Dumpsters.com logo

Your Guide to Knocking Down a Wall

If you have been wishing for an open-concept floor plan, it might be time to demolish that wall.

By Danielle Hanula | Last Updated:04/14/2022
Man knocking down a wall with tools for an open concept living room.

Everything You Need to Know to Remove an Interior Wall

If you’ve been daydreaming about having a clear view from your kitchen into your living room, removing a wall may be your next home project. This job takes some research and careful planning, so you should set aside at least a week for the preparation, demolition and repair.

Here’s what you need to know about creating an open-concept floor plan.

FAQs

What do I do if my wall is load bearing?

How much does it cost to tear down a wall?

What should I expect if my wall holds weight?

How to Tear Down a Wall in 5 Steps

Step 1: Collect the Right Materials for the Job

Before you start demolition, make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment needed to remove a wall.

Tools

/////Safety Gear

/////Patching Materials

Reciprocating Saw

Utility Knife

Drywall

Sledgehammer

Safety Glasses

Drywall Compound

Pry Bar

Work Gloves

Drywall Tape

Hammer

Respirator Mask

Drywall Screws

Electric Drill

Drop Cloths

2x2 Inch Wood Strips

Find a Dumpster for Your Demo Debris

Step 2: Prepare to Tear Down Your Wall

Once you have everything you need to start your project, it’s time to get to work. Follow these steps to get ready to remove that wall:

  • Recruit someone to help with the demolition of the wall.
  • Cover vents, windows and other fixtures to protect from debris.
  • Create partition with cloth or plastic between other rooms to shield them from traveling dust.
  • Remove any doors, trim and baseboards with your pry bar and hammer.
  • Consider renting a dumpster to handle cleanup since curbside collection will not accept construction debris.
View of wood floor with baseboards removed from the painted drywall.

What Else to Look for Inside Your Wall

Now is the time to figure out what’s inside your wall and safely prepare to knock it down. Walls that contain HVAC vents, plumbing or electrical should be removed with caution.

If your wall has an electrical outlet, hiring a professional is usually the safest option. This also applies to any piping or ventilation in your walls. Have a contractor to eliminate, move or cap off any utilities to avoid damage or code violations.

Light Bulb Icon.
Safety Tip

If your home was built before 1978, make sure to take proper precautions to assess your walls for asbestos and lead paint.

Man knocking down drywall with tools and ear covers.

Step 3: Begin Knocking Down the Wall

Once you’ve determined your wall isn’t load bearing and doesn’t have any important plumbing or electrical running through it, the fun part begins — demolition.

  • Outline the area you are tearing down with a pencil if you are only removing a section of the wall.
  • Cut the junction with a utility knife between the wall you want to remove, the ceiling and other adjacent walls.
  • Create a small starter hole in the drywall with a sledgehammer.
  • Remove panels of drywall from between studs using your reciprocating saw.
  • Get rid of insulation if you encounter it, however it’s unlikely for interior walls.
  • Remove drywall from the other side of the wall once all the drywall is removed from the first side. Stay on the same side to see the studs and cut accurately.

Step 4: Cut and Remove Studs and Plates

Cut through the studs at the bottom of the wall with a reciprocating saw. Ask one of your volunteers to help by holding the stud in place as you cut. Once you have cut through the stud and nails, pull it out.

When all the studs are gone, you'll need to remove the top and base plates. Use the pry bar to remove the top plate first. Have your helper hold the top plate in place so it doesn’t fall, and repeat the same process to get rid of the base.

Male contractor cutting drywall with professional saw.
Brain Icon.
Pro Tip

Cut sections that you can remove in large, single pieces. And to save yourself from a tripping hazard and cleanup later, take them out to the dumpster as you remove each piece.

Dumpsters.com Blog Newsletter Sign Up.
Man in red uniform patching where ceiling meets the wall.

Step 5: Repair Your Ceiling and Floor

Now that you’ve cleared the way, it’s time to start bringing your space together. Repaint your whole ceiling to guarantee a cohesive appearance. If you plan to redo your floors, pick the best flooring option for your family in the new, open space. There are many options for family-friendly floors that hold up over time. Hardwood, carpet or bamboo are some popular options to consider.

Patch the Ceiling Where the Wall Was Removed

  • Insert wood strips across the hole so they lay in the ceiling to bridge the gap.
  • Screw both ends of each strip to the existing ceiling with the drill to make sure they are secure.
  • Cut a piece of drywall a quarter of an inch smaller than the hole and secure it to the strips using screws.
  • Spread drywall compound around the edges of the patched hole. Push drywall tape into the wet compound, then add another layer of compound and smooth it out.
  • Repeat this process to patch the wall depending on the placement of the wall you removed.
  • Apply drywall sealer and primer to finish.
Man in red uniform repairing ceiling after removing wall.

Repair Your Floor

  • Carpet or Linoleum: If you can easily match your carpet or linoleum with scraps you have on hand, you can fix the exposed patch or hire a professional to repair the hole.

  • Hardwood: Older hardwood floors are difficult to patch between rooms because the wood will be harder to match.

To make sure your flooring looks seamless for either of these repairs, consider hiring a professional for the job.

Time to Enjoy Your New Space

Removing an interior wall can totally transform a space by allowing more natural light to shine through and making your home seem larger overall.

Have more walls to knock down? Check out our other guides with specific tips for plaster walls, wood paneling and more.

What Do You Think?

Are you knocking down a wall in your home? We're listening. Head over to Twitter or Facebook, and use #dumpstersblog to join the conversation.

Need a Dumpster for Your Next Project?