Home demolition can be kind of fun--after all, it isn't very often that you get to smash things with a sledgehammer. However, it also takes a good deal of thought and planning to make sure you and your home are protected from avoidable damage. Read on to get some tips for a safe and successful demolition.
Before You Start
You'll need to survey the area you are demolishing before you begin. Find out what is behind the walls in the way of water or gas pipes, asbestos, or electrical wiring. Look at the blueprints for your house and use holes and flashlights to inspect. If you blindly and overzealously tear into the drywall, you could damage something or even get electrocuted.
TIP: Switch off the power to the room that you are demoing. Test your circuit breaker or fuse box to isolate any outlets or light switches in the room.
Seal off the demo area from the rest of your house. There is going to be a lot of dust and debris in the air, and you don't want to make an unnecessary mess. Use sheets of plastic to cover any open doorways and protect your floor or carpet if you don't want to put a new one down afterward.
What You Need
To get the job done right and stay protected, you should have the following tools to demo a room in your house:
- Pry bar
- Face mask (to keep dust out of your lungs)
- Protective eyewear
- Screw gun/drill with appropriate bits
- Utility knife
- Method of disposal (heavy duty trash bags or a trash can and dumpster)
The Demolition Process
- Remove everything from the room. If there are appliances connected to gas or water, make sure that there is nothing flowing to them before removal.
- Any wall- or floor-mounted fixtures, like cabinets and shelving units, can be removed by scraping away any paint adhering them to the area and then unscrewing them. If you are going to be renovating your bathroom or kitchen, you'll have countertops and sinks to contend with as well.
TIP: Dress appropriately. Wear thick-soled boots; stepping on a nail is no fun at all. You'll also want a hat and probably something long-sleeved to protect your arms. Don't forget gloves, either!
- Use the crowbar and pry bar to remove any molding.
- Swing the hammer in between the studs to get a hole big enough, and start tearing down the plaster or sheetrock. Use your crowbar to pry off big pieces.
- Dispose of everything in a rented container, or call a service to pick everything up.
Once you've swept, you'll be looking at a blank canvas to make into the room of your dreams!