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How To Tear Down a Brick Wall Safely

tearing down a brick wall

“Tearing down a wall” is one of those things that seems like it just has to be both extremely straight forward and extremely satisfying. In reality – while the “satisfying” part might be true, there’s a lot more thought that needs to go into the process than just “how do I make this thing collapse”.

In order to help your wall demolition go smoothly and according to plan, here are some of the things that you should do in order to stay safe during the process:

[1] Wear Protective Gear

protective construction gearUse protective goggles and either a face mask or a respirator. Don’t let pride get the better of you – you don’t want a lung-full of dust, or shards of brick getting into your eyes.

[2] Check to See If You Need a Demolition Permit

This point isn’t really a matter of health and safety, but regardless: give your local authorities a call before doing any kind of DIY wall demolition. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law just because you didn’t feel like doing the necessary checks beforehand.

[3] Never Tear Down a Load-Bearing Wall without an Engineer’s Approval

DIY mistakeIf the wall that you’re planning to demolish supports the weight of something else above it, then the worst thing you can do is to recklessly charge in with your sledgehammer and begin taking it apart. Get in touch with a qualified engineer if you absolutely have to tear down a load-bearing wall; he can help you to safely transfer the weight load. If in doubt, don’t tear it down.

[4] Check the Blueprints First

If you’re knocking down a wall which might contain electrical lines, gas pipes, and so on – find a blueprint before beginning any work. If there are live electrical wires or gas-pipes running through the wall, you’ll want to get in touch with an electrician or plumber to shut things down safely before you proceed.

[5] Set up A Ladder or Scaffolding

ladderYou want to be able to reach the top of the wall while being secure and stable. A good ladder or scaffold will get the job done.

[6] Start Small, Start at the Top

Begin at the top of the wall, not at the bottom. You do not want, by any stretch of the imagination, want a wall to come collapsing down on you. The ideal way to begin is to use a chisel on the mortar connecting the top and second-from-top layers of bricks, in order to break things apart methodically. Take it apart brick by brick.

[7] Remove Pipes, Wires, Etc.

wiringAs you go along with the demolition, be sure to remove piping and wires sequentially. Tackle it the same as you would with the bricks – bit by bit. A good way of getting through wire and pipe is to use a reciprocating saw.

[8] Use a Sledgehammer

When the wall is low enough, feel free to crack it into segments and break it apart using a sledgehammer. This is probably the part that you were dreaming of all along.

 

Oh, and whilst you're busy with the sledgehammer, you pretty much have to have this on in the background: