lift it up! While I was at it, I figured I may as well tear out the golden shower door, since that was really uglifying the entire space all by itself.

Bathroom tear up

So as of now, the bathroom is completely demoed as well. This only leaves the two upstairs bedrooms and the stairwell! Progress is happening. Hopefully soon we can start beautifying the space instead of making it uglier!

What do you think of our progress so far? Any advice for us DIY-ers?

Rental Property


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Looks like the project is progressing along! Excited you finally took the plunge for a rental property. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

    FYI – My flip is almost finished. I’ll have a good story about what I learned.

    • Thanks for commenting Joshua! We are excited about the rental, and I can’t wait to hear your full story!

  2. Sounds big. Good luck with everything. Only advice is to budget extra time and money from what you originally come up with, because it always takes longer and costs more, no matter what 🙂

    • Thanks MB! Yeah…my initial goal was to have everything done by Christmas…that’s just not going to happen. It’ll all be fun though! 🙂

  3. Honestly, it looks like your work won’t be too horrible (though if you can’t put in many full time days it might drag on). Our renovation included more cap-ex (plumbing/electrical/insulation) which took months (and we were living in it), so we’ve only recently gotten to the fun cosmetic stuff.

    I’m sure you’ll uncover plenty of WTF were the builders thinking.

    Good luck!

    • Nothing too difficult, but yes it will take time. While I’ve been ripping apart the floors, Liz has already been priming the walls, so the transformation seems to be happening pretty fast! Still much to do though. 😉

  4. This will be a fun series of posts! Good luck!

    • Yeah, can’t wait to provide the next update. Stay tuned! 🙂

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