Dismantling a Bathroom

Dismantling a Bathroom In Stages

The bathroom, along with the kitchen, is the room in the house which most of us would like to update more often but are afraid that the job is very time consuming and costly. If you only have one bathroom in the house, the idea of not being able to take showers for a few days puts people off having a new bathroom fitted completely, but with careful planning and scheduling of work, any impact on the family can be minimised. The first part of the process is to take out the old bathroom suite, and this is a job that most people will be able to manage by themselves with only basic tools and DIY skills.


Anything worth keeping?

Before you get out the sledgehammer and smash that old bath to pieces, take a few minutes to decide if there is anything in the old bathroom which might be worth salvaging, either to use in the new bathroom, or to sell. The market in architectural salvage is booming, and although there isn’t much of a demand for 1980s avocado green plastic baths, if you live in a period property with an antique bath or sink you could be surprised at how much people are prepared to pay for what you are throwing out. Selling your old bathroom suite or other items can help offset the total cost of the new one too. Vintage mixer showers may have a value but electric showers are sadly destined for the skip!

One at a time

If you have no other toilet or washing facilities in the home, the best way of managing the switch from an old bathroom to a new one is to do one item at a time. Agree with your plumber the order in which the work is to be done, or if you are doing it yourself, think about the order in which you would prefer to do things. It is simple enough to switch over a wash hand basin in a day, so plan to do that first. Remember as well that although it is not ideal, you can wash hands in the bath for a short period while the work is being done. If you are fortunate enough to have another bathroom or shower room in the house, the easiest way to replace a bathroom is to gut the whole room and start again from scratch.

New for Old

The simplest way of dismantling a bathroom is when you are not moving items around, and are just switching one basin for another in the same position. If this is the case, turn the water off at the mains and work systematically around the bathroom, removing the fittings which secure the basin or bath to the wall and pipework, remembering to keep some old cloths at hand to mop up any excess water. Pipes can then be capped with special valves which will allow you to turn the water back on in the rest of the house until you are ready to install the new bathroom suite in the same position as the old one.


If you have decided to take the opportunity to completely remodel your bathroom and move everything around, then there is no need to be as careful with capping pipes off and keeping the fittings to attach the new things into place. If you are not intending on keeping any of the existing pipes in the bathroom, then once the water has been turned off, simply cut out everything you won’t need with a saw. The plumber or whoever is fitting the bathroom will then be able to start from scratch and plan the most efficient layout for your new bathroom suite. When it comes to removing your toilet, remember to flush it after turning the water off to drain the cistern, which makes it lighter and less messy to remove. Bathroom basins and baths can be surprisingly heavy, especially if you have an old cast iron bath, so never attempt to remove these items yourself. It will take at least two people to manoeuvre an iron bath downstairs, so unless you are intending selling it for salvage it may be easier to break it into pieces before putting it in the skip.