If you’ve waited 20 years to redo your kitchen, you may be eager to break out the sledge hammer and safety googles. Our best advice is carefully put down the hammer and follow these 5 steps first.

Step 1: Figure out the Scope of Your Project

Demolishing your kitchen is an essential step to any renovation, but it isn’t the first one. If you’ve decided on a DIY demolition, Research, research, research…If you are planning to do some,  or all of the work yourself, then you need to ask yourself how much of a renovation are you willing to do? Are you replacing your cabinets and counter tops and putting a fresh coat of paint or are you going to gut your kitchen, install new flooring, redo plumbing and electrical and take down a wall.  What trades will you need to hire for the work you can’t do yourself?

Step 2: Determine your Timeline

Whether you are a weekend warrior or a retiree, renovations take time and planning to be successful.  Understanding the amount of work involved and what your skill set and schedule will allow you to do are things you need to think about.  These will determine the best start date for your demolition process.  The last thing you want is to be without a kitchen for months due to poor planning.

Setting a timeline for your project begins by setting goals. Maybe you want your renovation complete in time for your holiday party. Perhaps you’re looking to create a more functional space, so you can prepare meals like a chef. Whatever your goal, make sure you take time to reflect on it. Establish an end date and then write down the steps needed to be finished by that date with estimates of how long it will take to complete each task. Give yourself a buffer or two. This will be your project schedule!  Check out our Kitchen Renovation Timeframe for a step by step look at renovation tasks and an average completion time.

Step 3: Establish Your Budget

Next you will want to set the budget for your project and evaluate all of the costs. Expenses include design products, tools and construction and finishing materials and who you will be hiring to do the work. Identifying your expenses and team will give you a timeline for receiving materials and when contractors are available to work. You will also want to apply for any necessary building permits needed to complete your project.

Lead times vary by cabinet manufacturer, so make sure you decide on products that will be able to meet your timeline. If you are purchasing new appliances, make sure to get delivery dates for these as well, and add them to your timeline as they will determine when you book a plumber and an electrician.  Once you have all this information, adjust your timeline accordingly.

Step 4: Prepare for Life Without a Kitchen

We recommend you receive all your products and check that your cabinets are in good condition before you start the demolition process, but wait there are still 2 more steps to go! Next, you’ll want to set up a temporary kitchen. Think about creating zones for meal prep (folding table, knives, cutting boards), for cooking (microwave, hotplate, using the barbecue), for cleaning dishes(using the laundry sink or a bathroom sink), and for storage (keep every day items accessible in clearly marked storage bins). Get boxes to store all your kitchen items and dry food during the renovation and clearly label these. This will save you time when you go to set up your new kitchen. For more tips, read our Temporary Kitchen Guide.

Step 5: Gathering Your Demolishing Tools

You’ve got your scope of work, your timeline, your budget and your temporary kitchen set up, so now can you swing the hammer?  Almost, your final step is to ensure you have the proper tools for demolishing your kitchen.  Making a list of what you have and what you’ll need and actually having the supplies in advance will save you repeat trips to the hardware store.

Essential tools for a DIY Demolition 

Hammer                                           Putty knife                        Closed toed shoes or work boots

Crowbar                                            Utility knife                      Appropriate clothing

Pry Bar                                              Pliers                                 Dumpster (make sure to reserve this in advance)

Safety glasses                                   Ladder

Screwdriver                                      Drop cloth

Sledgehammer                                 □ Dust masks

Printable Demolition Tools Checklist 

Just one last tip, if you are removing any walls, make sure you’ve got proper support if they are load bearing and have the sign off from an engineer.  Make small holes at first to find where plumbing and electrical are running, so you don’t create headaches and more things to fix. Turn off water and electrical breakers that are in your target demolition zone.  Now you’re ready!  Happy Demo Day!