Demo This!


I fought it, I really did. I liked the solid feel of lath and plaster and it seemed like such a huge job to pull it all out. And how would we dispose of it? The argument lasted for over a year before I finally capitulated. My husband Dave had made his case. We needed to:

  • Install all new electric wiring
  • Install new plumbing
  • Re-engineer HVAC to modern standards
  • Insulate all walls


The plaster had to go.

And so I set the date. My daughter Em would be gone for two weeks visiting family in San Francisco. It was the perfect time for me to focus on demo’ing as much of the inside of The Cottage as I could.

The first three or four days was all me – Dave was working his new job – Dee (my eldest) was busy prepping for her first semester at UMKC. It got dirty, messy and cluttered real quick.


We went back and forth about renting a dumpster. The prices were coming in at around $500 for one to be delivered and then picked up later. The problem with having a dumpster is that, once folks in the area know you have a dumpster, they are more than happy to help you fill it up!

I was afraid that we would rent it, turn around twice, and have a dumpster filled with other folks’ trash.


Our neighbors offered to loan us their pickup truck and we gratefully accepted.

A pickup load, depending on how full we got it, and what all we were putting into it, cost anywhere from $25-$45 to dump. On a Saturday, with three of us working as fast as we could, we could manage to load, move, and dump three loads before the place shut down at noon.


Over the next two months, we would make around 20 trips to the dump. All in all, it cost us slightly more than the rental and dump fee of one dumpster would have cost. Even if we didn’t have to compete with neighbors to load up the dumpster, we had over 12 tons of lath, plaster, and other debris that we removed from The Cottage.


Once we were done, all the walls, and even the ceilings, were plaster and lath-free. The floors were cleared and the house was as empty as we could make it.

It was now time to turn our sights to other tasks. Wiring, the plumbing rough-in, and the front porch were next on the list.




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