How To Remove Drywall

Knowing how to remove drywall, instead of hiring a professional, can save you lots of money.  That being said, removing drywall can be a dusty, strenuous project.  With proper preparation and tools, you can minimize the time and effort it can take to remove drywall.

Preparing To Remove Drywall

Always wear safety glasses and work gloves to protect yourself from harm while working on any project.


  1. Remove all hazards. Make sure that all electricity, water, and gas lines are are shut off at their main source into the house.
  2. Hang plastic sheeting to seal off the rest of the room or house. Attach the sheeting with duct tape. Close any cabinet doors. Close the air vents to the room. Close any windows.
  3. After turning off all electricity (see step 1) Carefully remove the trim from around any electrical devices in the area, including wall switches, receptacles, and thermostats.
  4. Identify and mark wall studs. To find the walls studs:

Walk around the room carefully knocking on the wall. Hollow sounding spots should be unobstructed drywall, but harder knocking spots will have studs and possibly piping throughout. Using a stud finder makes this task go much quicker and easier.

Mark areas with studs or fixtures with tape and work carefully around them.

Remove any baseboard or crown moulding from the location using a flat bar or other prying tool.  Carefully, insert your flat bar behind the moulding prying from the walls slowly, working from nail to nail.  Do the same thing with any molding or trim around windows and doors.

Steps To Remove Drywall

  1. crowbar-153511_1280Drywall can be screwed or nailed to wall studs.  If the screws are visible, you can try to removing them.  Begin at the edge of the wall or where the trim has been removed. Place the pry bar above a nail and pull the drywall toward you. Move the pry bar to below the nail and pull the drywall towards you. Repeat at each nail section on the same edge. Once the drywall is loosened, pry the nails out. Most pry bars have a slot for pulling nails. If your pry bar doesn’t have this slot, use the claw section of a hammer. Remove as many nails from the drywall as possible.
  2. If the drywall is hard to pry away from the wall, use your pry bar and knock a hole in the drywall.  Use the hole to pry a piece of drywall away from the wall.  Use this hole to start prying smaller pieces of the drywall away from the wall stud.
  3. Remove all remaining nails located on the wall studs. Use the slotted end of the pry bar or the claw end of a hammer.
  4. Use a shop vac to clean up any dust from around where you removed the drywall. Clean up the area completely and remove the plastic sheeting and duct tape.

How To Remove Drywall From A Ceiling

Removing drywall from a ceiling can be even harder than removing drywall from a wall.  Wearing safety glasses and a hard hat are a must for safety.  Remember all of those pieces of drywall will be falling down, in some cases, very near or on you.  Remember that drywall is heavy—especially waterlogged drywall.

Just how much does drywall weigh?  It is difficult to determine the exact weight of a sheet of drywall because of the variables in manufacturing.  Drywall may weigh more or less because of humidity levels during or after manufacture, the manufacturing process or type of drywall used.  A rough estimate for a 4 ft. by 8 ft. piece of drywall that is ⅜ inches thick will roughly weigh between 39 to 45 lbs!

To remove drywall from a ceiling, follow the same preparation steps as listed previously.

If you can access the attic space above the drywall ceiling, remove any insulation from above in the attic space.  This step will keep any insulation from falling down as you remove the drywall.

Once all insulation has been cleared and disposed:

  1. To remove a section whose edge hits the bottom of a joist, you can pull straight downward.  It will separate from the adjacent section of drywall at the joint.  After the joint compound breaks away, cut through the embedded tape with a utility knife.
  2. Or, punch into the center of the drywall with your pry bar or reciprocating saw and slice away strips until you meet a stud.  Then pull these strips down by hand.

If the section of drywall bridges a joist, but you only want one side of the drywall removed, cut with your reciprocating saw alongside the joist.  Be sure to cut on the inner portion so that the adjacent section of drywall is still supported on the joist.

 If you have questions regarding how to remove drywall, contact us and we will be happy to help!