Out with the old – Kitchen demo days
After taking a break to handle the landscaping, it was time to get back to demo. Up next was to completely gut the kitchen. This includes removing all of the cabinets, lighting, sink, and appliances.
We didn’t have a full-size sledgehammer so we weren’t able to just smash everything like they do on TV. That probably worked for the better since we were forced to take things apart piece by piece, therefore minimizing the amount of debris flying around the house. Even with our small 3-lb sledge, we were a little timid about swinging it. It was definitely a ‘gentle’ demo at first, but soon after making very slow progress, we started swinging the hammer with more gusto and it sped up the demo process.
Our biggest kitchen demo challenge
The wall cabinets came down pretty easily, and after disconnecting the plumbing, the sink also came out quickly. The biggest challenge turned out to be the old tile counters which were set in a mortar bed that were pretty tricky to remove. Here is what we found was the best way to remove the old tile counter.
DIY: How to remove the old tile counter
- Break off of the edging around the counter – We just went around the counter with the small sledgehammer and broke the edging off.
- Remove any nails holding the metal edging on.
- Use a pry bar – Slowly work a pry bar between the plywood base and the mortar bed. This should loosen the stables used to hold the metal lathe in place allowing the tile countertop to be removed.
- Break large pieces into smaller, more manageable sizes – The mortar bed + tile is very heavy and large pieces are very difficult to move around. The mortar bed can be easily broken by hitting it with the sledgehammer and the wire lathe can then be cut with wire cutters. Try not to turn the entire countertop into rubble, which will generate a lot of dust.
Other kitchen demo tips
- Check with your city for free bulk pick-up – Our city offers free bulk pick-up for items like water heaters, refrigerators, washing machine, stoves, dishwashers, microwaves, mattresses, and rolled carpet. There are size and weight limits so check with your city first. We definitely took advantage of this service.
- Remove nails and stack materials – During the demo process, we tried to keep everything as neat as possible. We took the extra time to remove nails from the demolished cabinets and stacked all of the material in a pile.
- Keep a safe & clean workspace – Maintaining a safe and neat workplace takes a little more time and slows down the process, but can prevent accidents from happening. There were weeks (maybe even a couple months) in between when we weren’t able to get a dumpster out to toss the cabinets, so they were lying on the kitchen floor the entire time. Good thing they were stacked neatly in a corner while we worked on the rest of the kitchen. Since we were doing all of the demo work ourselves, being safe was definitely a priority.