How to Remove a Full Interior Wall (Non Load-Bearing)

  • 01 of 11

    Introduction

    Remove Interior Non Load Bearing Wall - Tools Needed
    Remove Interior Non Load Bearing Wall - Tools Needed. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    Before anything else, you need to determine whether or not this is a load bearing interior wall. Our article concerns only interior walls that are not structurally supportive: i.e., nonload-bearing. If your wall is partial--one end stops in the middle of the room--instructions are slightly different, so please follow that link.

    If the wall is not load-bearing, you can remove it with impunity. If it is load-bearing, you've got problems unless you make provisions for supports to replace the...MORE supports you are removing.

    Tools Needed

    The more you have on hand, the better. You may not use all of them, but by having a lot of tools nearby, you reduce the temptation to "make do" with the wrong tool. For example, you might be tempted to stand on an overturned bucket instead of standing on a step stool or ladder.

    • Reciprocating saw
    • Crowbar
    • Large hammer
    • Sledgehammer
    • Dust mask
    • Hearing protection
    • Electrical toolbox
    • Plastic to shield rest of house from dust
    • Utility knife
    • Step stool and ladder
    • Eye protection
    • Utility light and extension cord
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  • 02 of 11

    Shut Down and Remove Electrical and Other Utilities

    How to Remove a Non Load-Bearing Interior Wall - Shut Down and Remove Electrical
    Shut Down and Remove Electrical. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    Shut off all circuit breakers. Remove electrical plate, outlets, and switches.

    If pipes are located within the walls, shut off ​the water main.

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  • 03 of 11

    Remove Doors

    Removing Interior Wall - Remove Doors
    Removing Interior Wall - Remove Doors. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    You shouldn't have any windows to worry about. After all, these are interior walls. But you might have doors to remove.

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  • 04 of 11

    Remove Trim and Baseboards

    Removing Interior Wall - Remove Trim and Baseboards
    Removing Interior Wall - Remove Trim and Baseboards. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com
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  • 05 of 11

    Cut Paint/Caulk Between Walls/Ceiling

    Removing Interior Wall - Cut Paint/Caulk
    Removing Interior Wall - Cut Paint/Caulk. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    Take your utility knife and change the blade. Cut the junction between the wall you want to remove and all walls and ceiling you do not want to remove.

    When you remove drywall, this will prevent paper on the unremoved walls from endlessly pulling back.

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  • 06 of 11

    Punch Starter Holes In Drywall

    Removing Interior Wall - Punch Hole
    Removing Interior Wall - Punch Hole. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    With your large framing hammer or sledge, gently tap the drywall and punch a starter hole. If the wall does not easily punch, you are probably hitting a stud. Move the hammer a few inches to the side and try again.

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  • 07 of 11

    Cut Within Studs With Reciprocating Saw

    Removing Interior Wall - Cut Around Studs with Reciprocating Saw
    Removing Interior Wall - Cut Around Studs with Reciprocating Saw. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    With your reciprocating saw in the starter hole, begin cutting out panels of drywall from between the studs. Wall studs (the 2x4s) are usually located 16 inches on-center apart from each other.

    Your aim is to cut sections that you can grasp and remove in single pieces. There is nothing worse in wall-removal than having hundreds of pieces of drywall to pick up. By taking your time and being patient, you can take out large pieces, which will reduce your misery when later cleaning up.

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  • 08 of 11

    Pull Out Cut Sections of Drywall

    Removing Interior Wall - Pull Out Cut Sections of Drywall
    Removing Interior Wall - Pull Out Cut Sections of Drywall. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    Pull out these sections by hand.

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  • 09 of 11

    Cut and Remove Other Side of Drywall

    Removing Interior Wall - Cut and Remove Other Side of Drywall
    Removing Interior Wall - Cut and Remove Other Side of Drywall. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    Big bonus of removing interior walls: no insulation to contend with!

    One side of drywall is now completely gone. This exposes the drywall on the other side of the wall.

    However, remain on the first side. This will let you see where the studs are located so that now you can cut accurately.

    In my example here, I particularly wanted to stay on the original side because there is a staircase on the other side.

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  • 10 of 11

    Cut and Remove Studs

    Removing Interior Wall - Cut and Remove Studs
    Removing Interior Wall - Cut and Remove Studs. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    Use your reciprocating saw to cut each stud horizontally in the middle. Pull back the cut ends of the studs toward you.

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  • 11 of 11

    Pull Back Studs to Remove Them

    Removing Interior Wall - How to Pull Back Studs to Remove Them
    Removing Interior Wall - How to Pull Back Studs to Remove Them. © Lee Wallender; licensed to About.com

    Now the work becomes much easier.  You can see how the studs pull back in either direction. Because studs are usually nailed straight up or down, or sometimes are toe-nailed, they are impossible to pull out without making this kind of cut.

    However, if the studs are in good shape and you can to preserve them:

    1. Switch to a metal-cutting blade in your reciprocating saw.
    2. Get on ​the ladder.
    3. Start the saw and try to slide the blade between the stud and any horizontal pieces it is nailed to. If there...MORE isn't enough room to fit the blade in, you may need to cut into the stud.
    4. Complete cut. Remove stud by pulling back.