Learn demolition basics before you begin your home remodel.
Thinking about remodeling your bathroom but don't know how to get started? Breathing new life into an old bathroom may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. With a few easy steps, you can learn how to demo a bathroom and get ready for a successful and safe home or bathroom renovation project.
DIY Bathroom Demolition
The first step in a bathroom remodel is demolition work. There is nothing more appealing than ripping an existing bathroom to shreds. But really, who out there doesn't love demo day where you can use a pry bar to destroy stuff? If you ever need a little therapeutic exercise, I highly recommend it.
Luckily, the upstairs small bathroom in our farmhouse style home was due for an overhaul with all of its dated fixtures. This DIY bath remodel took about 6 weeks to complete from demo to finish.
What You Need for a DIY Demolition Project
- Razor blade or utility knife - to run along the silicone lines
- Crowbar - or anything flat you can get under the tile
- Broom for clean up
- Bucket to catch water and for clean up
- Towel to clean up water
- Shop vac
- Safety glasses
- Knee pads
- Mr. Muscles for some heavy lifting - my husband makes the process go much faster!
Beginning with a good foundation is key. You might think that you can just lay floor tile or shower tile right on top of the subfloor or drywall. Not so! If you want something that will last and be good quality, take the time to do it right and give yourself a good foundation to begin your remodel.
How to Demo a Bathroom
Clear Out Bathroom
First thing, begin by taking everything out of the bathroom. Remove items off of the walls including towel racks and hooks. Clean out medicine cabinet before removal.
Shut Off Water
It's important to shut off your water lines. Turn off your valves under the sink and disconnect them from the water faucet.
Remove Vanity and Toilet
The next step is to remove the old bathroom vanity. It's a good idea to have a second person for this job.
Then it is time to get rid of the toilet. Be sure to remove all of the water from the toilet tank. You will also need to take out the bolts on either side of the toilet base. Pull up to remove it. Toilets are super heavy so you may need help in carrying it out of the bathroom.
Take Out Baseboards and Flooring
To pave the way for new flooring, remove all of the baseboards. This will make it easier to remove the outdated tile, linoleum or whichever type of flooring is in your bathroom. We had to spend a little time to remove the flooring because it was attached to the subfloor. We also discovered a second subfloor underneath that had to be taken out as well because of water damage.
A note about water damage:
Always be prepared for the unexpected when doing a demo project! I have yet to pull apart a bathroom that doesn't have some sort of water damage. If you find this in your bathroom, don't be too alarmed. First, you need to check a few things.
Is the area still wet? If it is still wet, then water is still leaking from somewhere. You need to find the leak and stop it. If it isn't wet, then the next test is how strong is the plywood? If it is at all squishy, replace it. But, if it is still hard like ours was, then spray it with bleach and let it dry all the way out for a few days. Once it is dry you can continue with your bathroom updates.
Remove Shower Fixtures
Take out your shower fixtures, including shower head and shower walls. This includes removing the shower surround or tile. Be careful as you do this. Shower surrounds are heavy and can fall and damage your bathtub. We are keeping our bathtub so we took extra care with this step.
If you are planning on reusing any fixtures, be careful to remove them and place them where you can keep track of all the parts.
We ended up also removing the old sheet rock because of the water damage and because it still had liquid nails attached to it.
The last thing to do when you demo a bathroom is clean up. Sweep big chunks of material using a broom and dust pan. An easy way to remove the fine dust and smaller particles is by using a dry vac. It helps to clean as you go so your work area is more functional and you don't end up tracking stuff around your house.
Getting Ready for Tile: Foundation
After you have done all of your hard work and demolition, now is a good opportunity to prepare your foundation for remodel.
When you are installing new tile, whether that is wall tile or floor tile, it is important you have a flat and level surface or you can run into problems with installation. So to be safe, we installed new mold and mildew resistant sheetrock on the walls.
On the floor we installed ¼" thick cement board. Cement backboard creates a very smooth surface and is great stability for tile. Do not lay tile directly onto subfloor. You will want your floor as level as possible to make it easier for tile installation. Also, don't forget to cut out areas for your plumbing.
And there you have all you need to demo a bathroom and prepare for the overall appearance of your new bathroom. Remodeling an entire bathroom is easiest when you begin with a good foundation.
Take a look at more bathroom renovation inspiration here with our half bathroom makeover.
Or this gorgeous farmhouse master bathroom remodel here.
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