Gutting Your House: A DIY Project

There are a number of reasons why you may gut your house yourself prior to a remodel, but do you know the right way to do it? If you are at all unsure, we have pulled together a quick and easy-to-follow guide to help you. 

One of the main reasons to gut your house yourself before a remodel is the cost of a contractor completing the job for you. The cost of a contractor to complete a remodel for you can be between 10% and 20% of the cost of the remodel added on. This can, of course, vary, but it is very worth doing whichever parts of the remodel job you can do yourself. 

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Gutting your House: How to

We recommend you first have the right tools for the job. The tools you need will depend on how much of the house you are going to be gutting, but for our purposes, we are going to advise based on a full house gutting back to studs. 

For this type of house gutting, you will need as a minimum: 

  • Sledgehammer
  • Crowbar
  • Circular saw

You will also need some standard safety items; eye protection, protective shoes (preferably steel-toe capped), and a hard hat. 

Once you have all of the equipment in place, you should ensure you have a detailed plan of everything that needs to be done to gut your house. The method we most prefer for this is to make a plan room by room. 

When making this plan, you should detail what needs to be done to gut the room to the level you need it to be and then add what the remodel will look like in that room. By planning the remodel into the plans for gutting the room, you can estimate the total amount of time you will need for each room. You can also work out your estimated expenses and budget to stay on the plan once the work gets underway. 

Prepare the Demolition Space

Before you start swinging the sledgehammer at the walls, you will need to ensure it is safe to do so. Ensure you check that each room is structurally sound and that you will not be impacting any load-bearing walls. We also recommend checking where electrical wires and pipes are in the walls also. This will prevent a costly and time-consuming job to correct any mistakes once demolition begins. 

Contacting a plumber or electrician at this stage is necessary if you are not fully confident. A professional being paid to mark out these important areas on the walls will be considerably cheaper than calling them out to fix a pipe that has been damaged or a wire that has been cut. 

You should also cap your water and suspend your utilities to reduce the chance of accidents once work gets started. If you are planning a full remodel, including flooring, we advise you not to worry too much about damage. However, using a dust sheet can make cleaning up afterward much easier in our experience. 

Bringing Down the Walls (but not the House) 

Now that you have established which walls are load-bearing and marked off your utility and water lines. It is time to make a start with gutting your house. We advise you to make a start with the interior walls. This will make moving around as you proceed to the next step much easier as you will have more space to work within. 

Removing walls within your home is often the biggest job when gutting your home, so it is also good to get this completed early to help to build momentum. If removing interior walls is not part of your remodel or if there is another job to do that is bigger than this one, we recommend you start with that for the same reason. 

It is imperative that you remove any walls safely and in a controlled manner. If you are unsure how to do so, we suggest discussing this with a professional prior to attempting it. 

Clean as you Mean to go on

Cleaning should be done systematically and periodically throughout any home remodel, and this is no different when gutting your house. Regular cleaning of the area you are working in can prevent accidents and also help you to see how much more work needs to be done. 

A cluttered workspace is a hazard in any construction job and even more so when completing a DIY project. One way to keep your workspace clean is to hire a dumpster from Hiring a dumpster allows you to dispose of large or small construction waste as you work and gives an external area for rubbish to be stored. 


Begin the Remodel

Now that you have gutted the house back to the level you need it to be, you can begin to think about starting the remodel. We recommend that you review your plans again, going around the house room by room to ensure all of the gutting work has been completed fully. After this confirmation, it is time to put the remodel plans into action. 

Several things can change during the lifetime of a home remodel or any DIY project. So we advise that if anything has changed at the point of beginning the remodel that you work up a full new set of plans, so that you are working to the latest information. 


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