Rebuilding A Closet


Old closets are a good candidate for an upgrade. Not only can you add much needed storage, you may create custom fittings that give you the exact type of storage you need. With a renovation, you may remove damaged ceilings and floors, improve or add electrical fixtures, improve insulation and line the updated closet with cedar. Because most closets tend to be small, you may invest in top quality products and still keep to a good budget.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Prybar
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • Sawzall
  • Facemask
  • Gloves
  • Insulation
  • Staple gun
  • Drywall
  • Drywall knife
  • Drywall screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Flexible mesh tape
  • Paper corner tape
  • Joint compound
  • Wide putty knife
  • Sanding block
  • Primer
  • Roller and tray
  • Paint
  • Closet system
  • Remove everything inside the closet and in room adjoining the closet. Put sheet plastic over the floor to protect it from damage. Turn off the electricity to the closet if the closet has lights or outlets.

  • Demo the inside of the closet using a prybar, hammer, pliers and sawzall. Pry off your baseboards using a prybar. Break through existing walls with a hammer and prybar. Use pliers to pull nails, tacks or other objects. The sawzall can cut through existing shelves. Save your baseboards and door trim for later. Haul the debris in garbage cans and dump it into a disposal area. Wear a face mask and gloves and keep the window open in the room. Repair any damage to the studs.

  • Install insulation in exterior walls if no insulation exists. Use the R-value suggested for your climate and manufacturer's recommendations for the type of insulation to use for your application. Look inside your electrical boxes. If your wiring looks old, such as nob and tube or aluminum wiring, or if there are any signs of burnt wires, have an electrician investigate the problem and repair any issues.

  • Install new drywall on the ceiling. Put blocking around the edges of the ceiling and walls to attach the drywall to the studs with screws. Cut your drywall to the right size. Screw the drywall into the ceiling joists every 12 inches. Fit and cut drywall for the inside walls and screw them in place. The edges of two adjacent sheets of drywall should share one stud for attachment points.

  • Press flexible mesh drywall tape over the drywall seams. Attach paper corner tape along the ceiling and corner joints. Apply joint compound over the tapes using a wide putty knife. Cover the joints and spread the compound out until it looks level. Cover the screw head indentations as well. Allow the compound to dry for 4 hours. Sand the compound smooth with a sanding sponge. Apply a second coat of joint compound, smoothing it out flush with the walls. Allow the second coat to dry for 24 hours.

  • Prime and paint the inside of the closet. Use a primer designed for raw drywall. Apply two coats of paint. Allow the last coat of paint to dry for 24 hours. Reinstall your baseboard and door trim. Fill the nail holes with wood fill. Press the wood fill into the nail hole with your finger tip and wipe off the excess. Paint out your trim with a satin-finish white paint. Allow your last coat to dry for 24 hours. Install a light fixture and hang your door. Finish any painting.

  • Install a closet organizing system. The easiest to install systems use a cleat mounted near the ceiling and wall runners hanging from the cleat. These systems allow you to manipulate your design and change it if your needs change, without additional investment.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can often remove and clean up old door hardware and hinges and reuse them on the existing doors.

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  • Photo Credit David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images
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