Bathroom Demolition: What Can I Do Myself?

Even though your bathroom is one of the most utilitarian parts of your home, it’s nice to spruce things up from time to time. In order to make major changes, bathroom demolition will be necessary. While it can sound fairly straight forward, there are a lot of sensitive aspects to consider. In this piece, we’ll take a look at what is involved in the process of bathroom demolition.

Safety First: Electrical & Water

Every bathroom is going to have water and electrical lines running to the space. Before any demolition or even furniture removal is to begin, both will need to be disconnected from the room. The electricity to the bathroom will probably be switched off at the electric service panel that contains the home’s circuit breaker switches. The water supply to the bathroom should also be turned off from the main supply. More modern plumbing installations will give homeowners and specialists the ability to switch the water off to each individual room or water source. Older plumbing setups may require manually turning off each water supply at its wall source. The water in the toilet will be flushed out after water is turned off and the pipes will be drained. All water sources will be treated with caution to avoid damage. Light fixtures, wall outlets, and switches are all carefully removed.

Removing The Breakables: Mirrors, Sinks, & Toilet

The most fragile aspects of the bathroom are typically removed before any demolition is to begin. Mirrors are handled with the utmost care to preserve them for reuse or at the very least prevent mess or injury. Many mirrors are held in with brackets, but some are glued in place. Demolition professionals should approach these with caution and precision. While toilets do not seem breakable, they are typically made of porcelain. If this porcelain is broken, the shards can be extremely sharp, so all toilets should be handled with care within the home. Most toilets are two sections bolted together but can be removed in one piece. The base of the toilet will likely be sealed into the floor, which will need to be cut away with a utility knife. More fragile sinks are also removed with caution, especially if they are made of porcelain or glass. If they are built into the vanity, they will be removed with the vanity.

Removing the Sink & Vanity

Many sinks are built into the vanity as one piece, thus they are removed together. After the water sources are carefully disconnected, the vanity or sink is detached and removed. Most vanities are mounted into the wall with brackets, bolts, or screws. These will need to be removed before demolition can begin. Some vanities will be sealed into the wall, which will need to cut away with some form of a utility knife.

Removing the Shower or Tub

Before removing a shower or tub, it is always best to make sure that the water supply is completely turned off some from its source. In many bathrooms, there is typically some way of accessing a water service panel often located on the wall behind the hot and cold water knobs. This is sometimes accessed through a linen closet or some other point of entry. All spout handles, knobs, and shower heads are carefully removed. Drain baskets are pried out. If the tub or shower floor and/or walls are caulked into place, the caulking will be cut away with a utility knife. The tub or shower unit will be removed with prying leverage and force. This can be a messy and even dangerous process.

Further Demolition Can Finally Begin

Once the utilitarian elements of the bathroom have been safely removed, the demolition of less essential elements can begin. Depending on the new design, a bathroom may or may not be reduced to its wall studs in the process. Precautions and plans were made in advance as for how to remove the debris, which is frequently put into a dumpster outside of the home. Elements of the bathroom that the homeowner wishes to reuse are carefully preserved until they are used again.

Using Professionals vs Do-It-Yourself

A bathroom demolition, when done in consideration of all potential dangers, messes, and laws regarding such activity, can be accomplished by a handier homeowner. Still, due to the potential for errors that can wind up being extremely messy, dangerous, expensive, and even illegal, it is still recommended to hire a bathroom demolition professional for the task. While the removal of some of the non-essentials can plausibly be carried out by an average homeowner when the right safety and debris precautions are made, removal of essential elements, fragile components, and utilities is best left to the professionals.