Detailing our kitchen demo in case you ever want to do yours!
The demo phase of our kitchen project is officially DONE and it was every bit as fun as I thought it would be! The satisfaction and catharsis of ripping out the cabinets that have given me splinters and made me crawl into them to get anything out for the last 2 years, ripping off decades of wallpaper, and prying off the 60 year old countertops is hard to put into words.
In some ways, it looks worse but in other ways, it looks so much better!
Why DIY demo
The average cost just to remove and dispose of cabinets in a kitchen is between $1,000 and $3,000. By doing it ourselves, we saved a huge amount of money! (Especially because we were doing far more than cabinet removal!)
- Any electric or plumbing in the way should be turned off and/or disconnected before starting. Disconnect disposals, faucets, and any appliances.
- Get a dumpster, and I highly recommend sizing up from whatever you think will be big enough. Don't be like us and have to get two!
- Pack up everything in your cabinets, move the furniture, get everything you don't want destroyed out of the room. Once you switch over to demo mode, it's really hard to preserve anything in the room! If you're planning to sell/give away appliances, move them elsewhere.
- Enlist friends! This specific type of destruction is universally appealing so it's easy to drum up interest. And, it's not the type of work that requires a specific level of skill or care. Really, just manpower is all you need! I'd say 3-4 people for a medium size kitchen is a good number to have things moving at a good pace without feeling crowded.
Starting with the countertops and cabinets is a good way to see lots of progress in minimal time. From there, you can move on to walls, floors, and ceilings.
- Crowbar - The MVP of demo. You can do most everything with a crowbar.
- Hammer - (regular hammer and a sledge hammer.)
- Sawzall - Very essential for making anything smaller for handling (countertops, soffits, etc.)
- Protective gear - work gloves, masks, ear protection.
- Plastic sheeting - For sealing off doors/vents, and wrapping up demo rubble to take to the dumpster.
- Cleaning supplies - broom and shop vac.
A word of advice - there will maybe (but probably) come a point where you look around at your work and, in a moment of panic, think, what have I done to the kitchen? it looks terrible. it will never be put back together. I just ruined my house. At that point, you're going to want to really thoroughly sweep and probably also vacuum the entire room. You'll feel better and it won't look so scary once it's clean!