|Before and after plans - rough version|
|The passage - currently dead space as it leads nowhere. That wall has to go!|
Because we're rookies (and the wall we're removing is load-bearing), our builder will be sorting out the structural side of things, but to save costs (and because it's fun) we're doing the demo ourselves.
That means that in this case we'll be stopping at the studs because otherwise we'd be leaving the ceiling unsupported. Our architect has designed for a beam to be inserted in the roofspace and tied in to replace the need for the studs, but until our builder is on site with props later this week the studs have to stay.
1. Make sure you know the function of the wallIf it's load-bearing or a bracing element you need a building consent. If it's neither of those things there'll still be a bit of building work to make it good, so do your due diligence. Before you smash anything up make sure you have a plan for getting the house back to a liveable state. For us that means calling in the builder at some point - and if you're not too sure that probably means you're in the same boat.
2. Check the location of wiring and plumbing
|Where the switchboard used to be|
It's not always obvious that there are services hidden inside walls, but if you crawl around in the roofspace above the wall and have a good look you should get a reasonably good idea.
3. Safety first
Get your earmuffs and dust mask out. This is noisy, messy work and you want to stay healthy so you can enjoy the fruits of your labour.
4. Remove door, architraves and skirtingsIf there's a door take it down and get it out of the way. Then it's time to break out the flatbar, crowbar and sledgehammer (our lovely set were wedding gifts). It should be possible to tap the flatbar in behind each piece of timber and then pry it off. For long pieces, like either side of a doorway or a long stretch of skirting, you may need to lever it off in multiple places before it will come away. We're saving skirting and architraves so that we can match up new doorways in this old house - if so you'll want to be a bit more cautious. They tend to come off in one piece reasonably readily, though.
5. Let the smashing begin!
Where you've removed trim you'll probably have an exposed edge which will allow you to start levering the wall lining off. So you might not have any excuse to smash - but I won't tell if you do a little bit of smashing anyway. ;-)
So that's our process - not sophisticated but gets the job done. I probably don't have to say it but I definitely recommend checking in with a builder or similarly qualified expert before doing anything - I'm not advocating knocking down walls all over the place, and I'd hate for your house to fall down. But there's room in this process for amateurs to get their hands dirty - we'd know because we are definitely amateurs!
Before and after - looking towards the kitchen
And we're far from finished our new lounge, but we can already feel the difference in the space - heaps more light and it feels huge even though all those studs are still limiting the useful space.
Before and after - looking down the passage
Have you ever knocked down a wall? Do you think it looks like fun or would you leave it to the pros?