Demolition in a renovation | What is really on the ‘to do’ list

demolition for a renovation

Demolition in a renovation | What is really on the ‘to do’ list

When it comes to a demolition in a renovation, most people think that demolition can actually be fun. You’ve all seen the demolition reels on TV shows. Swinging sledge hammers, breaking through drywall… it sounds a little fun, doesn’t it? I can just feel the testosterone building!

When we deal with a renovation budget, I stress that labour takes up a major part of the budget (roughly 2/3). Taking on some of the work, known as sweat equity, is one way to ease the overall budget. There are two areas where most clients will inquire about putting in a little sweat equity:

  • demo
  • painting

For this blog, I’m going to specifically talk about demolition. I’ll get to painting on a different blog.

Sweat Equity in a Renovation

Every project we work on involves some type of demolition. When it comes to saving some of the renovation budget, taking on demolition is one area that is discussed. But what exactly is involved in the process that we call ‘demolition’?

For this blog, I went to my trusted source, my Site Supervisor Sherman Quinlan.

Sherman Quinlan, Site Supervisor who owns and operates Q2 Developments.

The fun stuff

While some demolition may be fun, and help with a little stress relief, there is actually quite a bit of work that is involved with demolition.

The reality of demolition in a renovation

When it comes to the sledge hammer and breaking through drywall, that is only a fraction of what needs to be done during a demolition in a renovation project.

For an upcoming project, our clients have asked about taking on the demo. My response is always the same,

we have run into situations where the client was looking after demo and when our crews came, the demo was only half done.  This put us behind schedule and had us rearranging the entire construction calendar. 

In order for us to never be in that situation again, Sherman will pull together a full list of what falls under ‘demo’. Here is his list for a master bathroom project that we have slated to start at the end of August.

  • disconnect water lines
  • remove toilet
  • remove vanity sink
  • remove faucet
  • remove vanity top
  • remove cabinet
  • remove baseboards and nails
  • remove towel bars, hooks and toilet paper holders
  • disconnect vanity lights
  • remove shower door
  • remove shower base
  • remove lino
  • remove k3 underlay under the lino
  • remove carpet to the doorway
  • remove staples and glue from the subfloor. Make smooth for the new
  • remove mirror
  • remove tile from around the shower
  • remove most of the ceiling including screws/nails
  • remove drywall with texture from the walls including screws/nails.
  • scrape glue from studs where old drywall was removed.
  • cut open most of the floor for plumbing changes / relocations.
  • remove nails/screws and scrape glue from the floor joists.
  • take all garbage away
  • have site ready for rough in electrical and plumbing (vacuum up dust)

Main bath demo – ready for rough in plumbing.

As you can see, it’s more than just banging through a wall.

Your choices

While we love to provide full service and look after the entire project (and yes, that is my control freak in me speaking), we are always open to having clients save a bit on their budget by pitching in. It is my belief that if my clients can stick to the ‘to do’ list, and get their work done in the time allotted on the construction calendar, then we’re all good to go!

Looking at taking on some of the work for your next renovation project? I’ve complied a little list of the tools I love to use when I roll up my sleeves to help out. While it’s not sexy faucet, I have used all of the items listed below to either protect myself or use during the messy stage of demolition.

The items below contain affiliate links. Any purchases, at no additional charge to you, are most appreciated and make this blog possible.


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