Removing a wall is one of the most common home renovation projects undertaken by Americans today, and it has many potential benefits. Sometimes there’s a small room that nobody uses, and taking a wall out would significantly enlarge a more important room (living room, dining room, etc.). Sometimes an older home was designed with a fairly “closed” floor plan, and knocking down the right wall can help modernize it.
Whatever the case, many people are curious about removing a wall in their home, but aren’t exactly sure what the process is like. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to grab a sledge hammer and have at it. That wall may be important to the structural integrity of your home, and there may be important infrastructure (wires, vents, gas lines) inside.
When you hire a home remodeler to knock down a wall (or when you DIY the correct way), the process of removing a wall in your home will look something like this.
Assessment & Quote
Unless you choose to go about wall removal on your own, you’ll need a professional’s honest opinion. This usually begins with a visit to your home and a careful inspection of the wall. Based on the size of the wall, the building materials involved, the finish, and whether or not the wall is load bearing, you’ll be provided with a detailed quote for the wall removal project. It is possible to safely remove a load bearing wall, but specific measures are required to offset the loss of the support. This will increase costs.
Once you contract a home remodeler, the first actual phase of wall removal will be a careful prep of the area. This could involve plywood, drop cloth and/or sheets of cardboard to protect nearby walls, floors and windows from the actual force of the wall removal.
Professional wall removal isn’t as swift or exciting as swinging a sledge hammer and breaking through the wall. The method of takedown will vary depending on the materials involved (drywall, plaster, wood, studs, etc.), whether the wall is load bearing, and whether there are any wires or pipes inside. Usually the process is meticulous and slow. Each layer is carefully removed in a way that won’t disturb or damage the structure of the home any more than needed. This way, any necessary materials or components of the wall are left in place.
Finish & Cleanup
A crucial part of the process is refinishing the area to make it seem like the wall was never there. Professional remodelers are seasoned at this type of work and will go about it confidently, leaving you with an open area that looks absolutely seamless. If you have any concerns about the finish, the contractor should be willing to address them.
Cleanup and inspection are the final tasks, and any reputable company will complete them with the same amount of care and attention they put into the wall removal itself. You should be left with 1) a safe and structurally sound remodel, 2) a seamless and beautiful finish, and 3) a clean area and peace of mind.
Where to begin?
As you can see, removing a wall should be an extremely careful and methodical process that respects the structure of your home and leads to a truly more open and valuable floor plan. The finish is equally important—it should look totally natural, as if the wall never existed. Anything less and you’ll probably be unhappy with the results.
Getting a professional opinion is important when it comes to wall removals, even if you plan to do the work yourself. It highlights any technical issues with the wall, and can enhance your perspective on the floor plan and value of the home. Once everything is set, you’ll be able to move forward and see the interior of your home transform for the better.
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