Saturday, September 1, 2012

Kitchen Demolition

This is what we’ve learned about how to demolish a kitchen:
Most important is proper safety equipment. Work boots to protect your feet, especially from protruding nails that may end up on the floor. Work glove so you don’t wreck your hands. Eye protection and a large supply of dust masks (as our contract says, you should change these after about an hour because they fill up with small particles faster than you think and then you are really just breathing the dust through the mask). We also had a heap filter to suck up some of the dust.
To begin, remove the appliances, disconnect the sink & if necessary use some shark caps to cap the supply lines. Cover the drain pipe end, so sewer fumes don’t come back up the pipe. Also switch off the breakers and remove the cover plates, outlets and light switches. If you wish to leave one or more outlets for use of power tools, etc. tape around the wire connections & shove them back in the outlet box. Next finish wrapping the room openings in plastic (we wrapped a plastic corridor from the entrance to the front door to carry out the debris and covered the hallway floor to protect it).
Now you’re ready for the fun part (the stronger you are the better) I’m a real lightweight, just the weight of a hammer is a lot for me, so I felt more like a useless observer alongside my husband & the 2 pro’s working on this job, but I got right in there & helped where I could. First step, rip out the countertops, sink and backsplash, our rotten old formica we just pried off in broken sections as needed. Then take out the base cabinets. We had to smash up one in place because the gas line for the stove came up through the bottom of it. Then remove the screws holding the upper cabinets to the walls and any screws through the sides holding them together. If you’re lucky and they aren’t glued to the walls & come off unbroken and if still in usable condition you can recycle them. We are donating our upper cabinets to the Re-Store. If not in good condition, take them outside and smash them apart to make room in the dumpster. Our old kitchens had a soffit above the cabinets on two walls that we were removing, we were surprised to find some huge holes on the under sides of it. To keep from wrecking the ceiling too much, use a utility blade to score along the seam at the ceiling, the joint at the walls and any corner joints. If possible figure out where any electrical wires or other line such as plumbing or other utilities are running behind the soffit and try to avoid them. Take a heavy duty claw hammer and smash through the drywall or plaster & try to knock out a piece. As you work, keep checking for utilities so you don’t damage anything along the way. As you work, used a chisel where needed to keep a clean line along the ceiling seam or adjacent walls you plan to leave in place. After the wall surface is removed, then use the hammer and/or screwdrivers to remove the furring strips that held on the drywall. Now you’re ready to take down the walls. If you can tell from the opening where you removed the soffit where the wall studs are its helpful, otherwise tap with the hammer or if you have metal studs try a stud finder. Then take the claw end of the hammer and smash a hole next to the stud. Try not to thrust too hard as you don’t want to break through any wall surface on the other side. Also, again try to be aware of where your electrical wires & utilities are behind the wall and work carefully around them. Keep clawing holes in a line next to the stud and then wrap that claw behind it and rip out chunks of wall. Remember to use your utility blade to score along seams at joints where you are keeping the adjacent wall. The cleaner the line you can make at the joints the better. After all the wall board is removed go back and remove all the nails or screws from the studs. All that debris gets bagged up or dumped in a wheelbarrow and hauled out to the dumpster. When all the big stuff is gone, sweep and shop vac and admire your hard work, you should be completely spent. If you have that hepa filter keep it running to collect more dust. Our next step was to remove the floor, but I’ll save that for another post.


  1. This is a great tutorial. I'll have to save it in case I feel like smashing in any of my walls.

  2. This will be quite a story with this much action and adventure in the demolition phase. Can't wait to hear more.

  3. I can't wait to see the video the contractor is making, should be fun to see us in action. The hard part now is finding time to blog, cause I'm so tired after working in this heat.



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