How to Gut a Kitchen for a Kitchen Remodel


Demolishing your own kitchen for a remodel can save you a lot of money. Some homeowners might think gutting a kitchen is as simple as taking a sledgehammer to the cabinets and walls, but they are sadly proved wrong once they start. A few basic tips can help homeowners demolish their kitchen without damaging their home.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Sledgehammer
  • Utility knife
  • Crowbar
  • Shut off gas lines to the kitchen before beginning or you may be risking a dangerous gas explosion or gas poisoning. Shut off electricity as well to avoid shocks.

  • Shut off all water to sinks, refrigerators and any other water-using appliances. Failure to do so may cause severe water damage and at the very least will be very messy.

  • Disconnect and remove all kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, microwaves and cooktops.

  • Unscrew all cabinet doors at the hinges before tearing them down. When possible, save cabinet doors or cabinet wood for other home projects. You may be surprised how often these spare parts are useful. Cabinet hinges, pulls and knobs may also be useful for another home project.

  • Remove the countertop. You may need several tools for this removal depending on what type of countertop you are removing. Most laminates are screwed into the cabinets from underneath. Heavy countertops such as granite, marble and concrete are going to be more difficult to remove and require more than one person to shift them.

  • Remove all the cabinets. It may be easier to unscrew the cabinets but some people choose to use a sledgehammer. Using a sledgehammer may be quicker but it will make a lot of mess. Older cabinets may have been built in place and require a sledgehammer for demolition.

  • Remove the flooring and trim. Many older homes have several layers of linoleum on the kitchen floor. Using a crow bar is generally the easiest way of removing this type of flooring. Ceramic flooring requires a sledgehammer to crack the tiles. The pieces may be removed by hand. Be careful when doing this type of removal that you do not destroy the subfloor and joists and always wear protective gear.

  • Cut with a utility knife around the ceiling and adjoining wall joints of any wall you plan to remove. Remove drywall from the wall to expose wall studs before removing any wall. There may also be electric, gas and water pipes in the wall that could be damaged during this time which could be hazardous to your health. Removing a supporting wall, usually indicated by either floor or ceiling joists running perpendicular to the wall, can damage the structure of your home. Check the basement and ceiling with a stud finder to determine the direction of the joists. Load-bearing walls can be removed if a header beam is installed to support the floor or roof above.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rent a dumpster to dispose of all your construction debris.
  • Seal off the entry to other rooms with two pieces of plastic sheeting on each side of the door frame, each slit down the center. The double sheeting allows for dust-free access to the room.
  • A wheelbarrow or handtruck is handy for moving appliances and carting debris to the dumpster.
  • A permit may be required if you plan to move electrical boxes. A plumber or heating contractor may be needed to move plumbing or heating ducts in the wall.

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