A Handy Guide to Preparing to Knock Down Walls

An open floor plan can be a very liberating addition to any home or office, giving you an easy way to merge multiple rooms together and create a larger, multi-purpose space. However, there can be a lot of specific things to consider when you are planning to break down an entire wall on your own.

Cochranville, PA is a small town home to approximately 700 people.

Here are some quick steps to keep in mind if you are going to knock down a wall, regardless of how large it might be or what kind of scale you are working at. Just remember that every home is different, so you need to work around your own home’s limits and physical design.

Identify Load-Bearing Walls

A loadbearing wall can be a serious concern when you are going to knock a wall down since breaking them can cause major damage to your home’s structure. These walls are the ones that support another part of your home, whether that is another floor or the entire roof.

Identifying load-bearing walls often means talking with an actual engineer or architect – hiring one to inspect your home is an easy way to learn which walls you can safely knock through and which you can’t. 

You can always get load-bearing walls converted or adjusted to that you can still create an open floor plan, but this takes a lot of time, money, and expert help. Be sure to avoid including load-bearing walls in your DIY projects since you might damage your whole house.

The exact location of the load-bearing walls in your home might not always be obvious, but if you have any of the original plans, then you can usually use those. Just be sure that you are not about to break through a load-bearing structure since it could cause serious long-term damage.

Consider Costs

The cost of knocking down a wall can vary heavily depending on the work that you are doing. However, breaking through a standard non-load-bearing wall with no pipes or wires can cost as little as $1,000, less if you are doing it all by yourself and not hiring any specialists.

However, removing a load-bearing wall requires contracted professionals and can cost anything from three to twenty times that amount. Going for cheaper options can also result in the work being done to a much lower standard of quality.

Remember that you will also have to buy the materials and tools for the job, too. A sledgehammer might not cost that much, but you will need the tools to safely remove all of the debris and smashed bricks from your home, as well as seal up any gaps you left in other surfaces.

This is also important if you are going to be doing other work after knocking the wall down, such as trying to properly combine the two rooms into one space. These can all add to the cost of the project, so you should budget for the entire task and not just this first step.

Keep in mind that costs are not always consistent, so you can’t always rely on internet prices to translate into real life. A specialist might cost far more than you had expected, whereas a certain tool could be much cheaper – you need to work with what you have available.

Avoid In-Wall Equipment

Outlets can be one of the biggest issues when dealing with any wall. Removing a power outlet involves hiring a professional who can safely handle all of the wiring-related safety hazards, and you do not want to knock a wall down when there is still a live power outlet built into it.

The same goes for water pipes, ventilation, and anything else that is set inside the wall itself. Sometimes, not all of these things are obvious, so you will want to identify them before you start.

The best way to do this is to cut a hole in your drywall, either through the basement (if you have one) or in the wall itself. A flashlight can help you spot any shining metal parts. If you are not completely satisfied that the wall is clear, then consider getting a professional to do it for you.

This all depends on where you plan to knock through the wall, of course. If you are only breaking open particular parts of a wall, then you might be able to get away with ignoring the outlets and pipes as long as they do not cross into the section of the wall that you are trying to break.

Correct your Tools

You will always want the correct tools for a project like this. It does not take that much to knock down a wall, but you need to be fully prepared if you want to do it quickly and easily.

  • A sledgehammer
  • A pry bar
  • A utility knife
  • A stud finder
  • A reciprocating saw
  • Multiple widths of trowel
  • An electric drill
  • Any other specific gear you might want to use

In terms of materials, make sure to bring all of the standard safety equipment, including goggles, gloves, and face masks. Plastic sheeting and tape can help too. If you need to dispose of the debris quickly, one of our dumpster rental options can work incredibly well.

You might also want to get extra materials in place to help with the more niche parts of your work. For example, it can be more efficient to keep drywall compound and wood strips around so that you can patch up any remaining gaps or holes quickly, rather than doing it separately later.

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