I remember the first thing we did when moving to our both our properties, was to start thinking about which walls we will remove. It is so easy to imagine it, but when it comes to doing it, the reality is often not how you thought it would be. If you are 100% sure that “this wall needs to go” you have to consider the difficulty, work involved and the most importantly – the cost!
Removing a non-supporting wall is the best scenario, otherwise you have a supporting wall, or load-bearing wall. In our first property we removed a wall between the kitchen and dining room to create an open plan kitchen-diner space.
It was a small wall approximately three meters wide and when we got an estimate from a builder for £1000 (excluding skip and plastering work), we decided to take it down ourselves. This took quite some research and many discussion with other builders, as to whether the wall was non-supporting. A very important part to get it right! If it is a non-supporting wall, then there is no need to notify building regulations at the local council or add any reinforcements to the house.
Tools required: Large sledge hammer, standard hammer, chisel, wheelbarrow, trowel, drill mixer
Shopping list: approx. £50
- dust masks
- dust sheets
- skip (approx.£120 – hire it your local company)
- plasterer (approx. £80-120 per day)
Estimated project cost: £300
To do list:
- If you don’t know if the wall is a non-supporting wall, then call for an experience builder to confirm.
- Prepare your work space. Make sure all dustsheets are laid down and try to separate the whole room from the rest of the house. Remember to use dust masks!
- Start digging a small hole in the top middle using hammer and chisel. Once you have created a hole start increasing its size. When you are confident the wall is going down well use a large sledge hammer. Clear all debris as you go to keep the work-space safe and easily accessible. Remove all excess wall remains from the floor and sides.
- There will be lots of dirt and especially dust. Give a good clear out.
- Now is the time to make the edges look good. Create a good cement mixture to fill holes and make remaining wall surface on the edges look as smooth as possible.
You will need some man power – call friends for help! Make sure you add pizza and beers to the shopping list (not included above).
Get a qualified electrician if you need to deal with any electricity on the way.
Check which way the floor boards are running. If there are parallel to the wall (as in not crossing each other) then there is a chance that it is a non-supporting wall. You will not know until you see what is above the top brick of the wall you want to knock down. If there is nothing then you are good, but if there is a brick you probably have a supporting wall.
Be prepared to hire a professional plasterer to make the walls look good before painting. Plastering is a skill that you can’t do yourself. We have tried it and it was a disaster.
Although we didn’t need a large skip for this project, we hired one anyway and kept it in front of our house for all the other projects, until it was completely full. By paying slightly extra you can use it for almost anything you want.