Demo Kitchen

24 Essential Mistakes to Avoid When Demoing a Kitchen

Junk Removal Advice:

Demoing a kitchen is an exciting time for homeowners, but the demo process must go smoothly. If done improperly, you could end up with damage to your walls or floors that might require costly repairs. Here are some essential mistakes to avoid when demoing a kitchen:

1) Not Shutting Off Gas Lines
If you plan to demo your kitchen cabinets before removing the sink and dishwasher, make sure to shut off any gas lines that might be connected. Often, appliances like these will be located near a gas line or gas pipe, so it’s easy for homeowners to forget about turning them off when they are doing their demo work. If this is not turned off, you risk having an explosive situation if the gas gathers too much pressure inside the line. This could even cause an explosion in your home! That’s something nobody wants to deal with at 8 am on a Sunday.

2) Leaning on Cabinets During Demo Work
Cabinets are often filled with items that need to be safely removed, but it’s important to not lean on them or pull on them during your demo work. You can damage the walls or flooring if you are drawing on cabinets that are still attached. Instead, carefully remove what you need and then go back later to handle any heavy lifting that needs to be done with these appliances.

3) Not Wearing Eye Protection
Dust is sure to fly while doing your demo work, so make sure you wear goggles or safety glasses whenever possible. This will protect your eyes from harmful dust particles that may get kicked up in the air during this process. If debris accumulates in your eye, it could cause serious issues for you down the line, don’t take any chances! It is just as important that children wear goggles to prevent injury.

4) Not Covering Your Floors
It is very easy for debris to get on your floors when you are demoing a kitchen, so it’s important to take steps to cover them before you begin. You can do this by placing down drop cloths or taping off the floor with paper and masking tape. This is all it takes, so don’t forget to do this one crucial step!

5) Forgetting About Electric Lines
If you plan on removing items like electrical outlets, it’s important that you shut off the power first before moving forward. Many homeowners often forget about these lines because they aren’t behind cabinets like gas lines might be. If electrical lines are running to appliances you plan on removing, shut off the power before moving forward with your demo work.

6) Trampling Earthen Materials
Many homeowners choose to put in earthen materials when they are doing their kitchen remodel. This is a popular trend right now because of its natural beauty and clean look. Unfortunately, care must be taken not to destroy these materials during demo work! Make sure to cover them with drop cloths or some protective layer so that it’s safe for you to walk on them during your process.

7) Not Using Dust Masks When Possible
If possible, you should consider buying yourself a dust mask when you are doing your demolition work in your home. There is always a chance that you’ll end up breathing in some of the dust that is flying around, so it’s important to protect yourself from this whenever possible. It can be difficult to wear a mask when working since they tend to get in the way and fog up your glasses, but take a few minutes each day to put on your mask and keep it on during demo work.

8) Not Checking Your Appliances
Often people would like their appliances removed before the cabinets come out of the wall. Make sure there is enough clearance around each device so that they can be pulled away or pushed back far enough. Oversized overhanging cabinets over the sink (24″) may prevent some types of dishwashers from sitting flush against the countertop and give you less space on your countertops, depending on how they sit in front of the cabinet. Also, check if your cabinets have adjustable hinges; they allow the doors to be removed without cutting them off at the hinge locations.

9) Under-cutting or Over-cutting Your Door Hinges
Ensure you are undercutting your door hinges 4″-6″ on each side when removing your cabinet doors. Typically it is best to cut near the floor not to damage any existing floors or walls. You can also ask for a “strap hinge,” which allows you to remove the door from the outer edge of the hinge rather than cutting in with a jigsaw and ruining your cabinet faces in most cases. Unfortunately, these straps are only available for face frame cabinets with non-removable hinges longer than 3″.

10) Stripping Your Screws
If you are removing your cabinet doors with screws, be sure to take the time to remove them properly. Use a drill bit set to “reverse” and drill out all of the stripped heads. Typically this requires that the screw head be drilled two or three times before it breaks loose from the groove that holds it in place. A small amount of silicone spray lubricant can help as well. Be careful not to push too hard when drilling, or you will strip out your screwheads even further and cause more damage than good! If you’re using a jigsaw, avoid cutting near any screws as they could catch on the blade and kick back at you, which could cause injury- especially if children are present.

11) Not Preparing for the “Waste.”
We all like to think that there is no waste in our project, but some wood is inevitable. Ensure you know what type of cabinets you are removing (face frame or frameless), how many hinges per door, and what hardware they have on them (bump-out, strap hinge). If you want your doors thrown away rather than given back to you at the end of the project, make sure it doesn’t contain any metal hardware (chrome knobs/pulls will not be reused). You don’t know where those knobs could end up! At Minimum Carpentry, we offer pull tags on every cabinet door so that cabinet companies or future homeowners can reuse your old hardware for a quick and easy installation process.

12) Removing Your Base Cabinets
Sometimes removing base cabinets can be essential to your demo, but they must be labeled as “base” with large arrows pointing up if the wall they are on needs to come out. This provides homeowners with a nice opportunity to remove some countertop from their island or peninsula and move appliances around that might have been stuck in place before by one of those pesky base cabinets. Just make sure you secure them well underneath the countertops! After the project has been completed, some people also choose to reattach their toe kicks (the piece under your cabinet that covers your flooring) for an easier clean-up process. If you’ve decided to remove your toe kicks, measure them and keep these measurements for the new installation.

13) Not Taping Off Everything in Your Home
After your reno is complete, you should always make sure to use a spray can primer or brush-on “touch up paint” before you retake possession of your home. This will ensure that there are no marks left on walls/doors/cabinets from tools etc. Make sure to take this step seriously, as you don’t want your new cabinets or paint job to have scratches all over them! You could also go the extra mile and include bumpers on each cabinet door that could help protect against light damage. And lastly, invest in some plastic liners for your cabinets. That way, if you do manage to scratch the doors or barge into them somehow, they will be cushioned and protected from further damage!

14) Not Taping Off Your Windows/Doors
For whatever reason, no matter how much we try to avoid it, there is always a tiny bit of paint that gets left behind on our windows and doors. Avoid this by taping off any loose fixtures with painter’s tape before you begin painting. It is also important for safety reasons as most community insurance policies will void coverage if the home was not prepared appropriately before renovations were made! Make sure your door hinges are taped off as well- they can get stained pretty easily too! If you’re painting wood, make sure they are sanded evenly, so the paint properly adheres. If you are using an oil-based primer or topcoat, touch up with a brush or spray before painting your doors/windows to ensure no marks.

15) Not Removing All Cabinets in Your Home
Any cabinets that have to be demoed out must have enough space for your project to be given back to you rather than thrown away. This can get confusing when it comes to measuring for new ones because if the cabinets aren’t put back where they originally were, the measurements will be off! Make sure not only do you take them out, but make sure they are labeled as “demo’d” so they are not thrown away like garbage! When your cabinets are demo’d, you will be left with empty spaces where the cabinets once were. Identify these bare spots and measure them before heading to the store for your new kitchen cabinet purchase.

16) Not Stripping the Original Cabinets
There is no way around it- stripping cabinets is a royal pain. However, if you don’t strip your old cabinets (even if they are painted with high-quality paint), there will be streaks of old color left behind on your new custom cabinet installation. The same goes for doors and drawers; make sure they are super clean before moving forward! If you can afford to spend the extra time or money doing this step, it will pay off in the end because your kitchen will look like an entirely new room instead of just a simple refurbishment/renovation.

17) Not Highlighting Your Appliances
It’s always nice to see the appliances peek through that freshly installed or backsplash tile! If you are staining your cabinets, try adding a thin strip of molding along the bottom. Not only will this highlight them, but it will also protect against chipping or damage that may occur over time. If highlights aren’t your thing, make sure to paint around all of your appliances so there are no gaps!

18) Failing To Demo Old Cabinets/Countertops Before Installing New Ones
Ok, so let’s say you’ve decided to go with custom cabinetry for your new renovation, super awesome! However, if you fail to demo out the old cabinets/countertop before installing them, you’re going to have an annoying problem on your hands- seams in between cabinets. This is because the countertop needs to rest on top of your kitchen countertop so it can be properly installed and sealed. Make sure all old materials are completely out before installation!

19) Not Using a Primer or Top Coat for Paint
When you paint cabinets, doors, and trim, the finish will not last as long if you do not use a primer or topcoat. This is because these surfaces absorb oil-based products better than water-based products. With that being said, using either will prolong the life of your paint. The difference between the two is that primers contain more oils than topcoats, which will seal better against stains on wood finishes.

20) Taking Too Long to Decide What You Want
In a rush to get your renovation done quickly, don’t take too long to decide what you want! In all seriousness, it’s easy for one of our clients to lose their patience while waiting on a project. The trick is not going into this with a closed mind and being open-minded about your options. If you have a certain look in mind, then feel free to bring pictures or even images found online. Be specific during this phase so that there are no mistakes!

21) Not Saving The Leftovers From Your Cabinets/Trim/Countertops
Yes, we said it- save them! These items can come in super handy when trying to match paint colors, stains, etc. There is also nothing worse than wasting money on new materials when you already have them on hand right now!

22) Using Low-Quality Paint for Cabinets
This is a pretty common mistake to make. If you visit the paint section of any big box store, they will most likely try encouraging you into buying cheap paint for cabinets. This is not always the best choice because they are often flat (non-reflective) paints, which means once installed, your cabinets will look like plastic. Save yourself some serious cash and invest in high-quality paint! Also, don’t forget about using a primer first before the topcoat!

23) Hiring Someone Just Because They Are Cheap
We all know how expensive renovations can be, so sometimes, we want to save as much money as possible by hiring someone that is “cheap.” However, hiring the cheapest person you can find usually comes back to bite you in the butt because, more than likely, they will try and cut corners which means shortcuts, mistakes, and lower quality work.

24) Not Consulting a Professional When You Need It
Welcoming someone into your home is never an easy decision, but we want to remind people that there are professionals out there who know what they’re doing and care about their clients. If you’re not sure where to start, then consult a professional contractor or designer and allow them to help guide you along!

In conclusion, there are many mistakes you can make when demoing your kitchen. However, these are some of the most common so be sure to follow these tips and avoid them!

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