my Old Workshop

Five-point checklist for a trouble-free renovation demolition

A recent kitchen renovation reminded me, in some cases a little too late, about some key areas to cover up during a demolition or drywall mudding/sanding. Here you go.

Mask doorways into other areas of the house

Well, duh. Okay, I did remember this one. For a major old-house plaster demo or drywall sanding, 6 mil plastic and painter’s tape do the trick to seal the openings well. We stapled the plastic to the top of our door head–casing crown, where no one would see it, to ensure it didn’t fall down. You may have to experiment with the various tapes – blue, green, pro, homeowner – since different brands perform differently.

If the job allows you to get in from an exterior door and avoid disturbing the opening, all the better.

Seal vents

Managed to catch this one, too. Insert a piece of the 6 mil underneath heating duct grates, so that it’s held in place by the grate.

Cap gas pipe

If you have a gas stove or fireplace with a pipe, you should cap it off for more than just debris (which would likely fall into the debris trap anyway.) You also need it for protection in case someone accidentally opens the valve to the supply.

Cover drains

Had this one “covered”. Maybe because it’s obvious… a big drain. But also because I’d removed the kitchen sink trap, leaving only the stub, and you want to stuff a rag in there to stop sewer gases from coming into the room. However…

Tape water pipes

For much of the demo, I left the kitchen sink supply pipes sitting there unprotected. Fortunately, one elbowed and terminated on the horizontal, but the other one aimed upward. I put some Tuck Tape on prior to mudding, but when I re-hooked up the faucets, it was awhile before they ran properly (and cleanly) and didn’t drip when shut off due to debris in the valve. Fortunately, no long term damage. Unlike…

Seal up dimmer switches

Yes, this I forgot. It doesn’t take much plaster dust to destroy a $20 Contempra slider dimmer switch. They’ll still work, but the glide will be gone. Even compressed air couldn’t fix them. Time for new switches. Wrap plastic into the electrical box and tape to seal.

Happy demolishing!