DIY Network

How to Demolish a Knee Wall and Patch the Area

DIY's Weekend Handyman host Paul Ryan demonstrates how to take out a knee wall and patch the area in order to install a new contemporary metal and cable railing.

More in Remodeling

take out old knee wall and patch the area
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Remove the Wall Components

Remove the old door (if necessary) by using a nail set to pound the pin up from the bottom of the hinge.

Tap up the top trim board using a hammer and a 2" x 4" as a pounding block. Then pry it off with a hammer and prybar.

Remove the nails from the trim with pliers by pulling them up and straight through. This will cause the least amount of damage to the boards in case the wood is being reused for another project.

Detach the handrail from the wall.

Note: For this particular project, a light switch is being moved from the knee wall, which is being removed altogether, to the opposite wall. If you have the same situation, be sure to turn off the power before transferring the switch. In fact, it's best to have a licensed electrician rewire electrical routes to the new desired location, including the new light switch location.

Tip: Mark lines with level at the outside parameters to avoid unnecessary patching later.

remove wall components

Step 2: Remove the Knee Wall

Begin to remove the knee wall by hammering chunks of it out, then pull down the large chunks.

Mark the other side of the knee wall with level, then cut with a reciprocating saw.

Pull the knee wall down.

Remove bottom plate with a pry bar and hammer.

Use a saw to trim the drywall flush with subfloor.

remove the knee wall

Step 3: Patch the Wall and Floor

Attach vertical framing boards by screwing in a 3" deck screw at an angle. Angle to make sure the boards "won't" pull up — especially with a stairway.

Place the 1" x 1" filler board (Image 1) in the floor and secure with pin nails.

Trim any boards that stick out with a reciprocating saw and then chisel to finish it off.

Put new drywall in the wall and patch with joint compound.

Put on bottom plate (Image 2)