Tearing Down The Walls Of Heartache

Okay, so Patty Smith's lyrics are really "shootin' at the walls of heartache", but we would never be so violent in our haus. Nevertheless, we've definitely been warriors of the DIY sort over the past few weekends. This story of demolition started months ago with taking out the built-in banquette to make room for cupboards and more counter space and has ended with something that doesn't resemble a kitchen in the slightest. {Unless you count the fridge hanging out in a completely random spot in the middle of the room or the Flair that is about to be taken out of it's 40 year home in a few short hours.} Demo is pretty straight forward but we can all use some good tips so here are a few pointers to making it run more smoothly.

1} Be Prepared:
Not only do you need to be physically prepared but mentally prepared for what is about to happen to your once lovely home. The mental part is a lot harder to achieve and we certainly didn't get there, so I'll focus on the physical.
First you need a plan of attack. Know what is going to be taken out and when it's going to be taken out. Be very clear with your partner {if you have one} about this part. We weren't so much good at that and well... it caused problems. Before you tear down anything have the all the supplies you need. I.E. safety goggles, work gloves, high quality respirators {aka: face masks}, a few good hammers, a crowbar or two, a few chisel/scrapers {for removing trim}, heavy plastic, duct tape, cardboard or canvas to protect your floors {if you are not ripping them out too} some saran wrap, old sheets, a spray bottle, a shop vac, a roll-off dumpster, and of course various standard tools.

2} Be Proactive:
Seal ductwork and ventilation sources with saran wrap {seriously. it works so well}. Tape it up nice and tight around the edges. Cover your floor, if you like it, to prevent damage. Cover doorways with plastic on the side that is about to be destroyed and a sheet on the side you still like. Wet the sheet with water using the spray bottle. It will capture dust and spare the rest of your house from the storm that is about to ensue. {We unfortunately learned this one after the fact but we'll do it when we put up drywall} Just be sure to replace the sheet with a clean one every day.

3} Be Safe:
This is mostly coming from the husband as he swears I tried to kill him at least 3 times during the demo. Rather than relying on your wife who promises the power is off, get a multimeter and be sure. Wear a hat, long sleeves, jeans and closed toe shoes. Steve was stabbed in the belly by a piece of flying lath and I almost broke a toe when a crowbar fell on it. Husband was also plastered, literally. A large chunk flew off and nearly broke his nose. Although it's fun and it can take the place of a gym visit and therapy session in one go, demo can also be pretty dangerous. Also, be sure not to hit your partner in the head with a pot when you are doing dishes in the tub as you will no longer have a sink. They don't like it anymore than being electrocuted.

#4} Be Grateful:
In general more hands make light work so it's always a good idea to ask a few buddies to chip in. If you friends are unwilling to help you, it's because they're sane and understand fully what is being asked of them. Thankfully ours had no clue. With a little help from our friends Dip 'n Dots and The Nuj we tore down our south wall and part of the north in no time. They've also graciously had us over for dinner a few times to prevent us for starving or worse, getting fast food. We'll be treating them to bowling and beer tonight as thanks.


  1. yeah...I appreciate the multimeter link. you forgot to add the part where you blew plaster dust at my face by putting the hose in the wrong end of the shop vac :p

  2. A ha ha ha! I think that was a conscious decision, Steve...