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What is the Cost of Demolition of a Wall?

There are countless reasons you might wish to demolish a wall, such as creating an open plan living space or converting an unused storage area! The cost of demolition of a wall varies, with the average for a load-bearing wall around £1,250 to £1,750 - although knocking through an internal wall may be a much simpler task.

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The Average Cost of Demolition of a Wall

Wall demolition tasks can be as straightforward as removing the panels on an internal plasterboard wall. Knocking through a load-bearing wall, fitting supporting lintel beams and constructing new doorways is a more involved project.

Below we've shared the average cost of load-bearing wall demolitions, with some indicative pricing for different lintels depending on the size of the doorway or window you'd like built.

Costs of Demolishing a Load Bearing Wall

Task Average Cost
Engineer/contractor site visit £200
Demolition of approx one metre £975
Demolition of approx two metres £1,350
Demolition of approx four metres £2,375
RSJ supply cost £800 - £950
RSJ installation cost £228
Concrete lintels - each £86
Steel lintels - each £309
Steel cavity lintels - each £287

Checkout this video explaining what's involved in wall demolition costs:

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Costs of Demolishing a Non-Supporting Wall

If your wall is a non-load-bearing panel, the price will primarily depend on the square meterage of the area to be demolished.

The table below shows average prices for demolishing different types of non-supporting walls based on volume.

Wall Material Size Average Price Per Square Metre
Stone Five metres square £80
Stone Fifty metres square £65
Stone One hundred metres square £60
Concrete block Five metres square £85
Concrete block Fifty metres square £70
Concrete block One hundred metres square £63
Brick Five metres square £60
Brick Fifty metres square £58
Brick One hundred metres square £53

Factors That Influence the Cost of Demolition of a Wall

Of course, every project and property will differ, so although we can provide an average cost to demolish a wall, the exact pricing will depend on several variables.

Next, we'll look at those aspects of your wall demolition that will impact your wall removal quotations.

Wall Demolition Size

The larger the wall surface area and the thicker the brickwork or panelling, the higher the cost to demolish the wall and remove the waste materials.

However, cost efficiencies are available (as shown in the prices per square metre above) because some preparatory works become less expensive per square metre if the project is slightly bigger.

Knocking through a wall to build a larger open plan living space costs around £1,750 on average, whereas if you wish to develop a single doorway into an existing wall, the average budget is £1,250.

Your location and chosen contractor will also affect the cost - a more experienced tradesperson or demolition expert may charge more per hour. Still, they will usually complete the job significantly faster, balancing the costs.

Type of Wall

Load-bearing and non-supportive wall demolition jobs are very different prospects.

Supporting walls must meet building regulation standards and be fitted according to specifications and the number of storeys they need to bear the weight of.

A non-load-bearing wall is a quicker, easier job because you won't need your contractor to fit RSJs (rolled steel joists), although you might need to purchase lintels if you are knocking through to create a new window or doorway.

Wall materials vary, and removing stone walls on a period home is more complex and specialist than demolishing a modern brick wall.

If in any doubt about whether or not your wall is load-bearing or what materials it is built from, we recommend asking a local tradesperson to organise a convenient site visit.

RSJ Installation

RSJs can be one of the more expensive elements of your wall demolition quotation because the size and density of the joist will depend on how large a wall area you intend to demolish.

For example:

  • A structural RSJ costs around £228 per metre - but larger wall demolitions may need RSJ beams of up to four metres long.
  • Larger properties or those with several storeys will require a denser, thicker RSJ with the capacity to support the weight of the property above.
  • Lintels for doors and windows cost from £86 on average, but concrete is a cheaper option than steel (although it may not be suitable depending on the size and type of door or window).

Additional tasks that also add to the overall cost to demolish a wall

You may wish to hire a wall demolition contractor solely for the wall removal task or need a tradesperson to finish the work - whether that's making good on a new doorway or entrance or redecorating your new living space.

There are multiple jobs you may need to build into your budget:

  • Replastering and redecorating, or patch repairs.
  • Levelling out flooring.
  • Waste removal of the old wall and brickwork.
  • Removing or fitting new radiators.

Much depends on the room, so you might be able to leave existing floorboards in situ but need new tiles or carpeting to join the connected areas.

If you are demolishing a wall in a kitchen or bathroom, you will likely need to budget for the new flooring, fixtures, kitchen or bathroom units, electrical, plumbing and gas connections and tiling.

You may also need an electrician, plumber or gas fitter if any of your utilities, wiring or pipework run through the wall you wish to demolish - these will need to be re-routed or possibly replaced.

Some homeowners can undertake the redecoration themselves, although we'd normally advise you to use a qualified professional for more extensive painting, flooring, and plastering.

The Pros and Cons of Demolishing a Wall

Whether you wish to remove a load-bearing or non-supportive wall, there are several pros and cons to bear in mind.

Any load-bearing wall must be correctly demolished to ensure that you achieve the new layout or living space you require without compromising the structural integrity of your property.

Advantages of demolishing a wall include:

  • Improving the aesthetic: a well-planned wall demolition can allow you to strategically design the placement and materials used for the supporting joists to tie into your desired decor scheme.
  • Enhanced light and space: many older properties have lots of smaller, darker subdivided rooms less suited to modern living. Removing a wall can create greater natural light and make your home feel more spacious.
  • Adding value: larger living spaces, particularly kitchens and bathrooms, may add to your property's market value and provide a return on your investment.
  • Augmented structural strength: several high-performance materials are now available to create beams and columns that may be more durable and long-lasting than conventional options. Examples include cellular PVC, fibreglass and reinforced polymers.

The disadvantages of demolishing a wall are:

  • Cost: knocking through a supportive wall is never a job you should attempt yourself. Identifying a load-bearing wall or knowing whether wires, ducting or pipes are concealed within can be tricky. An experienced contractor is essential to ensure your demolition includes suitable support beams appropriate for your property.
  • Re-routing utilities: demolition isn't solely a question of knocking down walls but may require an electrician and plumber to remove all wires and fittings safely.
  • Asbestos risks: properties built before 1978 have a higher likelihood of having asbestos or lead paint on the walls. Where these materials exist, a contractor must follow regulations to remove the materials according to safety protocols.

It is also important to clarify how you wish your finished home to look - redecorating is often required since plaster will need to be patched. Any mismatches in paintwork, wallpaper or flooring will add to the overall cost to demolish a wall.

Once you know the cost of demolition of a wall, other factors to take into account include whether planning permission is needed to demolish and rebuild, what the waste disposal costs are and whether its cheaper to knock down and build from new or build over existing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here, we run through some of the most often asked questions about demolishing a wall and how much the work should cost.

How Long Does a Wall Demolition Take?

Removing a load-bearing wall will inevitably take longer than a non-supporting wall because, in the latter, there is no need to fit an RSJ.

The average wall demolition project for a supporting wall takes a surprisingly speedy two to three days once the work gets underway following site inspections and sourcing the appropriate beams.

A typical project might look like this:

  • Demolition of the wall, removing waste and fitting the RSJ - one to two days.
  • Plastering and finishing - one day.

Extra work such as electrical or plumbing tasks will require additional days, although you can coordinate this if you select a contractor with an in-house team.

Will I Need Planning Permission to Demolish a Wall on My Property?

Usually, you won't need formal planning consent to remove an internal wall inside your home - unless it is a listed building, in which case permission is required.

Depending on the scope and nature of the demolition, you may need approval from your local authority, particularly if the property is a rental residence or another type of accommodation subject to specific fire regulations.

Load-bearing wall demolitions usually require a building notice, managed through your local authority, sometimes with a mandatory inspection - the notice costs up to around £650.

Building regulations always apply (they are separate from planning permission), and an experienced contractor will either self-certify the quality of the work if they have the right accreditation or arrange an inspection to sign off the demolition.

Completion certificates cost around £250 to £450 but are well worth having since they verify that your demolition and any new beams are to the correct standards.

If you come to sell your property in the future and do not have a completion certificate or building notice, it may be difficult to achieve a fair market value.

Can I Demolish a Load-Bearing Wall Myself?

It is highly inadvisable to attempt to remove a load-bearing wall without professional help. Load-bearing walls support the weight of your property and require exact calculations to determine the size and strength of the RSJ that will hold up the floors above.

If you have demolition expertise and wish to demolish a wall, you will still need to hire a structural engineer to advise on the correct beam position so that your demolition does not impact the structural viability of your home.

The best option is to use a trained demolition team, which will usually cost less in the long run and ensure your new layout will be durable and compliant with the relevant building standards.

Non-supporting walls are easier to demolish yourself, although it can still be worth hiring a professional since an electrician must handle any wiring, and the potential for mistakes is high!

How Can I Reduce the Cost of Demolition of a Wall?

There are many associated tasks associated with a wall demolition that you may be comfortable undertaking yourself to reduce your overall budget.

Examples include:

  • Preparing the rooms with protective plastic sheeting before demolition begins and removing furniture items, wall fittings and other fixtures.
  • Removing skirting boards, door frames or even some of the plaster manually (although you may wish to hire professional drills and other equipment since a hammer and chisel can make this an extremely tough manual task).
  • Organising waste removal if you need hardcore or bricks to repurpose elsewhere in your property or other projects. Any waste removed from the site and disposed of must be handled by a contractor (or their subcontractor) with a waste handling licence, so if you can re-use these materials yourself, it may mitigate this cost.
  • Redecorating once the demolition is complete - perhaps repainting, hanging new doors, wallpapering or laying flooring.

Demolitions cause a fair amount of dust and debris, so even if you are doing minor preparatory work, we'd suggest wearing proper protective clothing, goggles and a facemask.

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  • https://www.quoteadviser.co.uk/priceguide/costs-wall-demolition/
  • https://www.checkatrade.com/blog/cost-guides/cost-remove-load-bearing-wall/#jump-header-7
  • https://www.priceyourjob.co.uk/remove-an-internal-wall-cost/

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