DIY Network

How to Demolish a Wall

Taking the proper precautions when tearing down a wall is important, so you don't get hurt or accidentally tear down more than needed. Hosts Jason Cameron and Tony Siragusa show how to demolish a wall.

More in Remodeling

  • Time

    Day

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Remove a Small Section

Before starting the actual destruction, determine whether the wall is a load-bearing wall. To do this, use a hammer and pry bar to remove a small section of the wall as well as the adjoining ceiling to examine how everything is structured. If the wall has a double top plate or if the joists overlap over the wall, there is a good chance the wall is load-bearing. If so, determine a way to compensate for the supporting role, or consult a professional to help figure it out. If neither of these things is present, there is a good chance that removing the wall will not destroy the house.

Step 2: Ventilate the Work Area

Cover the furniture and openings with plastic in order to contain the construction dust. Also, open windows and run fans to help ventilate the work area. Make sure the power is off when removing fixtures and outlets, and use electrical tape to secure any wires.

Step 3: Take Down the Wall

While it may be tempting to simply smash through the wall, play it safe and use a pry bar to take down the wall piece by piece, starting with trim or door jambs. Use a reciprocating saw to cut through any stubborn nails. Also use the reciprocating saw to cut along the edges of the wall being removed. This ensures that as the plaster is removed, additional plaster from adjoining walls or ceiling will not be torn off as well.

Step 4: Remove Electrical Boxes

Start tearing off chunks of plaster, revealing the studs inside. Once the plaster is completely off, remove any electrical boxes, using wire nuts to cap any lines. If there are any pipes running through the wall, you will need a licensed plumber to come in and reroute it.

Step 5: Pry Up the Bottom Plate

With only the studs left, use both the reciprocating saw and sledgehammer to knock out each stud. If the studs are metal, they need to be unscrewed rather than cut out. After the studs are removed, place a piece of scrap underneath the pry bar to protect the floor as you pry up the bottom plate.

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