Removing Drywall – Part 1

Today I am going to show you how to remove the drywall from this wall. It may sound like a pretty simple things and really it is. There’s a couple key things that a person should remember before they start a job like that. First of all, one of the things you want to look for is look for any electrical that might be in the wall, any signs that it could be electrical.

dry wall removalObviously, down here we’ve got a receptacle so we know there’s going to be some wiring. We don’t know if it’s coming up through the floor to that receptacle or whether it’s actually above that. We don’t know. But at least we have an idea that there could be some wiring in there. So check all the way around, check the other side of the wall. In this case, I know there’s about three or four plugins and the switch over there, so we know there’s definitely going to be some wiring in there that we need to be careful of.

What I would do is find the appropriate breakers in your electrical panel, shut the power off to all those areas, just in case you happen to nick one, you don’t want to short something out, electrocute yourself or start a bit of a fire. That’s very important. Something else that could be in the wall, there could be plumbing in there, there could be water lines, drain lines, that sort of thing. Those are a little harder to find, but obviously, if you are cutting through a wall we’re going to tear the drywall off it, has a sink or something obviously to do with plumbing, you’re going to know that there should be something in there to be aware of too.

Not a bad idea to just turn the main water supply off, just in case, even if you’re not too sure whether there is anything there or not. So check those sorts of things. You want to remove any obstacles that are in the way. This grill I am going to take off down here, there’s a cold air return grill. So I am going to start with that, we’ll pop this off quick, get them out of our way. This grills overlap on to the drywall, so if you’d left them in place, you’re just going to end up bending the heck out of it trying to rip the drywall off.

So we got that out of the way. I’m also going to remove this piece of baseboard here. Another thing we want to do is, I’m just going to throw my safety glasses on, we are going to go up top and use the utility knife and make a cut right in the corner up here, where the drywall meets the ceiling. When this was originally finished, there would be a corner bead in there of paper that basically keeps that from cracking and showing up all the time.

So you want to cut that, because if you don’t and you’re going to pull the drywall off, it could rip that paper corner bead off partially back here, which wrecks your ceiling, if you’re trying to preserve the ceiling then you’re going to have a bunch of work patching it up. So, just like I said, knife sharp blade, put it right into that corner, make a pass all the way across a couple times. That would usually save a lot of aggravation so you don’t destroy the ceiling that you are trying not to.

drywall sawSo I cut all the way along there. Next thing I am going to want to do is take just a simple drywall saw and I am going to pick a spot, I usually pick three, four feet off the floor and I’ll jam the saw through the drywall carefully and start to make a cut. And I am going to cut all the way across the wall, it doesn’t have to be necessarily straight or anything. It’s just kind of a starting point, so you can kind of get a hold of the drywall.

With this type of saw, like I said, you want to pick a spot where you’re not going to be into a stud, so I can tell here I am kind of in a hollow area or a hollow sounding area, so I can put my saw in there and start away. So just put the point against the drywall, use the palm of your hand to kind of stab through and once you’re through, just start sawing away. You’ll feel as you cut along, as you come up to any obstacles. In this case, I could tell I’ve the edge of a stud there, I’m just going to flatten the angle of the saw, just a little bit more, until I get passed the stud and I kind of feel where the saw was able to move back again.

You don’t want to go too aggressive here.Like I said, there’s still going to be some wiring, possibly some plumbing inside of there, so if you go perpendicular to the wall and start making big strokes, you’re not going to be able to tell, you could catch a wire in there and you’ll have it either slashed or cut right off by the time you realized you did anything. So keep your blade out a little bit, on a little more of an angle, flat to the wall. That way, your blade isn’t protruding too far in there. So I am just going to keep cutting all the way along here.

Mathew Lilienthal