How to Remove Drywall from a Room

The Secret to Removing Drywall from a Room is to Minimize the Creation of Dust

By Mark J. Donovan

There are a number of cases where I’ve needed to remove drywall from a wall or an entire room. Contrary to what you may have seen on various home remodeling television shows, using a sledge hammer to bash out drywall is not the smartest method. Not unless you don’t care about preserving walls studs, wiring, plumbing and creating a lot of dust.

Over the years I’ve found the best way to remove drywall from walls is to use a jab saw. A jab saw is a hand saw that you plunge into the drywall and slide repetitively in and out to cut the drywall.

The best place to plunge in the saw is near an expected wall stud. You can then use the wall stud to guide the saw as you cut the drywall. This way you can maintain straight vertical cuts with the saw.

Using a jab saw also helps mitigate drywall dust. Do not plan to use a power saw to cut drywall as it will blow dust all over the room and home.

Prior to plunging the jab saw into the drywall and cutting, first make sure power is off to all the electrical outlets and switches in the room, and adjacent rooms. This way if you inadvertently cut an electrical wire you won’t accidentally electrocute yourself.

Also, if you believe plumbing pipes are in the wall behind the drywall take care when cutting. If you feel unexpected resistance, then cut away the drywall in a slightly different location so that you can see into the hole and observe what you may have cut for pipes or electrical wiring.

If you are cutting out a section of drywall to do a patch use the same approach as described above to remove the section of drywall panel.

Once you’ve cut out the section back to the wall stud edges use a carpenters square and a utility knife to cut back the drywall halfway over the wall studs. This will give you a nailing surface to install the drywall patch panel. Make sure to use a sharp utility knife so that you don’t tear the drywall paper.

Also, use a rasp to smooth out any ruff edges on the cut drywall patch panel so that the piece fits nicely into the rough opening you cut in the wall.

Other “nice-to-have” drywall tools include a drywall lift, a drywall banjo and a router with a special cutting bit. Drywall lifts help to place and attach drywall onto ceilings. A drywall banjo helps in the application of drywall tape and joint compound to the seams, however these tools take a little practice. A router is ideal for cutting out holes for electrical outlets and switches.

Drywall tools

So before you embark on a drywall project make sure you purchase the right drywall tools first.

For information on repairing a large drywall hole, see the “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook from  The “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook provides step-by-step instructions on how to repair your damaged wall so that it looks as good as new.

See’s Drywall Calculator

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