I just ordered some new kitchen cabinets for an L shaped kitchen, and
would like to save $600 by doing my own cabinet removals.
I would like to ask those who have done their own demolition when they
remodeled their kitchens. Would they do it over again? Any tips to
make it easier?
Thanks for your help
Demo of the cabinets is easy (BTDT). However are you comfortable
about disconnecting the plumbing, electrical and removing the
backsplash materials? Also you will have to dispose of the cabinets.
Either flatten them and feed them to your trash hauler or take them
out in good shape and give them away. If you know someone who wants
them then maybe you have an assistant. Figure one day for the work if
there are no surprises (valves that don't shut off, etc.). Watch for
nails in your shoes.
$600 sounds pretty cheap certainly not a bad price. Cabinets come down
fairly easy but not really a one man job it's nice to have some help with
the uppers. For the most part the cabinets are screwed or nailed to the wall
just pull the nail or unscrew the screw then mount them in the garage. The
counter tops are also easy if Formica just find the screws underneath. If
the counters are tile pay the $600. tile a messy pain in the ass.
If you do have them removed by the installer crew make sure they are
responsible for any unforeseen damage, broken pipe, shorted electrical ect.
You should also check the installers Contractors license, Liability
insurance, workman's comp. I have torn out a-lot of kitchens but I was
remodel contractor for about seven years so I don't think twice about it.
much time as you figure. I did mine all by myself. Consider exactly what you
are doing before you begin . Are the walls plaster or drywall? Are you
taking out a soffit? It is not that hard, just make sure you have allotted
enough time to do it.
Depends on the price. First quote I had for demolishing
my tile countertop was $1000. I was gonna do it myself.
In the end, my granite guy offered to do it for $250.
Accepting that offer was a no-brainer.
Really good gloves and safety goggles. Do NOT even think
about starting without those two items.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
We did it. I don't recall how long it took but it wasn't long because
we weren't saving the cabinets. Couldn't really save 'em because each
was one long cabinet with multiple doors, made from pine and plywood,
no back, several coats of paint. Really just four long cabinets. I
guess that's 'custom'...
Eye protection, gloves, prybar, claw hammer, catspaw or similar for
removing nails, vice grips (also for nails), long handled sledge,
smaller (3 lb or so) sledge, screwdriver, shop vac.
We sawed away the countertop so as to leave the sink portion of the
cabinet in place until the new ones came in, so that there would be as
little down time (without sink) as possible.
1. Ask the cabinetr company if they want you to keep or remove the boxing
above the cabinets.
2. Demo with a plan, not that lame-a** crap you see on the design channels.
Look for cabinet units and remove as such. If there are none and it was
constructed on the wall (there won't be any back on these - just the drywall
or plaster showing back there), you will need to remove the doors, then the
door frames and then the shelving, which will be coming down on its own at
this point. Have a second pair of hands with you.
3. Do as the previous poster suggested and leave the sink intact for your
4. If you don't know anything about electricity you need to have someone
assist you with any disconnects.
5. If you don't have shut-off valves on the supply lines to the sink plan on
having quarter-turn valves put in. They beat the socks off of the old
style, multi turn valve.
6. Don't freak when you see all the holes that you accidentally put the
walls. They are easily repaired with joint compound.
7. Now is the time to plan for additional electrical outlets
along the backsplash and perhaps a string of low voltage lights under the
cabinets for low level ambient light. There are larger, higher wattage
fixtures which you can stagger along the power strip for task lighting.
When not needed some have a switch and other require that you twit the
fixture about 1/4 turn to turn them off. One of the best things we did in
our project. You will need an electrician for this unless you are
experienced. This is the bes time to do this since they may need to open a
hole in the wall for access to a power source for the transformer.
8. I'll shut up now!
It is just labor and time, no special skills needed. It is easier to remove
the cabinets from the walls rather than just smash them though. Take a
close look and you may see where the screws are holding them to the wall,
and to each other. A reversible drill with screwdriver bit makes quick work
Before you pay to have the cabinets hauled away tot he dump, you can
probably give them away. Lots of people us old kitchen cabinets in the
garage or basement.
Did a complete demo of the kitchen cabinets when the wife and I redid
the kitchen in 2005.
First, good equipment is essential: heavy-duty gloves, eye protection
and at least two good prybars. Maybe a sawzall or rotary zip tool for
the really stubborn stuff. And a couple of people to help you with the
Questions to consider before beginning: what kind of plumbing and
electrical are you going to have to work around to remove the
cabinets? How old are the cabinets and how were they mounted to the
wall? Do you want to use the cabinets elsewhere or give them to
someone who can, or are you going to trash/recycle them?
For example, the upper cabinets in my kitchen were mounted directly to
the cinder block firewall between our house and the neighbor, and they
were mounted with masonry cut nails. Bolts would have made it nearly
impossible to get the cabinets down intact.
We needed to get them down intact because we were donating them to a
local organization that provides building materials to people who are
struggling economically. It was well worth the extra time and care to
get them out without damaging them.
Be prepared also that things behind the cabinets may be in worse shape
than you expected when you are done. Factor in time to repair and
patch, and really spend the time to prep the walls properly to make
your new cabinet installation as easy as possible. Don't spend time
worrying about seams and paint, but definitely make the wall flat,
anticipate curvature and bumps that may get in the way of the cabinets
mounting flush to the wall.
Oh, and definitely, definitely definitely map our your studs or other
anchoring locations, and try doing some test fitting to plan your
screw points before you hang your first cabinet. It will save you
loads of headaches later.
As to the greater question, would I do my own kitchen remodel again?
In a heartbeat. There are kitchens built for looks, and kitchens built
for cooks. Most homes have the fomer; I want to make sure mine is the
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.