How to Rip out Your Kitchen for Refitting

Refitting your kitchen involves several steps, beginning with ripping out the old structure in stages to have a clear space where you can begin the refurbishment.

You may need to throw away the old materials, but some parts may be in perfect condition, so to minimise expenses you can choose to recycle or reuse such parts, which will also helps to limit your impact on the environment.

Kitchen diner


Before you start

It must be remembered that any DIY work can be dangerous and so we urge you to seek professional advice and assistance from a qualified builder for any DIY jobs you undertake. The tips we offer on our blog are based on our experience and are by no means professional advice. If you are in any doubt about the possible consequences of your home improvements, please speak to a builder before you begin.

Remember that it is essential to switch off the electricity before you begin any work near cables, sockets or switches. If you aren’t sure where the cables run through the walls, you should buy a pipe and cable locator to check the walls, or consult an electrician.

Ripping out the kitchen

Removing wall units

Begin by dismantling and removing the wall units.

This will provide easier access to other parts of the kitchen that may need your attention, such as the wall tiles and cables for electrical appliances.

While removing wall units, start with the internal shelves to prevent them falling out and causing an accident. You should then either remove the doors, or tape them shut to prevent them opening unexpectedly.

Usually, the units are attached together using either screws or bolts, so you should find and remove these first. Be careful, as if you unscrew too many in one go, the weight may cause the whole row of units to fall from the wall.

Once removed, you can keep all the screws and bolts in a safe location for reuse when needed.

Removing the sink

Turn off the water before removing the sink.

There should be a stopcock located under the sink, although yours may be in different location so you might have to investigate to find it. Turning this off will stop the flow of water so you can safely remove the sink without causing a flood!

You’ll then need to disconnect the pipes to the taps and undo the waste pipe – this is easy, just twist the plastic collar on the upper side anti-clockwise until it loosens and then you can easily remove it and lift out the sink.

Removing the worktops

Worktops are the next item you should remove, but depending on the material and size of the surfaces, they can be very heavy so you may need assistance.

Removing the base units

The next step is to remove any base units or cupboards. You should first remove the internal shelves and again remove or secure the doors. You can then unscrew the plinth and remove all the screws holding the units in a row. Be sure to remove all the fixings before pulling the base unit out to limit damage to the walls.

Removing the tiles

If you need to remove the wall tiles or splashbacks, the best tools for the job are a club hammer and bolster. We also recommend wearing safety goggles and thick gloves to protect from splinters of tiles and that can be very sharp.

Alternatives to disposal

You will not need to throw out everything from your old kitchen – for example you can gift or sell electrical appliances that still work or renovate or reuse fixtures, such as the units and sink, that are still in good condition.

Disposal of the old kitchen

Once you are through with dismantling the kitchen, the next step is disposing of parts that are not needed. At this stage, you should separate the items into two groups for health and safety reasons:

Hazardous waste

Some items, although they may seem everyday, are not classed as household waste because they present a health hazard if handled incorrectly. This waste should be separated from general waste, and not be disposed of in the normal waste or in a hired skip.

Fluorescent lighting tubes contain mercury and so can not be processed with everyday waste. Instead you need to contact your local recycling centre to see if they have the facilities to accept and process fluorescent tubes. They should be kept separate from all other waste.

Plasterboard, and any other products containing Gypsum, can not normally be processed with normal waste, so shouldn’t go into your skip. That said, this rule applies more to trade and bulk waste, and many local recycling centres are happy to accept a small amount of plasterboard from domestic customers. Call your local centre to check how much they can take, and again keep it separate from the general waste.

Electrical items such as fridges, microwaves and even smaller appliances like blenders and slow cookers, are classed as WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Recycling and must be processed and recycled separately. Contact the Browns Recycling team to find out more about the safe and legal disposal of anything electrical.

General Waste

For almost everything else, you can hire a skip. Wooden, plastic and metal fittings and fixtures can all go in, including units that can’t be sold or gifted, as well as wall and floor tiles and any old gas appliances.

How big a skip should you hire when refitting a kitchen?

At Brown Recycling we offer a wide range of skip sizes and hire options, and with years of experience, we’re always happy to discuss your project and recommend a skip to suit your need.

For a smaller kitchen refit, we’d usually recommend a 4 yard skip. This size can hold approximately 30-40 bin bags of waste.

For larger kitchen refits, a 6 yard skip might be better – These can hold more like 50-60 bin bags of waste.

Remember that ordering a small skip might not always be the most economical option. If you end up with too much waste to fit in the skip you might need to pay for a second skip, when it would have been cheaper to order one slightly larger to begin with.

If you’re planning any large structural alterations to your kitchen, perhaps you’re knocking down a wall to make a kitchen diner or extending your home for a bigger kitchen, then you’ll probably need a larger skip.

For more information or to book a skip, get in touch or speak to your builder for more advice.


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