How to Remove Drywall

Before you begin tearing down drywall, be sure to read these helpful steps. We'll show you how to get the job done safely and efficiently.

If you love watching the demolition scenes in home improvement shows, you'll probably enjoy removing drywall. It's an important project any homeowner should know how to do. But before you start swinging a hammer around, there are some important steps you need to know. Below, we show you how to safely and effectively remove drywall in your home. It's likely easier than your imagined and, admittedly, pretty fun.

Getting Started

After the moldings are out of the way, the next step is to remove the drywall or plaster from the wall. Before you start smashing the wall with a hammer, find out if there are any pipes, ducts, or wiring inside the walls.

This is a messy job, so work carefully to avoid creating excessive debris and dust. Remove drywall in large pieces. Start near the top of the wall and work down, prying the drywall free of its fasteners as you go. Drywall is inexpensive, so don't try to save it for reuse. Construction adhesive residue on studs can be a problem, but a heavy-duty paint scraper and chisel may remove enough of it to allow you to hang drywall. Construction adhesive remover should soften troublesome residue spots. Provide plenty of ventilation and give the remover the recommended time to do its job. Be sure to wear a dust mask rated for fine dust, not just nuisance dust. A fine-dust mask has two straps and is thicker than a nuisance-dust mask.

  • Start to Finish 3 Hours
  • Difficulty         Projects Kind of Easy

What you need

Tools

  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  • Flat bar
  • Handsaw
  • End nips
  • Reciprocating saw, for removing parts of walls
  • Power drill or driver, for removing drywall screws

Materials

  • Dust mask
  • Construction adhesive remover, if needed

How to do it

Step 1 Prep Wall

Shut off power at the service panel and remove coverplates from the wall boxes. If you're ending drywall removal at a wall or ceiling corner, slice through the joint compound and tape with a utility knife. A saw cut along a stud forms the boundary of a partial removal job.

Step 2 Make Handholds

Punch a line of hammer holes high along the stud bays to create handholds for removal. Work carefully to ensure you don't damage concealed plumbing lines, heat ducts, or wiring.

Step 3 Remove Drywall

Grip the drywall and pull down, ripping the material in manageable chunks. To avoid excessive handling, drop the pieces directly into a disposal container instead of onto the floor.

Step 4 Clean Up

Clean up the studs by yanking nails or backing out screws. To make sure you find every fastener, slide a putty knife or the edge of your hammerhead along the stud. Even if you're completely removing the wall, fastener removal makes the studs safer to handle.

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