How to remove a non-load-bearing wall

Written by cleveland van cecil
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How to remove a non-load-bearing wall
Breaking down a non-load-bearing wall allows you to expand rooms. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Many houses and apartments, especially in cities where space is money, have non-load-bearing walls. These false walls are used to separate rooms, but do not hold any ceiling weight. Non-load-bearing walls can be removed to make an open plan home or to expand single rooms such as the living room or kitchen. Removing a wall is a lot of physical work and preparation, but does not require a great amount of technical knowledge.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plastic
  • Tape
  • Safety goggles
  • HEPA mask
  • Work gloves
  • Heavy boots
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Pry bar
  • Wire nuts
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Remove the furniture from the room.

  2. 2

    Turn off the electricity to the room at the circuit breaker.

  3. 3

    Cover the floors with heavy-duty construction plastic. Cover doorways with the plastic, attaching it with masking tape. This prevents dust from entering the rest of the home. Open the windows to vent the room.

  4. 4

    Put on safety goggles, a HEPA mask to protect your lungs from dust, work gloves and heavy duty boots.

  5. 5

    Remove a small section of the wall with a reciprocating saw and look at the joists. If there is a double top plate (two pieces of wood acting as a top plate on the wall frame) it is a load-bearing wall. Overlapping joists at the ceiling also indicate a load-bearing wall. If these are missing, proceed.

  6. 6

    Slide a pry bar between the wall and the moulding at the bottom and pull the moulding off.

  7. 7

    Take the covers off any wall fixtures and disconnect the wires from the fixture. Cover the bare ends of the wires with masking tape or wire nuts.

  8. 8

    Cut along the corners of the plaster wall using a reciprocating saw. Cut with a metal cutting blade if the corners of the wall are reinforced with wire mesh.

  9. 9

    Knock a hole into the wall with a hammer. Slide a pry bar into the hole and pry off the plaster. Take a claw hammer and pull off the lathe if you have a lathe wall.

  10. 10

    Remove any electrical boxes and reroute the wires to a different wall. Install wire nuts over the conductors and cover the electric boxes to keep out dust.

  11. 11

    Cut along the joint and the plate with a reciprocating saw to cut through any nails. Pry off the top plate and bottom plate with a crow bar.

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