Project Take Down Wall, Part 1

 Post wall demolition and pre drywall installation, Murph enjoys the new view!

Post wall demolition and pre drywall installation, Murph enjoys the new view!

Finally I have some time to post about our wall renovation! This post is going to be all about the demolition; part 2 will be the finishing steps.

The whole process was completed a little over a week ago and just over a week total. Jon and his dad worked all weekend and got a lot done, but there were several finishing steps afterward, and some required waiting in between.

First of all, we totally changed plans after my last post! I realized I really wanted to end up with a little more space, not just an open feeling, and the only way to do this was to make the two rooms function like one. With two half-walls, this wasn't going to happen. So we took everything out except one column!

Jon and Kevin started by cutting the drywall with utility knives. We had visions of taking a sledgehammer to the wall, but Kevin was much smarter and made sure it was all done as neatly as possible for minimal cleanup. They even used a shop-vac while they were cutting to suck up the drywall dust! Murph was getting a little bit nervous about what was starting to happen...

If you look closely, you can see the column we ended up leaving drawn in pencil to the right of the section of the wall that's gone. 

After taking out the drywall up to the column on the living room side, they pulled it out on the kitchen side. 

All vacuumed up!

Next, they took out the drywall on both sides of the rest of the wall - from the column in the middle to the end.

Here's what our front yard looked like in the process!

Next, a trip to Lowe's to get plywood, drywall, paint and lots of miscellaneous supplies. Jon and Kevin also went to a local lumber yard to get the lumber they needed for the beams they put up. This is all still day 1!

When we got home, they took the studs out on half of the wall and put up a temporary wall on this side. I mentioned in my last post that this IS a load-bearing wall, so the temporary wall is essential to have in place while the studs are out and the beams aren't up yet. This is what a temporary wall looks like! Very quick to go up and easy to take down.  

Next, they cut the lumber to size for one of the load-bearing beams and wedged the beam into place on top of studs they had added on either end.. This was not an easy task, as the beams are super heavy!

Above, you can see we didn't take off the drywall that covers the beam on the living room side since only one side was necessary to put the beam up. From the kitchen, below, you can see the beam in place. 

A note about the column - it was not something we had to leave in place for support. Lots of people have asked me that. We could have taken it out, but it would've made the beam installation part of this process a lot harder. Lumber that size isn't as easy to find, and putting it into place might've required extra people. The main reason I wanted to leave it was to help disguise the corner of the kitchen floor that juts out into the hardwood, as you can see above. We also have an outlet on it now which is really helpful. 

The rest of the demolition involved repeating the same process on the other half of the wall. In the first picture of this post, you can see the other half with the studs out and the beam in place. There used to be a door going from what was the hallway into the kitchen, so that whole frame was taken out along with the drywall at the beginning. 

All of this took about a day and a half, and the rest of the week was spent doing the finishing steps - details on those coming soon in Part 2!