Laundry Room Demolition: Phase 1

Let me start by saying I’ve learned a few things since the bathroom remodel that kicked off the whole house renovation.

One of them, is that demo is only as bad as you make it. I watch a lot of DIY Network, HGTV, etc., and there are all of these shows where people just punch as many holes in their drywall as possible when tearing it out. Sure, it’s a great feeling and stress reliever to tear out walls, but the obliteration method takes a ton of energy and makes a huge mess to clean up. If you just start at the edges with a prybar, you can pull drywall off the studs in large pieces, saving time and making clean-up simple.

Also, since my first demolition project was not the best – lots of mold, rot, etc. – I had  had this really bad feeling about demo. I feared it would always be time consuming, super dirty, uncover tons of problems, and take years (I think Helen has this impression too). But what I’ve learned from the laundry room is that when a room has maintained its integrity – i.e. no water damage, etc. – demolition is quick and simple. The drywall came out in huge pieces, the studs weren’t rotten and the nails slid out of them like a hot knife through butter, rather than the rusted heads popping off and making every step a nightmare.

And with that, the demo…

First I took off all of the trim, covebase and scored the corners of the drywall with a utility knife. Then the drywall came off the outside of the closet.

And then the inside… rather than using a prybar for the inside, I just loosened it from the studs by hitting it from the outside with the full head of the hammer…

(sorry garbage man)

With all of the drywall nails removed, I started taking out the studs. I like to cut the nails between the top plate and the stud with a reciprocating saw, and then the stud will lift off the lower nails. Again something I see a lot on TV when people are doing demo is that they just cut through the middle of the stud. Why? Unless the stud is damaged, it’s valuable dimensional lumber… which you can RE-USE… and save money to put toward the aesthetic parts of the renovation… or a respirator for the dust…

Since I’m planning to re-use, I took all of the nails out of the studs and plates as I went. Lots of nails.

Once all of the studs were out, I pulled up the floor plates, and then the top plates. I find top plates are the hardest. Could be that I save them till the end and I’m worn out, or that they require reaching above your head, but it’s always a difficult task.

After prying for a while, I went into the attic to see what was up, The top plate for the closet interlocked with the top plate for the intersecting wall. Gah. There was a nail hidden somewhere. So I went back downstairs, and using a longer cipro-blade I cut the nail. And the plate slid right out.

I moved the lumber to the garage, vacuumed up the mess and here we are:

Ready for the next step.

And then I left the room.   Remember that longer reciprocating blade I decided to use to cut the nail out of the top plate? Well, turns out, there was a wall on the other side… a wall into our living room. Yep. Definitely cut right through it.


A little spackle, sanding and paint before the wifey gets home, and she’ll never know.

Oh wait… busted.

I blame it on this guy:

“Hiiii! Totally my fault, Mrs. Lee.”


  1. Mommy said:

    You’re silly, tattling on yourself!! I’m sure your wifey reads your blog!

    February 14, 2011
  2. Pa said:

    It’s always good to have an accomplice to take the rap for you.

    February 14, 2011

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