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What is the best way to demolish a wall or ceiling?

plasterboard.jpegIf you watch any of the millions of lifestyle renovation shows you'll often see them smashing the stuffing out of walls and ceilings with hammers and demo bars as they get rid of gyprock/plaster walls, etc. Even kicking down or throwing themselves through walls.

 

Don't. Seriously. Just don't.

 

Okay, maybe just a little on one wall for fun, but seriously.

 

Let me list the reasons why...

 

  • You never know what's behind that sheeting... are you really, totally sure there are no wires or pipes?
  • You might take one almighty swing... straight into a concealed stud/upright. Great way to dislocate your shoulder...
  • You might take one almighty swing... straight into a concealed load-bearing post. Great way to destabilise your roof.
  • You create an almighty mess. Dust and chunks of plaster everywhere.
  • You end up making 3 times as many trips to the skip to drop the broken-up material.
  • You increase the chances of damaging areas you don't want to disturb or even loosening ceiling sheets & having them come down on your head.

 

So how to do it properly, and safely?

  • Rather than smashing everything up, take it apart. Bit by bit.
  • Do it in the reverse order the builders put it together - skirting & architraves, cornices then plasterboards.

 

Which do you think is easier and safer and cleaner and needs less tidying up? Carrying a nearly intact sheet out in one go or carrying out 5 bucket-loads of smashed up dusty sheeting?

 

Disassembling rather than demolishing also teaches you a lot about how a house is built. Useful stuff to know as you start rebuilding.

 

To be honest taking the time to remove sheets in big pieces doesn't actually take any longer. You lose some time on removal but you'll gain it back on the moving of waste & clean up. You'll also find you get a lot more in a skip bin when they're flat sheets.

 

I've found the best thing for getting sheets off is a bar like this that has a short handle and broad blade. The real trick is to locate the nails and start lifting from that point. - Adam_W

 

I found the same thing with renovating my kitchen and removing the old cupboards from the walls. Once you remove the doors and shelves you mostly find the cupboards are just boxes screwed to the walls and it is easier, cleaner and safer to unscrew them from the walls and take them out. - Stuardo

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