Remodeling Kitchens: Demolition
There's always some demolition involved in a kitchen remodel. The process usually means removing the old kitchen elements in the reverse order they were installed: 1) Appliances, 2) Plumbing, 3) Fixtures, 4) Countertops, 5) Cabinets.
For many kitchen projects, the demolition also involves re-framing in order to add or remove a door, window or wall. That requires clearing off the wall surface to expose the old framing and perform any necessary structural changes.
Re-framing will usually impact the home's structural integrity, so before opening up the walls and attempting any structural changes, be sure to:
Discuss plans with your local building inspection department.
Get all necessary permits.
Follow the relevant building codes.
Schedule inspections as required.
Many communities require permits anytime you open up a wall regardless of structural changes. But the permits and inspections are your assurance that the project will be done safely, and most building officials can help you do the best job possible.
TIP: It's a good idea to rent a construction dumpster to hold all the debris generated by a kitchen demolition.
Remove these first to clear space for removing the other elements. Rent an appliance dolly to help wheel out the heavy ones, especially if you're working alone. If your refrigerator has an ice-maker attachment, be sure to turn the water off before disconnecting the water supply tube in back. And if you have gas appliances, consult a licensed plumber about disconnecting them.
These are basically the sink and dishwasher. First, disconnect any drain and water supply pipes (again, make sure the water's turned off and have a bucket ready for the water left in P-traps). Dishwashers are usually secured to the countertop or the neighboring cabinets, so remove those screws before trying to slide it out. If the sink is caulked to the countertop, you can free it with a pry bar, but if it's clipped to the top from below, you'll have to remove the clips first.
Countertops are usually attached to the cabinets by screws drilled from below through the cabinet framing or special blocking in the upper corners of the cabinets. So before pulling off the top, go into each base cabinet and remove all the screws going up into the countertop. If it doesn't budge after that, it's probably glued down so use a pry bar to pull it up.
When you're removing cabinets, get the base units out first. That way you're not reaching up over them when you're removing the upper cabinets. If you're dealing with stock box cabinets, they're usually just screwed into the wall framing and into each other. So removing those screws is about all you have to do to remove the cabinets. But if the cabinets were framed on site and literally built in, you'll probably have to rip or cut them apart with a reciprocating saw.