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How To Safely Demolish An Interior Wall

Construction & Contractors Blog

If you've seen any of the popular home improvement shows on television, you've likely seen homeowners or even contractors demolishing walls with a sledgehammer. This makes for dramatic TV, but it isn't the most efficient—or safest—way to demolish an interior wall. To get through an interior wall demolition without making a giant mess or getting hurt, follow these simple steps.

1. Determine if the wall can be safely demolished.

You can't just go through your house randomly demolishing walls without risking structural damage. Certain interior walls may be load bearing, in which case they can't be removed.

Before you demolish a wall, consult with a structural engineer to find out whether or not it's load bearing. If it is, the wall will have to stay.

2. Gather your tools.

For an interior wall demolition, you'll need:

  • Safety goggles (put these on first, before commencing project)
  • Work gloves (put these on second)
  • Carpet knife/X-ACTO knife
  • Plastic tarp (lay this on the floor in front of the wall)
  • Heavy-duty garbage bags
  • Reciprocating saw fitted with a demolition blade (you can rent one from a tool rental supplier)

3. Turn off the power. Your goal will be to avoid cutting through any electrical wires, but to be on the safe side, turn off the power to the room. You can plug in your saw with an extension cord leading to another room. If you do inadvertently hit a wire, it will be a problem but not a disaster.

4. Locate the studs. Use a pencil to mark where the wall studs are behind the wallboard. This will allow you to avoid cutting into them, as well as make a neat straight line when you saw.

5. Score down the stud line. Go over your pencil marks with a carpet knife or other blade. This will allow your saw to quickly and easily get purchase on the wallboard when you start sawing.

6. Begin sawing. Follow manufacturer's instructions and use the saw to cut down along the side of the wall stud. The stud will provide a straight line to gently push the blade along the edge, so you'll end up with a nice neat cut.

7. Score along the floor line. Repeat step five, only this time use the floor as your guide to score a straight line across.

8. Repeat step six, but this time, you'll be moving along the floor line.

9. Repeat steps five and six for the left side of the wall you're removing.

10. Repeat steps five and six along the top of the wall section, along the ceiling line.

11. Gently pull the wallboard out. Allow the wall to fall down onto the plastic tarp. Use your carpet knife to cut into smaller pieces and dispose of inside plastic trash bags.

This method of demolishing an interior wall isn't exciting like you've probably seen on TV, but it is safe and practical. 

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13 February 2017