Removing your drywall without having to destroy your ceiling may sound like an impossible feat, but with time and effort, you can do it. With the right tools, we will show you how to accomplish this mission.
Many homeowners who want to raise or change their ceilings must remove the drywall and covering plaster covering the roof. The most challenging part is carefully removing each drywall without damaging your ceiling.
This kind of job is messy, so much care is required to avoid gathering too much debris and dust. Your starting point should be at the edge where the ceiling meets the wall as you work inwards.
Ensure that you are equipped with the appropriate tools and a little help from someone. Many things are hidden behind drywall. They include plumbing pipes and wiring that could be interfered with when you are taking down your drywall.
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12 Steps to Remove Drywall without Damaging the Ceiling:
Step 1: Put on protective gear
Your drywall may have dust from the ceiling or the attic, with particles and fiberglass that can come into contact with your eyes. These particles may penetrate through your nose to irritate the throat and lungs.
You, therefore, need some quality protective gear. Get yourself some heavy-duty gloves, a mask, safety glasses, and a helmet if necessary.
Also, wear a heavy pair of jeans, overalls, and long clothing that cover your arms. If you can access a helmet, you will need to protect your head from unseen falling objects.
Step 2: Clear out your attic
In a house where you have an attic above your ceiling, you need to check for any stored items such as old clothing, books, suitcases, and even electronic devices. Take out this stuff and store them temporarily as you work on your ceiling.
You can make it quick by having an extra person to give an additional hand instead of making too many backs and forth trips.
Step 3: Pull out insulation material
Pulling out installation material ensures that you do not cause accidents from below as you remove the drywall. Pull the materials one after the other and store them in another room. You will put them back after installing a new ceiling if that is the case.
For an attic with a floor covering, you are advised to remove the installation after removing the drywall. The same applies to ceilings without a loft.
Step 4: Clear out your space
It would be best if you took down wall hangings and décor to keep them out of the way, disconnect all electric cables and any fixtures installed on the wall to protect them from any damage when you pull down the drywall.
Next, you need to clear your floor space, remove all furniture, carpets, rugs, and anything else that would take up your working space. Ensure you have kept the items nearby for easy returning when your operation is over.
- Long Utility knife
- Cordless drill
- Pry bar
- Plastic drop sheets
Step 5: Covering walls and floors
This step will not be necessary if you do not have plastic drop sheets, but if you have access to them, find a few sheets and attach them using masking tape to the edges of the wall where it meets the ceiling. The plastic sheets should be long enough to drape over the floor and protect the floor.
Canvas or cotton drop cloths will readily absorb moisture and get soaked, so using such material is not advisable. You need your surface to be less messy to allow for easy clean-up after work.
Step 6: Cut down the power supply
On your breaker box, find the power control switch for the room you are removing your drywall. Switch off the power supply to minimize the risks of getting shocked.
Now that your lighting source is out, set up lamps or flashlights that you will need for visibility.
Step 7: Remove all ceiling fixtures
You will need to clear your ceiling by removing the fans, light holders, vents, and any other object mounted on the ceiling.
Get a screwdriver to loosen all screws holding them onto the ceiling. Disconnect electrical cables and carefully take them out of the ceiling.
Step 8: Scan the edges using a utility knife
Take your utility knife and run it along the edges of your ceiling where it meets the wall. Cutting through the drywall is necessary to separate the adhesive holding the ceiling to the wall.
This process reduces damages to your wall if drywall is pulled out directly.
Step 9: Hunt down nails
You are using a stud locator to check whether electrical wires or water pipes are behind the ceiling. Get a strong magnet as well to locate the nails or screws that hold your drywall and the framing together.
Mark a few nails to identify the ceiling joists to avoid damaging them when you start pulling out your drywall.
Step 10: Pull out the nails
With a hammer and a light pry bar, hit the pry bar slightly into the drywall to reach the nail head for better grip. Pry out the nails until they are completely disengaged from the joists.
If your ceiling was mounted using screws, get yourself a screw gun and loosen the screws but do not go all the way out.
Loosen all screws at equal length so that you will use little effort to take the drywall down. And also, be careful. Remember to protect yourself from getting hit with the drywall above you. This is because nothing is holding it together at that point.
Step 11: Gently remove the drywall
It may sound like an easy feat getting the drywalls down, but there must be a few nails or screws that could not come out for any frame. Get a more extended pry bar to pull the drywall away.
If it still resists and tries to crackle as you pry down, check if there are some screws and nails that have not been loosened. Stop the removal and remove any joining nails, and if it does not work, you will have to force your drywall down to let the nails rip through it.
Step 12: Clean up the debris
Once you are done taking out each piece of drywall from your ceiling, you will need to clean up the dust and debris that may have fallen away from the plastic sheet.
Have your dustpan and broom ready to collect all particles and put them in a trash container.
In many situations where people want to remove their drywall, the demolition crews bang many holes in it with sledgehammers, then tearing them into pieces.
When all the hammering is done, they remove the masses of drywall surrounding the joints held by screws and nail heads. They conclude this process by yanking out fasteners and leaving behind chunks of crumbly drywall as they try to manage the dust.
The vigorous hammering method may work when you want to remodel your home, but for smaller or cleaner projects. Just take-out screws and nails one after the other and pull out the sheets in one place.
The slow process allows you to maintain the condition of insulators, wiring, and plumbing covered by the drywall ceiling. You will also create a better working surface if you replace the entire drywall. The extracted drywall will be easy to collect for disposal.