Bathroom Demotion: Starting from Square One (Guide)

Bathroom Demotion: Starting from Square One (Guide)

Bathroom Demotion: Starting from Square One

Description: Whether you are planning to do your bathroom remodeling yourself or have a contractor do it, you can save money by demolishing the old bathroom yourself – here are some tips. 16.1

Whether you are planning to do your bathroom remodeling yourself or have a contractor do it, you can save money by demolishing the old bathroom yourself. It’s a big job, especially if your house is old and the tile floor was laid on concrete. However, I wanted to use the major part of my budget for a high-quality bathroom vanity, new bathtub and toilet, so the next logical step is to do the demolition myself.

Even if there’s no way you can do it yourself, if you know the right way to do it, you can hire a student for a lot less than a contractor will charge. I’ll give you the main steps for completely gutting your bathroom including the bathroom vanity for a total remodel.

Gutting a Bathroom Requires Taking Care

Since a bathroom has drains and a water supply along with electrical outlets, completely demolishing a bathroom is a bit different from gutting a bedroom. There are also major fixtures such as your vanity, bathtub, shower stall and toilet that need to be carefully removed. In some municipalities, a building permit is required before the demolition can start. I called my local building code department to learn about the current regulations for doing a bathroom renovation.

Make the Room Safe

After you have removed all the wall hangings, mirrors and accessories, the first step is to make the room safe by 16.2turning off its electricity and water supply. Your circuit breaker should have a clearly marked switch that connects to the bathroom. There will be a circuit map on the panel that shows you the switch for the bathroom. Turn it to the off position. You can remove any light fixtures on the wall or vanity at this time and arrange to hang a work light with an extension cord to another room.

The water supply to the bathroom should have its own valve that is near the main water supply valve and be clearly marked. When you locate the one that serves the bathroom, you can turn it off. You may be able to shut off the water supply beneath each fixture such as inside the bath vanity cabinet and behind the toilet. Once the water is turned off, you can drain out all the water from the pipes by turning on the faucets and flushing the toilet. There was a small amount of water left in my toilet tank which I blotted out with a rag.

Removing the Vanity and Sink

I put a pan under the sink drain of my bathroom vanity in case there was any water left in the trap. There are nuts around the P trap that can be unscrewed with an adjustable wrench. Anything in the drain trap can be dumped into the pan and a rag stuffed into the drain pipes to prevent sewer gas from escaping into the room. The nuts for the hot and cold taps can be unscrewed, so the taps can be pulled off the water supply lines that stick out of the wall.

A bathroom vanity may have mounting brackets that are bolted to the wall, but my bath vanity had an integrated counter that rests on the vanity. If it’s bolted to the wall, the bolts need to be undone to remove the brackets. If it’s a countertop bath vanity, you may want help lifting the sink off. You also may need to unscrew the bath vanity cabinet from the wall. The cabinet may be caulked to the wall and floor. The caulking can be scored with a utility knife for easy removal.

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How to Remove the Toilet

There are two places other than the base to unscrew on the toilet. One is the inlet supply pipe that in underneath the bottom of the tank and the other is the water supply line from the wall. Once these are disconnected, the toilet can be lifted from the base. The base may have nuts that need to be unscrewed to remove it from the floor.

My toilet was 40 years old, so I used WD 40 to make it easier to unscrew the bolts. If there is caulking, it can be cut and removed. All of the bolts and flanges need to be removed from the floor. Again, I stuffed a large rag into the open pipe to prevent sewer gas from entering the room.

Remove the Bathtub and Shower

First, the taps and spout need to be removed, and then the metal drain. If the tub or shower is fiberglass, you can yank it lose from the glue that holds it to the walls. If the tub is porcelain or tile, you’ll need to wear protective goggles and use a crowbar and hammer to get it away from the wall. If there is caulking, it can be scored to loosen its grip on the tub or shower pan.

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The Walls and Floor

I found this the easiest to do. I pried off the baseboard and molding strip as well as the door and window frames. My floor was sheet vinyl, which I removed by slicing it with my utility knife and pulling it up in sections. If your floor is tile, it’s a bit more complicated, but not impossible. Just loosen them on the grout line and chisel them out.

The walls will crumble when you start pounding them with a hammer. This is the time you’ll want to carry out the debris as you go and possibly vacuum some of the dust. If there is insulation behind the drywall, this also needs to go. If the insulation is blown-in fiberglass, scoop it out and put it into a plastic bag. If the walls are plaster and lathe, first remove the plaster before you pry off the lathe.

I recommend that you work in sections and carry out the debris from one section before starting on another. I demolished my bathroom in one day. When the contractors came the next day, they had a clean slate on which to install my new, beautiful bathroom fixtures I got from Modern Bathroom.

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