How to Knock Down a Wall
Knocking down a wall will add a feeling of space to any room. Knocking down a wall can also add value to a structure. There are certain methods and precautions to be aware of when knocking down a wall. Follow these steps on how to knock down a wall safely and correctly.
Prepare to Knock Down Your Wall
Consult with your builder or blueprints regarding the structure.Determine if the area you want to knock down is a structural component of the house. Removing a wall that is pivotal to keeping your house upright would affect the integrity of the building and could result in a collapse of the house. It helps to go into the attic, measure and see if the wall is underneath any supports. If the wall is underneath supports for the structure above, the only way to remove the wall is to install a reinforcing beams.
Turn off the electricity.Turning of your electricity will eliminate getting electrocuted while in the process of knocking down your wall.
Remove trim from the area.With a crowbar, pry any trim from around the ceiling or floor.
Outline the area.If you're tearing down a section of the wall, outline the area with a pen or pencil to serve as a reference. This will help you avoid tearing down a part of the wall you meant to keep.
Knock Down Your Wall
Cut out the area you're tearing down with a utility knife.Cut through the drywall along the lines you drew with your pen or pencil.
Knock through the drywall with a hammer.As you knock through the drywall, pull the drywall off of the studs.
Remove the studs.Cut through the studs with a reciprocating saw to remove them. A reciprocating saw is a portable power saw with a blade that moves up and down very fast to cut through the wood studs.
Clean up any excess debris.This can include nails sticking out where the studs were, or squaring up the edges and corners of where the wall used to be.
QuestionIf I take the studs out, will the house collapse?John822Community AnswerIf you take the studs out of a load bearing wall, the house will collapse if you don't put in temporary supports. If it is not a load-bearing wall, then you can safely remove studs. Consult your house's blueprints or a builder to see if your wall is load-bearing or not.Thanks!
QuestionWhy is water sprayed on demolished buildings?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhen a building is demolished, the debris is unstable. Spraying water on the building dampens the dust particles so they will stick to surfaces, rather than being blown into the air by wind, vibrations, or falling, and therefore, prevents atmosphere pollution.Thanks!
QuestionI have a wall between my living room and a little family room. The rafters go across the house front to back. Can I knock it down?John822Community AnswerWithout actually seeing the house, this cannot be answered. You need to contact a builder or architect who can look at your house and tell you.Thanks!
- Be careful not to damage the trim while removing it. It could be used in another part of your house.
- Protect the floor around the area you're working with old bedsheets or large sheets of plastic. The covering will protect the floor and simplify the clean up process. If a large piece of drywall falls on a wood, linoleum or tile floor it will damage it. You can also use cardboard to protect the floor.
- If you're tearing down a wall near a kitchen or bathroom, be aware of any plumbing that could be in the wall. If there is plumbing present, turn off the water.
- Enclose the area you're working in with old bedsheets or large sheets of plastic to eliminate dust throughout the building. It helps to put a box fan in the closest window to push the dust out of the room, and keep the door and other windows open so that fresh air can come in. Keep a vacuum with you and vacuum everything to keep the debris from getting tracked all over the home as people walk.
- A reciprocating saw can be difficult to control. If you feel you cannot safely operate the saw, then use a manual saw or have someone else operate the reciprocating saw.
- Wear safety equipment. Safety glasses or goggles will prevent dust or debris from getting in your eyes. Safety gloves will prevent you from getting splinters.
- In homes built before 1983 and sometimes later since code changes in some places were grandfathered in, there are serious health hazards associated in knocking out plaster or drywall. In homes built before 1978, one of those hazards involves lead. There will likely be layers of lead paint underneath the recent coats and lead dust will be released if the surface of those walls is disturbed. But an even worse hazard lurks in those walls. After 1920, plaster and later drywall, and the drywall compound used to bed taped joints between drywall sheets were impregnated with asbestos, now a banned substance because it caused lung cancer, stomach cancer and other rather horrid respiratory system ailments. This is not to be taken lightly. Universal building code insists that a certified asbestos removal contractor be called in to remove asbestos safely before you can proceed.
- Also remember that when you remove walls, the footprint of the wall will remain because flooring went inafterthe walls were in place that won't be at the same level as the existing flooring. In addition, separate rooms originally had different flooring materials, so once walls are removed there will be the added expense of re-flooring all the open areas to match.
- There are other non-health related concerns. If support walls are removed, there is nothing to support the roof and / or upper story somehow so engineered beams and supports for those beams to rest on must be added. Four-ply laminate or steel beams are quite expensive. Another crucial concern is that if the home has a combination hip-gable roof, the joists run not just in one direction but two, so just about every wall in the home may be a support wall.
Video: How To Remove Drywall from a Wall
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