Removing Walls – Where do I start?

General, Home extension, Interiors, Loft conversion

Removing a wall can open up a living area and add additional space to a property. While it is possible to do it yourself, getting the experts in is a safer option. There are qualified architects, engineers and builders that have the specialised skills and equipment to carry out a job of this kind. Either way, if you choose to do it yourself or not, it is valuable to understand the process required when knocking down a wall.

Firstly it is vital to identify the different types of walls:

  1. External or main supporting walls are normally made up from brick or blocks. Knocking through this type of material requires professional supervision and equipment.
  2. Partition walls are commonly 4-inch thick brick or block internal walls. These are slightly easier to remove, however it can be a messy job. You will need to re-plaster the wall and tend to the floor where the removal has taken place. Also, it is best to check with an architect or builder whether it is a supporting wall or not.
  3. Stud partitions walls are made from a timber frame covered in plasterboard. These non-supporting walls are the easiest type of wall to remove.

Professional advice

Whenever you plan to make any structural changes to a property, it is both crucial and beneficial to seek expert advice. Source a reputable architect or engineer who can advise you on your options for removing a wall. They are more than likely to advise you to hire an experienced builder. Although this consultation will cost you money, it will be worthwhile in the long run and reduce the likelihood of something going wrong.


Doing it yourself

If you are confident that you are able to undertake this type of job yourself, it is important to be cautious and prepare yourself for the mess. You may also face some difficulties when trying to identify whether a wall is load bearing and where any hidden pipes or wiring are. If you are uncertain, seek professional advice.

Before you start, remember these key factors…

  • Place down dust sheets
  • Remove the existing skirting board
  • For load bearing walls use and erect wall supports, props and boards
  • Remove the plaster and masonry
  • Add stones into the structure for extra support
  • Repair and refinish the floor
  • Wear a dust mask, goggles, protective footwear and sensible clothes.

The paperwork

Whether you are hiring a builder or not,  you need to submit your plan to your local Building Control Officer for approval for any load bearing walls. However for non-supporting walls you aren’t always required to submit plans, but it is still best to enquire with your Building Control Officer and seek advice for any potential issues, fire regulations and legislation changes.


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