Guide to demolishing walls for the interior: 6 things to keep in mind

Kamla Villanueva Kamla Villanueva
La rehabilitación de un pequeño loft con terraza en el Cabañal, amBau Gestion y Proyectos amBau Gestion y Proyectos Modern houses
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Houses that were built half a century ago are easy to distinguish. They have long and narrow corridors with a floor layout that are often catastrophic when it comes to the placement and division of rooms. People have recognized these problems over time as needs change, in a fast paced society where families still want to put great importance to social relations, leisure and relaxation. This concept can be achieved by having an Open floor plan, a spacious home where members of the family can easily communicate with each other, and a space to breathe and relax in.

Hence, by renovating old apartments, it is best to break down some wall to create larger rooms. Although this process, may require a series of work licenses and bureaucratic procedures, which could be a tedious process.

Let's pull down those walls to create an open, relaxing home. Here's a guide to help you with the details.

Partition or load wall?

The first step that we need to take when demolishing a wall is to do your initial inspection. Check the thickness and material of the wall, this will guide you about the type of work and materials that you will need to demolish a partition or a load wall, it is important that while you inspect the wall, you should ensure that you are not going to damage the structural integrity of the foundation as well as some electrical wirings or water pipes that may be hidden within the wall.

If the room has a door, window or other type of opening, then it will be easy for you to measure the thickness of the wall thanks to the width of the door or window jamb. If it is less than 10 or 15 centimeters then what you have is a partition that is ready to be demolished.

If on the contrary there is no way to inspect the wall with the naked eye, the trick is to strike the base of the wall, if the sound is hollow then there is a possibility that it is a partition, but when in doubt, consult with a professional.

If what you have is a loading wall, then the openings in the wall should be reduced in size. It should be less than five feet wide and the spaces between them should be at least one meter away.

What are we going to find?

Once we have ensured that the wall we want to demolish is a partition, then it is easier to find the right procedure in breaking down the wall.

If it is made of plasterboard or agglomerate the task will not take you long, since we can cut the opening with a saw, preferably between two vertical spars. Once this is done, it is time to reinforce the sides by sticking wedges between the panels, on the contour of the cut, to form the interior frame.

In the case of facing a plaster brick partition, we will have to use a large diameter disk cutter to open a hole in the wall. Properly prepare the room in which you work, as it accumulates a lot of dust that can spoil and dirty the furniture. Also do not forget that the cutter carries certain risks, so protect yourself with gloves and goggles.

Partitions with cables and pipes

When considering the demolition of any partition, we advise that you study the existing house plan since it will state whether the partitions that you want to demolish are or not loading walls, as well as if they run through pipes of water supply or gas. We must also pay attention to the electrical wiring.

If this situation occurs, it will be essential to cut the supply before starting the works, as well as to move it. In the case of pipes, the new ones must be placed with sufficient inclination so that the water reaches the drains

When in doubt, disconnect all supplies to maximize safety during work, closing the stopcock and shutting off the power supply will prevent us from creating more headaches.

Wall down!

Most people have that idea wherein they can release their stress and frustration by hammering a brick wall or a partition, this should not be the case. When demolishing, you should always take protective measures and be very careful. Although the walls of your house work as separate pieces, getting rid of one of them should be done without affecting the general structure, the truth is that cracks can open up in the adjacent walls as a result of the blows, so it is important to be very careful.

The second most important thing is to have the right material, these include include the goggles to prevent dirt in the eyes, gloves to protect hands and a mallet.

First, make a cut in the different angles that join the partition that you want to pull with the rest of the walls, thus avoiding that the paint can tear. Also, make sure to always start at the top and then work your way down to make sure that part of the wall does not come off from the weight of the bricks. If it is not done correctly, then it might be a risk your safety.

After the demolition…

Once we have removed or opened a hole into a partition, it is crucial that you place a lintel to support the wall. In any of these situations and regardless of the materials we use, a structural reinforcement will be necessary, it plays a vital role especially for walls with wider openings.

Most of the beams that we find in the market for this purpose are metallic or prefabricated in concrete and must be embedded within the wall, of at least 15 centimeters, although this measurement will be greater the larger the opening is on the wall.

This spectacular apartment located in the center of Madrid and decorated by ITTA Estudio de Interiorismo has a large living room that communicates with the main entrance and the kitchen area. They have demolished one of the partitions that enclosed the room and installed a practical glass sliding door in its place.

Practical tips for a first-rate result

One of the main consequences of knocking down a wall inside our home is going to be the great amount of dust and dirt that we are going to create, so it is important that you protect the furniture of the two rooms involved or that you empty them.

Also, make sure that the floor is protected as well so that the debris do not scratch them. In addition, in order to avoid surprises and possible sanctions in the reform of your house, you must plan them well and ask for the corresponding works license, which must include the budget and the changes that are going to be made.

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