Whether you’ve just binged a season of Fixer Upper and have a wild hair about expanding your kitchen or you’re wanting to open up two divided living areas, demolishing a wall within your home is not anything to be taken lightly. In this piece, we’re going to discuss some crucial pieces of information to know before knocking out walls in your house.
Is demolishing an interior wall easy?
Home renovation shows may make knocking down a wall seem as easy as donning some goggles and putting a sledgehammer through some wallpaper. The reality is that many different considerations were made before so much as a pencil mark touched said wall.
Oddly enough, most of wall demolition doesn’t have as much to do with the wall as much as everything else. Most interior walls are sheetrock and studs—not a lot to them. What they contain and what they hold up are the real concerns.
A load-bearing wall is a wall that supports the additional weight of the home, including the ceiling, room, and basically anything hanging over your head. While most experienced contractors, construction workers, or demolition specialists could make pretty good guesses as to which walls in any given home are load-bearing and which aren’t, even the best can have their initial theories proven wrong. In most instances, specialized demolition professionals may not know whether or not a wall is load-bearing without getting into the attic or venturing into the basement. If the wall is load-bearing, it may not be able to come down. Before you ditch your original remodeling plans, you’ll want to speak with a demolition specialist to determine if any solutions are possible.
So, you’ve determined that the wall is not load-bearing. You’re not out of the woods yet—the wall contains electrical outlets. Before the wall is dropped, you will eventually want to remove all electrical components. First, disable all power to the outlets or fixtures via your home circuit breaker box. Even if you believe you disabled said wall power, always test any outlet for fixture for power. Once you’re positive (no pun intended) that the power has been switched off, remove all outlet hardware and wires from the wall. When in doubt, have a demolition specialist or electrician help remove all wires, outlets, or electrical fixtures from the wall.
Hooray—the wall isn’t load-bearing and no electrical connections are running between the studs. You still have to consider any HVAC or plumbing pipes, tubes, or vents running through the wall. These will be more prevalent if the wall is near a kitchen, bathroom, above a basement, or below an expansive attic. If HVAC or plumbing lines are present within the wall, this will likely require the assistance of a plumber, HVAC specialist, or a demolition professional to altogether remove and safely or reroute.
Demolishing a wall is likely beyond the safe capacity of the average homeowner. The likelihood of unintended damage and safety hazardous will probably require the help of a demolition professional.