How Much Does It Cost to Knock Down a Wall?

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Updated January 11, 2022
Modern home with open floor plan
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

The typical cost of knocking down a wall is $300 to $10,000, depending on the type of wall and the design of your home

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Knocking down an interior wall in your home can be a key element to a renovation project. If you are looking to expand your kitchen, open up one of your bedrooms, or add another entrance to your living room, you will have to hire a pro to knock down a load-bearing wall.

The average cost to remove a wall will be $300 to $1,000 for a non-load-bearing wall and $1,200 to $10,000 for a load-bearing wall. The design of your home will also impact this cost, as multi-story houses tend to cost more, particularly if you are removing a wall from the bottom level. 

Wall removal varies by type, with removal of non-load-bearing walls averaging $300 to $1,000

How Much Does It Cost to Tear Down a Non-Load-Bearing Wall?

As previously mentioned, you can get rid of a non-load-bearing wall for around $300 to $1,000. It can be difficult for the average homeowner to tell the difference between a non-load-bearing wall and a load-bearing wall, as from the outside, they tend to look the same. However, each offers a different level of support. The home’s architectural plans may indicate which walls are non-load-bearing. Generally speaking, non-load-bearing partitions will not have any walls, posts, or other supports directly below or above them. However, there can be exceptions to any rule, so you should hire a professional inspector to figure out if the wall is load-bearing or not.

How Much Does It Cost to Knock Down a Load-Bearing Wall?

Load-bearing walls will be more expensive to remove, as they act as necessary support for everything above and below them. It will cost $1,200 to $3,000 to remove a load-bearing wall in a single-story home. When it comes to multi-level homes, potential complications increase along with the cost. Expect to pay $3,200 to $10,000 for wall excavation in a multi-story house. 

As a quick primer, a load-bearing wall will typically sit directly above metal or multi-board wood beams in a basement, directly above or below other load-bearing walls, directly above or below attic knee walls, or perpendicular to floor joists. Additionally, every exterior wall is load-bearing.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Knock Down a Wall?

Every renovation project is unique in size, difficulty level, and scope, so costs will vary according to individual issues that arise. Wall removal cost estimates vary by the size and design of your home, the amount of labor involved, and whatever replacement materials will be necessary. 

Also, there is a lot going on behind the average wall, including pipes, wires, and structural support beams. All of this impacts the cost estimate. To get an accurate quote, make sure you factor in the cost of a structural engineer to assess your specific needs.

Support Beams

You cannot knock down a load-bearing wall without putting in some kind of alternative support structure in its place. Luckily, the same structural engineer who knocks down your wall will source out a contractor to install a support beam of some kind. Steel support beams are costly, at $1,300 to $5,000, though they are incredibly durable. A more cost-effective option is a laminated veneer lumber (LVL) beam, which ranges in price from $55 to $400, with an added labor cost of $200 to $400 per beam. 

It is extremely important to source this job to a competent professional with plenty of experience. Improperly installed support beams can cause unlevel floors, cracked ceilings, sticking doors, and, worst of all, complete structural collapse.

Plumbing

A professional plumber will likely have to come in to replace or remove some pipes behind a wall. The exact rates will vary depending on the complexity of the job and the number of pipes that need servicing, but hiring a local plumber will cost $45 to $200 per hour, plus the cost of materials.

Electrical Wiring

Walls also hide crucial electrical wiring. Call in an electrician near you to remove and reroute these wires. The total cost will vary depending on the complexity of the job, but electricians will cost around $50 to $100 per hour. Most electricians will charge a one to two-hour minimum rate even if the project ends up being on the simpler side. If the electrician discovers something unexpected, such as outdated or sub-standard wiring, the rate could go up.

Wallpaper Removal and Replacement

You may have to hire someone to replace the wallpaper to match adjoining areas of the home. The average cost to install wallpaper ranges from $400 to $750. If the wall removal leaves you with some errant patches of wallpaper, the cost to have it professionally removed will be $400 to $1,100, depending on the size of the impacted area and the type of wallpaper.

Installing Drywall

When a wall has been knocked down, it could expose parts of nearby partitions, which you may want to cover up with drywall. Professional contractors will charge about $1.50 per square foot of drywall or $65 per 8-foot by 4-foot sheet. While you’re at it, you may want to hire a local painter to add some sparkle to that newly minted drywall. This will cost $300 to $750 per room, not including the cost of the paint.

How Much Does It Cost to Knock Down a Wall Yourself?

In most cases, we would recommend against DIY wall removal, as the whole process carries a lot of risk for personal injury and structural damage. You can cut down costs, however, by saving the contractor a little bit of time. Clean and prep the area before they arrive and clear out any obvious obstacles. You can also put on your DIY hat after the job is done to save a few bucks. Feel free to repaint the space and lay down any wallpaper. 

However, you will still have to consider hiring multiple tradespeople to handle plumbing issues, wiring issues, and drywall issues.

FAQs About Knocking Down Walls

Professional knocking down a wall by using a drill
Photo: Fotokraftwerk / Getty Images

How do I find a reputable structural engineer to knock down a wall?

Wall excavation and removal is a significant investment for homeowners, even with an eventual ROI. Also, there is inherent risk involved whenever dealing with a home’s structural integrity. Make sure everything goes smoothly by choosing a reputable service technician. 

Research the contractor and their company thoroughly to make sure they have a license, adequate insurance, and the experience required to safely complete the job. You can also check local online forums to interact with any of the contractor’s previous clients.

What questions should I ask when hiring a pro to knock down a wall?

To make sure the demolition process goes off without a hitch, consider asking your pro the following questions

  • Do you have proof of insurance and a professional license? Licenses and insurance are extremely important when it comes to knocking down walls, as safety should be a primary concern. Your pro will be able to provide you with these documents and answer any relevant questions.

  • How much have similar jobs similar to this one cost in the past? This can help you get a feel for the range of your quote and any common issues that could arise.

  • What is your typical turnaround time for this type of project? Knocking down walls is a notoriously painstaking project, so you should get an estimate for just how long the demolition will take to complete.

  • Can you provide me with references from previous clients? This way, you can talk to previous clients to ask about the contractor’s overall professionalism and any problems that popped up.

  • Do I need any permits? You may need a building permit to knock down an exterior wall and even some interior walls. Your pro will be able to call in an inspector to let you know about legal requirements.

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