How to Tear Down a Wall in a House

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How to Tear Down a Wall in a House
Nathanael Rittichier

Tearing down a wall may seem like a daunting task that should be left for the professionals, but if the wall is not load bearing, the process is not overly complicated. Make sure you have all the proper tools and enough time set aside to complete the job. Turn off the electricity to nearby circuits and use a non-contact tester to confirm that the power is off.

Things You Will Need
Nathanael Rittichier

Things You Will Need

For this job, you need a drill with a Philips bit, a reciprocating saw, a hammer, flat bar and razor knife.

Remove Trim
Nathanael Rittichier

Remove Trim

Push a flat bar between the trim and the wall, and use the hammer to knock it in. Flip the bar over and pry the trim away from the wall. Be careful with the nails stuck in the trim. Dispose of them as you go so you don’t risk stepping on them later.

Cut Along the Ceiling
Nathanael Rittichier

Cut Along the Ceiling

Use a razor knife to cut along the joint where the wall meets the ceiling.

Knock a Hole in the Wall
Nathanael Rittichier

Knock a Hole in the Wall

Use a hammer to knock a hole through the drywall. If you hit a stud, just move over a few inches. You’re not going to save the drywall or the studs, so you can’t damage anything in this step. Make sure you have a big enough hole to get your hands in there to rip out the wall.

Rip Out the Drywall
Nathanael Rittichier

Rip Out the Drywall

Grab the drywall and start pulling out pieces. There are screws space about a foot apart on each of the studs that hold the drywall in place. After you’ve located a stud, grab a hold of the drywall on each side of the stud and pull it loose. Do this until you’ve cleared all the drywall from one side of the wall. If you find any electrical wiring on the inside of the wall, consult an electrician before moving on to the next step if you’re not experienced working with electricity.

Knock Out the Other Side
Nathanael Rittichier

Knock Out the Other Side

The other side of the wall can be removed in a less messy manner by using the top part of your hammer and knock it against the wall along the studs where the screws are. This will keep the whole wall in one piece, giving you the option to break it down into smaller pieces or carry it out as is.

Remove the Studs
Nathanael Rittichier

Remove the Studs

Use the reciprocating saw to cut through the nails that hold the studs together. Lay the blade flat along the bottom of the stud and cut through. Pull the stud out toward you and down to separate it from the top plate.

Remove Top Plate
Nathanael Rittichier

Remove Top Plate

Take your hammer and flat bar and start pulling down on the top plate that’s nailed into the ceiling. Stand to the side and be careful to not injure yourself on any of the nails sticking out from where the studs were attached. When the top plate starts coming out, use your hands for better leverage and control as you pull it out of the ceiling completely.

Remove the Base Plate
Nathanael Rittichier

Remove the Base Plate

Use the same technique for removing the base plate. Knock the flat bar in under the board and flip it over to start prying it off the floor. Put the claw on your hammer under the other side of the board and pull up. Do this along the length of the base plate until you can remove it completely.

Tool Tip Basics: Stud Finder
Nathanael Rittichier

Tool Tip Basics: Stud Finder

If you want to identify where the studs are before starting your project you can use a stud finder. Here's how it works.

Tool Tip Basics: Stud Finder

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