There are times in home repair and renovation that it becomes necessary to remove an interior wall. For instance, there was a time that my husband and I wanted to convert two small bedrooms into one large master bedroom. The conversion of course required the removal of an interior, sheet rock clad wall. Interior wall removal is a fairly simple, albeit extremely messy task that may be accomplished by most homeowners with an interest in do-it-yourself projects. Here’s how to do it;
Materials Needed to Remove an Interior Wall
In order to remove an interior wall you will need to gather together the following materials;
1 putty knife
1 pry bar
1 wrecking bar
1 roll plastic sheeting or old shower curtain
1 heavy duty staple gun
Old bed sheets
1 flat head screw driver
1 Phillips head screw driver
1 face mask
1 pair work gloves
1 pair safety goggles
1 shop vacuum
Step 1: Heed These Caveats before Starting Removal
Before attempting to remove a interior wall you will want to examine two things. What you discover during your examination will determine how the project will proceed. First, determine whether or not the wall you want to remove is a load bearing one. If it is a load bearing wall, consult a professional. If it is not a load bearing wall, you may attempt to remove it yourself. Second, determine whether or not the wall in question contains electrical wires, plumbing or duct work. If the wall in question does contain one of those items you will want to take extra precautions like shutting off the main electric or water supply.
Step 2: Prepare the Area and Interior Wall for Removal
Demolishing a wall is extremely messy so I personally recommend that you cover or remove as many items near the demolition area as possible. Lay down a plastic tarp near the demolition site to place the wall debris on. Doing so will help to make the cleanup process easier. It is also a good idea to block off any doorways by stapling an old bed sheet to the door frame. This will help to keep the amount of dust and dirt from the demolition process from floating throughout the rest of your home.
In the advent of electrical outlets or switches, you will need to remove any face plates, boxes and fittings accessible from the wall’s exterior. These tasks may be completed with a screw driver. Any crown molding, baseboards and door casing will need to be removed as well. An effective and efficient way to remove the molding, baseboards and casing is to pry it loose from the wall using a putty knife, pry bar and a hammer. Once those items are removed, for the sake of the environment as well as your pocketbook, try to salvage what you can of them for later use.
Step 3: Prepare Yourself for Demolition
Once you have examined the wall, prepared the area and assembled all the materials, it is time to don you safety goggles, work gloves, work boots and face mask. You may also want to wear a long sleeve shirt and a hard hat to protect your arms and head from falling debris.
Step 4: Removing the Wall
This is the fun part. Use a hammer, sledgehammer and wrecking bar to break the surface of the sheet rock. Pull off the sheet rock pieces and place them on the plastic tarp. Remove any insulation and nails from the wooden studs as you go along. Throw them on the tarp as well. Continue removing the sheet rock and insulation until just the bare wall studs, top plate and floor plate remain.
Proceed by removing any internal electric boxes, fittings and wires that may be attached to the studs. You will need to remove and cap off any water pipes as well. Once that has been done it is time to remove the studs.
Use a sledgehammer to knock the bottom of the studs loose from the floor plate. Once the bottom of the stud has been wrenched free from the floor plate, twist the stud forcefully until it dislodges from the top plate. Continue this procedure until all you are left with are the top and bottom plates. Again, try and salvage as much of the lumber as possible for future use.
All that is left to do at this point is to remove the top and bottom plates. To achieve this task, use your pry bar to carefully pry the plates loose from the floor and ceiling. At this point there should be nothing left of the wall. You are now free to relocate any necessary electrical wires, pipes, duct work as needed.