DIY Bathroom Tearout

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Job

Tear out all the junk in the bathroom; try and save some of the not junk from my dad. Challenge accepted.

Safety

Shoes, gloves, eye protection and a face mask are recommended. There was a lot of dust kicked up and a lot of small debris. We, as usual, should have been more careful. On the footwear side, there were a fair amount of nails sticking out from the floor and they probably would hurt to step on. I managed with shoes and gloves, I highly recommend the goggles and the face mask and regret not wearing them.

Tools

Materials

  • None for this job

Job Plan

  1. Start on the ceiling and work down. In our case, that meant the drywall and the shower. Use a hammer to pull the drywall off in chunks.
  2. Punch a hole with the hammer head, then use the claw to expand the hole. Once all the drywall is removed, start tearing out  unneeded 2 x 4.
  3. With the wall exposed, shut off the water and start cutting pipe. Water will remain in the pipe even if it is shut off; have your bucket ready.
  4. Once drywall and pipe is removed, remove additional 2 x 4 and supporting structures.
  5. If at all possible unscrew, and remove your shower in a single piece. In our case the shower would not fit through the door so we used the saw to cut it down to size. If you have help, one of you should use a vacuum to suck up the dust created by the saw while the other cuts away the fiberglass.
  6. Be aware of any stacks or pipes where you are cutting. Be aware of any objects on adjacent walls that will not respond well to vibration. In our case we had mirrors leaning against the opposite wall in the closet. We moved them to the other room while sawing out the shower.
  7. Remove any large pieces. Tearing the fiberglass is extremely difficult, cut as much as possible with the saw.
  8. Do a cleanup so that you don’t step on anything or lean against something.
  9. If there are any nails protruding remove them. Finish cutting out the pipe and cut out any remaining 2 x 4.
  10. When working with items you want to save, have your help stay well back and do it yourself. Trust me, you will be way more careful than they would be and you won’t be able to use the excuse: “I thought it was metal” after you try to jack it out with the hammer claw.
  11. Unscrew the counter top from the vanity.
  12. Unscrew the pipes from the fixture.
  13. Remove the counter.
  14. Break down or save the vanity by unscrewing it.If
  15. Tidy up.
  16. Remove the floor by either tearing it up or cutting it into strips then pulling it up. I recommend a heavy duty garbage bag. It makes it easier.
  17. Clean up any remaining debris and prep for the installation (plan out next steps, and buy necessary materials).

Notes

The hardest part of this job is knowing what is worth saving and what can be thrown out. If it’s old and rotten, it can probably go, but even our vanity counter might have found a second life somewhere if we had been a little gentler with it. In particular I regret losing the sink, but in the long run it may prove to be easier to buy something new than to shoehorn the piece we wanted to save.

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