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Old 05-21-2018, 09:45 AM   #1
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Best approach to removing wall


Hi all,

I'm reducing a non-load-bearing wall to a half wall, and could use some advice on the best tools/methods for the job. Walls are plaster with some type of concrete-based lathe. There is a wire mesh at joints with adjoining wall and ceiling (see picture). Ideally I would cut out the framing flush with the ceiling and adjoining wall.

1) Removing plaster/mesh: What method/tool would you recommend for cutting the plaster and wire mesh where wall and ceiling join? I've tried a multi tool but perhaps was using wrong blade to get through both plaster and wire mesh. Should I try grinder (dusty) or recip saw instead?

2) Removing non-load bearing wall: After removing wire mesh and studs, how should I remove the top plate? My first time doing this, so I'm not sure if its as simple as cutting/prying top plate away from ceiling, and if there are any consequences of doing this (b/c it's not clear to me how the ceiling connects at that point). If removing top plate is no issue, what method/tool should I use to remove it.

Thanks for your help,
Tom
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:01 AM   #2
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


There are dust collectors for angle grinders, I would cut straight up at the ceiling close to the wall so you won't have to go back later and do more.
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:29 AM   #3
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


My guess is that after you remove the top plate the two ceilings are going to be at different elevations. May think about leaving it and making a box beam in that area.
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:32 AM   #4
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


The fastest way is with 4-1/2" right angle grinder with a diamond blade, lots of dust so I run my big shop vac with someone holding the hose and have a drywall bag over the filter in the vac.
If you use a cheap plastic drop cloth taped to the walls and ceiling it will help keep the dust in that one area.
I'd make a cut in the middle of the top plate all the way through so it can be removed in two pieces, then use a cats paw to pry out the nails.
That material is super abrasive, anything but a diamond cutting tool will be destroyed in min.
It will be far easier to remove that whole wall and reframe the opening so you'll have a nice flat surface to install drywall.
Most likely you'll have to use 5/8 drywall on the wall if your lucky to get the inside corners to match the old wall.
Sometimes you have to shim out the studs,1/4" lattice strips works for me.
I'd be building the new wall with 2 X 6's and using ledger lock screws to attach to the floor and in the studs in the end of the wall.
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:56 AM   #5
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


Thanks for the responses!

Clarence, Regarding the uneven ceilings - good point I'll have to check that first, and can box out the top if they won't meet up.

joecaption, Thanks, I'll use the angle grinder approach on the mesh. Just to clarify do you mean cut the top plate all the way horizontally all the way across, or vertically to the ceiling, to remove in two pieces? I'll definitely consider just removing the whole wall. When you suggest using 2x6's for my new half wall, I'm guessing that is for stability? I guess a 2x4 half wall will be a bit unstable.
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:02 PM   #6
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


Cut it the short way, not along the length.
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:44 PM   #7
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


Got it. Thanks
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:05 PM   #8
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


If you remove the top plate you had better check on that piece of Lath material in photo # 2 that is going to be what is called a corner - Rite and it is going to return back on the ceiling about 3 inches and it is nailed to the top plate also may be wire tied to the ceiling Lath.
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:00 PM   #9
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


Clarence - thanks, good points again. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think what you're saying is that if I pull down the top plate I may very well pull down a fair amount of ceiling with it due to the attached wire corner.
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:37 PM   #10
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


That is correct part of the ceiling will be damaged if the top plate is removed & the corner-Rite is nailed to it. If the ceilings are on the same plane and you remove the top plate remove the plaster from the wall at the ceiling intersection than remove any nails attaching the corner-rite to the plate leaving the lath in place after you remove the top plate than fold the lath back flat and use it to replaster the ceiling. Is that existing plaster system Rock Lath in other words is it plaster over what looks like drywall ?
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:44 PM   #11
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


OK, that explanation make sense. Yes, it is Rock Lath
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:57 PM   #12
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


Now i can almost a sure you that the ceilings will be different elevations.
Fairfax , VA. i was born and raised in Arlington, VA I have brothers & sisters living in Fairfax i left in 1956.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:12 PM   #13
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


Gotcha - actually I'm now in Arlington myself. Although I'd like to get rid of the top plate, it would actually be easier to leave it, use a grinder/diamond blade to take out the mesh, and drywall the top plate. I'm leaning towards that approach.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:21 PM   #14
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


That sounds OK to me.
One other thing JUST my take on plaster repairs DO NOT USE JOINT COMPOUND TO REPAIR THE PLASTER AREAS.
I lived @ 1235 N. Vernon St.in Arlington until i was 18. Family still owns the old 1937 house @ Vernon St.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:29 PM   #15
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Re: Best approach to removing wall


Got it. Thanks for all the advice!
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