Bathroom Demolition

Bathroom demo can get messy. The reason? Even when you shut off waterlines, there is still water in traps, in toilet tanks, and in the water lines themselves. When you undo a pipe connection, some water will inevitably get on the floor, where it will mix with the dirt on the bottom of your shoes. Place old towels or scraps of carpet at the doorway for when you have to run out for tools. And have buckets and towels ready, no matter how dry your project looks initially.

Removing an old sink and vanity

Step 1. Turn off the water at the shutoff valves. If there are no shutoff valves, turn off the water at the main valve or water-well pressure tank.

Step 2. Single-lever faucets come with cop per tubes that extend down from the faucet valve. Remove the nuts that hold the supply risers to the wall-mounted valves.

Step 3. On bathroom sinks with dual faucets, each faucet is connected to its shutoff valve with a separate supply riser. Remove the under-sink nuts using a basin wrench.

Step 4. To remove the sink’s waste line connection put a pail under the trap and loosen the nuts using adjustable pliers. Turn the nuts counterclockwise.

Step 5. Remove any retaining clips or other kinds of hardware that hold the sink to the countertop. Cut the caulk seal around the sink using a sharp knife. Carefully lift it off the countertop.

Step 6. Loosen the vanity top by removing the hold-down screws at the corners of the cabinet; then lift it off and set it aside. To quickly free the vanity cabinet, cut around the shutoff valves.

Step 7. Remove the screws that hold the cabinet back to the wall. Then cut through any caulk or paint along the wall or floor that may hold the base in place. Pull the vanity away from the wall and discard it.

Removing a bathtub

The easiest way to remove a tub is in one piece. Once it’s free from the wall and floor, tip it on its edge, and get some help to move it. Putting an old blanket or a canvas tarp under the tub will make it easier to slide across the floor. If you have to move it down a flight of stairs, get a couple of extra people to help.

If you can’t move the tub in one piece, it must be broken into smaller sections. Cast iron tubs can be broken with a mason’s hammer or a sledgehammer. steel and fiberglass tubs can be cut with a reciprocating saw. Be sure to wear eye and ear protection. Warn others in the house that you are about to engage in this demolition.

Moving Large Tubs or Showers


When you are planning the space and selecting fixtures, you should also devise a plan for removing your old tub or shower and installing the new unit. When selecting a new fixture, make sure you can carry it through the house. But if your heart is set on a unit that cannot be moved through existing hallways and doors, consider ways to move it through an outer wall. This can be as easy as removing a first-floor window or as complex as removing a section of wall on another floor.


Use only a flashlight or a battery-powered work light to light the area below the vanity. If water drips onto a hardwired electrical light–especially a trouble light with a built-in receptacle–and causes a short, you could get hurt.