There’s one common denominator that almost every homeowner refers to when discussing the lack of a bathroom remodel – “it’s just not in the budget.”
It’s true that renovating a bathroom can be quite the expensive project. According to the 2014 Cost vs. Value report, a midscale restroom remodel runs about $16,000. That being said the project brings a return on investment of about 73%, which is actually one of the better ROI percentages in the industry. Plus even more money can be recouped with a water saving toilet, sink, and shower that lowers utility bills.
Now that the value of a bathroom remodel has been established, we must look for ways to lower the cost as much as possible. A great way to limit the financial pain of the entire project and to save budget room for other amenities is to DIY the demolition of the current bathroom. The task will involve some elbow grease and there’s much more to demo than bashing walls with a sledgehammer (although that is one fun and stress-relieving aspect), but taking on this project by yourself can save you some significant funds…not to mention get you in good graces with the contractor who by this point in his or her career the demo bloom is off the rose.
Here’s what you need to know for successful DIY bathroom demolition:
Contact the Contractor
Obviously you’ll need to contact a contractor to get the work done but it’s best to get ahold of them right before you start the demo as well. First off you want to make sure they’re on schedule to visit your house on the set upon dates. You don’t want to smash up your bathroom and remove your toilet only to find out they’re still a month out from getting to your house. Second, the contractor can do one final visit and mark out what’s going and what is staying as per their blueprint and your wishes. Taking out a wall that was supposed to stay or removing tiling when not needed will significantly raise the final billing costs.
Once you’ve developed and confirmed a demo plan, it’s time to prepare for the job. There is a checklist that should be followed:
- Acquire a dumpster to place all the old drywall, tile, and fixtures. Even a smaller bathroom that’s being remodeled will result in a huge pile of rubbish and you need somewhere to put it all.
- Get the necessary tools required such as a sledgehammer, tile chipper, prybar, sink wrench, utility knife, screw gun, etc.
- Use protective foot wear, gloves, safety glasses, dust mask, and old clothes because it’s going to get messy and there will be exposed screws and nails.
- Lay down a non-slip tarp and seal off the doorway or hallway with plastic sheathing. Dust will be flying everywhere and the bathroom cleanup will be hard enough without debris flying into other parts of the home.
Turn Off Water / Electricity
Safety is the first priority in any home renovation project. Since there are wires running through the studs and behind drywall in the bathroom you should flip off power to the room through your breaker box. Likewise the water will need to be turned off via the shutoff valves in the bathroom if toilets, sinks, and bathtubs are being replaced.
Salvage What You Can
Another rewarding aspect of home renovation is saving items that are still in good condition or that can be salvaged. Even if it’s not your forte, many people like restoring old cabinets, shelves, etc. that may be in your bathroom. Even tubs can be donated to Habitat for Humanity and toilets used for garden planters, salt block holders, serving dishes at parties, and so on. By limiting what you toss it reduces the burden of a renovation on the environment.
Remove in Reverse
A good rule of thumb to follow when performing demolition in a bathroom is to remove items and features in the reverse way of how they were installed. For instance switchplate covers, light fixtures, and ceiling fans are usually the last pieces to be put in while finishing a bathroom so they should be taken down first. Continue that method onto the fixtures, cabinets, tiling, and sheetrock.
Final Demo and Cleanup
Most contractors will work with you on the little things but to enable them to get started remodeling ASAP make sure all the drywall screws are removed from the studs and all the tile glue and other debris scraped from the floor. Do a general sweep and clean up of the room and it should be ready to be brought back to life the morning the crew arrives.
By doing the demo work yourself it saves hundreds of dollars on the labor costs of the project and enables more of the budget to be spent on modern and luxurious décor and appliances. Plus, you’ll gain a little construction knowledge in the process to get started tackling the master bedroom renovation…in a year or two.