Removing non load bearing walls in a house can really elevate the physical space, but also the ambiance that comes with a large room, especially when a small room converts to a larger one. However, the necessary steps must be followed, otherwise a simple task can become a difficult, messy, dangerous, and expensive task.
Step 1—Ensuring Safety
The first step in tearing down a wall is understanding if it is not a load bearing wall, or a wall that helps support the house, be it as a whole or by section. The best method of getting to know a wall is simply call a professional to inspect it. Moreover, a licensed contractor will know how to deal with a load bearing wall by opening it up, a very dangerous operation for someone who does not know what they are doing. Structural damage is a real opportunity when it comes to removing walls, so safety through knowledge is a must. In fact, if the wall about to be removed is a load bearing one, structural damage is almost a guarantee.
After removing as much furniture out of the work area, cover nearby furniture with plastic sheets. Next, also with plastic sheeting, seal doorways. Lastly, do not cover windows. Instead, open all windows for ventilation purposes because of, and this is important, the electricity being turned off. When turning off the electricity, note that it means the power to the house, and not just a nearby light switch. In the following steps, there will be instances where electrical capping will be required, and having a professional contractor help out with such steps are advised. The reason why contractors are so stressed in this article is because of how common wall removal is in homes these days, and “common” often comes with the implication of “easy,” and “easy” with “safe.” However, without taking precautions, the following will not be so safe.
Step 3—Getting Started
Begin to pry off moldings and baseboards with the crowbar and even chisel and hammer. Next, remove electrical plates. Again, the main power must be shut off to the house. Note the wiring, both the direction of them and their type—heating source wiring should be redirected professionally, ideally. Now, cap off the electrical for the next step, which is using the sledge hammer to literally knock down the wall where the wiring is not present.
After the drywall is gone, wires and studs will be showing—cap the wires in either the attic or basement depending on where the wiring heads towards. Once capped, remove the wiring so there is a clean area before you. Now, all that is left is the cleanup. The best method is to somehow fold the plastic sheetings that are covered with dust and what not and angle them so that all the debris fall right into the trash bags. Gloves may be needed for larger pieces, but that really depends on the person doing the cleanup as well as well as the drywall type—some may crack easier, creating “splinters,” where as others may not.