Drywall Removal Process: Expert Demolition Tips & Options

This article serves as a basic guide that reveals tricks to carrying out a comprehensive and satisfactory drywall demolition job. So, are you ready? Read on to find all the details involved in this process.

Interior demolition procedures are quite varied and require a systematic approach for proper execution. This is why we’re discussing the drywall removal process and demolition tips.

It doesn’t matter whether you lean more towards DIY technique adoption or prefer calling the pros.

About Drywall Removal

First off, the term “dry” in drywall might sound confusing.

However, it’s a simple term that refers to its installation. Unlike most traditional walls that involved the use of wet plaster, drywall is quite different.

This comes in preformed sheets. But that isn’t what our focus is.

When installed, drywall is expected to serve for many years. Now, removal or demolition of drywall either follows the need for remodeling or to get rid of defective walls. There could be other possible reasons for demolition.

Whatever the case is, the wall must make way. So, how do you begin?

Drywall demolition isn’t a complex procedure at all. As a matter of fact, it can be removed using DIY techniques.

However, moving ahead with demolition requires an understanding of the basic steps to follow. This is where we jump to the next point on how to perform a drywall demolition process.

How To Tear Down A Drywall

If you wish to perform or handle a drywall removal procedure yourself, you’ll find these tips helpful. First, you must know that this is a messy job.

With this understanding, you should be prepared to get your hands dirty.

Secondly, drywall demolition will be impossible without the right tools. So, tools required include a power drill or driver for screw removal, utility knife, reciprocating saw, and a hammer.

Others include end nips, flat bar, and handsaw. Apart from the tools required, you’ll need to have protective gear such as a dust mask and gloves.

Drywall removal can be performed in several ways.

Here, we’ll be looking at two ways to do this; the general or common removal technique as well as a more precise removal method. This is also called a surgical remodeling method.

i. Common Drywall Removal Technique

Drywall removal doesn’t have to be a complicated process. In other words, this is a straightforward process if you know what to do.

Kick-starting this process follows several processes that include making the needed preparations, punch handholds, and pull out the drywall.

This is followed by a cleanup of the demolition area.

  • Making the Needed Preparations

Prepping for drywall removal involves removing all cover plates from wall boxes.

Before then, you should switch off the power at the service panel. These actions should be safe enough to proceed to the next demolition step

  • Punching Handholds

To be able to remove drywall, the creation of handholds will be necessary. This is due to the absence of a point from which the outer layer will be pulled off. To make the handholds, a hammer will come in handy.

Use the hammer to punch a line of holes along the length of the drywall.

This should be punched at the upper part.

However, you’ll need to be careful not to damage utility lines during this process. If you notice or suspect the presence of utility lines (electricity and plumbing lines) within the wall, consider contacting a professional.

Heating ducts may also be embedded or covered within the walls. With professional help, these lines aren’t damaged in the process of removal.

With the handholds successfully punched across the drywall, it’s time to move to the next stage of demolition.

  • Pulling Out Drywall

Remember we earlier said the handholds punched should be above. Now, gripping the handholds, pull out or rip open the drywall. This should expose the skeletal structure of the wall.

Continue ripping out drywall chunks until it’s entirely stripped off.

If you have a disposal container around (which you should), drop these for onward disposal during cleanup.

Sometimes, you may find insulation material within the drywall. These too should be torn apart after pulling out the drywall.

With the boards and insulation torn down, what’s left is the skeletal structure. Your reciprocating saw will prove useful at this point. Here, you’ll need to cut down the wooden structure into smaller bits until it’s completely removed.

A pry bar may be necessary to pull out wooden components stuck to the floor. When all is completed, what remains is to clear out the mess created.

  • Cleanup of Demolition Area

A proper cleanup of the demolition area should follow. Having a wheelbarrow close by will be of benefit. Debris should be piled into the wheelbarrow and emptied into a disposal container or dumpster.

If you don’t have a dumpster, consider hiring one for this purpose. This is then wheeled off for onward disposal.

ii. The Surgical Remodeling Method

The removal technique discussed above focuses on the most common removal method for drywalls. The next method we’ll be considering is the surgical remodeling technique.

You shouldn’t be confused by the name this process goes by. It simply refers to a more accurate procedure compared to the one above.

  • Finding a Basis for Comparison

To better understand the surgical remodeling method, consider the common drywall demolition method described above.

First, you’ll need to punch holes on the drywall, and then pull the wall down piece by piece before removing the skeletal structure.

A much different and more calculated approach is adopted for the surgical remodeling method. Instead of using sledgehammers to bang on, or punch handholds, the screws holding the drywall are targeted for loosening.

Here, a power tool or screwdriver is used to unscrew drywall sheets.

Next, any nails present are also removed, thus leaving the sheets free which are then removed completely. This is a much more professional approach to drywall removal as it doesn’t include unnecessary bangs or noise.

  • How to Perform the Surgical Drywall Removal Procedure

Using a long-handled utility knife that protects your knuckles from rubbing against the wall, score the tape found along with drywall corners including ceiling wall intersections.

Of course, the utility knife blade should be placed at a horizontal position when cutting.

Using a drill (preferably cordless), locate screws in the drywall. This is possible when using a sharp Philips tip bit and a racketeer stud ball magnet. Screws are then removed using the sharp bit.

With screws out of the way, what remains is to remove or loosen the sheet.

You’ll need to tug the drywall edges for the sheet to come off. The seam between the upper and lower sheets can be cut using a utility knife. Having scored the seam, the next step is to break the drywall sheets apart.

This method saves you the stress of having to deal with lots of debris in the form of dust and several chunks of sheets. In some situations, the skeletal structure may need to be reused or remodeled.

If it won’t be used, then it also needs to give way. Your reciprocating saw will come in handy for this procedure.

DIY Drywall Removal Vs Expert Help: Which is better?

For most drywall removal situations, the expertise involved when dealing with professionals gives better results. In other words, professionals perform a more comprehensive and thorough drywall removal job.

Homeowners seeking to adopt the DIY approach may not be skilled enough.

More important is the availability of the right tools and knowing how to use them. When an experienced technician is called upon to perform drywall removal, such a person comes prepared.

By prepared, we mean having all the tools necessary for the job.

In most cases, a DIY’er will have to get or purchase certain tools for the job.

Getting the right tools doesn’t translate to knowing what to do with them. So, if you have limited knowledge on how to proceed with your drywall removal project, consider professional help as a more viable alternative not minding the drywall removal cost.

What more? You won’t have to bother about how or where to dispose of debris removed from the demolition site. Most demolition services will figure that out because they’ll be handling the cleanup process.

Are Permits Necessary?

Permits may not be required for drywall removal in certain locations.

However, in other locations, this may be a requirement. It’s important to find out what applies to your location and obtain all necessary permits before the commencement of demolition work.

Who Performs Drywall Demolition?

Demolition crews or demolition contractors won’t be necessary for drywall demolition jobs as such would be overkill. Instead, an experienced handyman would serve to perform or carry out all the demolition work necessary.

If you’ve read to this point, you should have gained a better understanding of drywall removal processes. Also included in the article are demolition tips that will prove useful towards achieving your aim.

Because drywall removal isn’t a complicated process, DIY demolition methods can be used.

However, there are cases where utility lines may be embedded within the wall structure. For such, it’s best to allow a technician to handle the job.

This helps avoid breaking through plumbing lines among other forms of damages.

Related Articles: