How much does it cost to knock down a wall? It sounds like a simple question, but there's more to removing a wall than just "knocking it down."
What Knocking Down a Wall Really Means
Older homes tend to be divided up into a series of small rooms. The first thing home buyers want to do when they buy these homes is knock out a wall or 2 and create a more open plan living space. Thinking, "How hard can it be?" they ask a builder for a quote and are surprised by how much it's going to cost. No, they're probably not overcharging them. They just know from experience what the job entails:
- Before they knock down the wall, the ceiling and roof will need a temporary support structure.
- Because it's an internal wall, they to be careful not to damage the surrounding floors and walls.
- After the wall comes down, a beam or other permanent support will have to be erected.
- All the debris has to be removed and disposed of. There are skip hire and/or disposal costs to be paid for.
Theoretically, you could knock down a wall and leave it at that, but what about the areas the wall used to cover? To finish the job, your walls will have to be repaired and repainted and you'll have to do something about the floor. If the wall was between the kitchen and the living room, odds are you will also have to renovate your kitchen
Of course, not all walls are support walls and you may not have to add a new kitchen to the bill, but you do have to factor everything into the cost of knocking out a wall or you will be in for some unpleasant surprises.
How Much Does Removing a Wall Cost?*
Knocking out a wall is usually not a DIY project because internal walls are structural parts of the house. If you're just knocking out a single wall and it's an inexpensive job, you may not need a building permit, but check with your local council first to be sure. If you do need a building permit, these are some of the costs you may be looking at:
- An engineers report can cost between $200 and $1000, depending on the complexity of the report.
- A copy of your Land title usually costs between $25 and $35.
- If you need to submit a plan, a licensed drafter or architect might charge $1000 or more.
- A building permit costs around $700 in most areas of Australia.
- If it's a big job and costs $12,000 or more, your contractor may have to take out Home Warranty Insurance. This can cost up to $1000 and the cost will be passed on to you.
Once the paperwork is in order, your building contractor can go to work. Before they can start removing the wall, though, they will have to erect temporary support. After removing the wall, they will have to install a beam or other support structure to bear the load the wall was bearing.
Don't forget these other possible costs, either:
- You may need to hire an electrician to remove and replace electrical fittings.
- The ceiling, walls and floor around the wall will need to be repaired or even replaced.
- You may want to hire an interior designer if you want everything to be just right.
Quotes for knocking down a wall only can start at as little as $30 an hour, but a better way is to get quotes from qualified building renovators
for the full job. In the end, it will probably be more cost effective than doing the renovation piecemeal, because they will have years of experience to draw on and will finish everything that has to be done quickly and efficiently.
*Cost and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary locally and are subject to market forces. This article was updated 10 April 2015 to reflect current market pricing.