Removing Kitchen/Dining Room Divider
Open up a dining room and kitchen area by taking out a wall.
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one sheet 1/2-inch drywall
four 1x3 furring strips
bag of 45-minute joint compound
container tile mastic
bag of grout
12-inch drywall knife
6-inch drywall knife
cordless drill with battery and magnetic screw tip
electrical meter with continuity tester
1. Always plan ahead before tearing into a wall. Most importantly, make sure the wall is not load-bearing.
If you’re not sure, get a professional opinion. Some ways to check: If your wall runs parallel to the ceiling joists or floor joists above, it is not load bearing. If it is hollow, there is no beam) over the door or window in the wall, it is not load bearing. Again, if you’re not sure, call a professional to check it out.
2. If there are any outlets or switches in the wall, then you have to map the location of the wiring. Turn off the power and knock some holes in the wall so you can get a look inside (figure A). Disconnect the switches, pulling them out of the boxes and discarding them or saving for later. (Check local codes to see what you can and can’t do yourself.) All connections and terminations (if you are just capping off an existing electrical line) must be in an accessible junction box.
3. Remove the window and door trim. Pull it off with a flat crowbar and a hammer. Toss the trim in the garbage.
4. Pull off all the drywall to expose the structure. Make sure to cut along the ceiling to ensure that the drywall paper doesn’t rip any more than is necessary. Just run a utility knife along the corner joint between the wall and the ceiling before you tear into it.
5. If the wires come from above, you’ll need to add a junction box in the ceiling to extend them to a new place. If the wires come from below, pull them into the basement and redirect them. Just extend the wires from your new junction box to the new location you’ve chosen. If you’re just capping an outlet, cap the wires and put a blank cover over the junction box.
6. Cut the vertical studs in half and pull them out (figure B). Pull the floor plate and ceiling plate out using the crowbar.
7. Patch in drywall by cutting strips to fill the hole (figure C). If there is nothing to screw to, add 1x3 blocking where necessary to ensure the edges of the patch drywall are supported. Screw the patches in using a cordless screw gun.
8. Mix 45-minute joint compound to the consistency of peanut butter. Spread a thin layer over the seam, and then lay in a strip of paper drywall tape. Spread another thin layer of joint compound over the paper tape using a 6-inch drywall knife. Wait for it to dry, and then apply another coat of joint compound using a 12-inch drywall knife.
9. Work on the floor between applying coats of drywall compound. If necessary, fill in the floor with strips of plywood. Build up the hole where the wall was to match the height of the existing underlayment. Cut tiles to fit, and then glue them down using tile mastic. Don’t walk on the floor patch for at least eight hours.
10. Install new trim pieces around the opening (figure D).
Fill in any gaps at the mitered corners using caulk (figure E).
11. Sand the drywall patch, and add a third coat of joint compound. Sand the third coat smooth, and get ready to paint.
Host Joan Steffend and designer Cy Winship combine mid-century cool and a sense of humor to create a living room for under $500.