A How To Guide To Knocking Down Internal Walls
Knocking through internal walls is a popular way to create a spacious, open-plan living area. But it’s important to do it safely, or you could jeopardise the structural integrity of your property. Here we’ll walk you through the process of knocking down internal walls, from the initial planning stage all the way through to the finishing touches.
Why knock through as part of a home renovation?
Knocking down an internal wall separating two rooms could transform those rooms into a large, airy open space. Knocking through is a popular way for home renovators to create an open plan kitchen diner downstairs, or even a large master bedroom from two smaller rooms. This can add value to your property, as well as making it a nicer place to live.
Will I need planning permission to knock through an internal wall?
In most cases, knocking down an internal wall is classified as a permitted development right, meaning that you don’t need to apply for planning permission.
However, there may be other rules and regulations that apply:
- Even if you don’t need planning permission, you might be required to get Building Regulations approval. This is likely if your internal wall is currently providing protection in case of fire, and is often the case in a loft conversion.
- Getting a Building Control certificate to show that the work has been properly carried out may be important when it comes to selling your property.
- Listed buildings cannot be altered without listed building consent from your local council. Even if permission is granted, you may be restricted in the methods and materials you can use to carry out the alteration.
Is it a load-bearing wall?
To protect the structural integrity of your home (and avoid your house falling down!), it’s essential to consult a structural engineer before knocking down any internal wall. A load bearing wall provides vital support to other parts of the building, and getting rid of it could be dangerous. Some internal walls may also be connected to party walls, which means your neighbours could potentially be affected by their removal.
It is still possible to knock down a load-bearing wall, but this is likely to cost significantly more, and be a lengthier process. You’ll need professional help to support the structure both while the wall is being removed and afterwards. You’ll also need a Building Warrant granted by a structural engineer and verified by an architect, to ensure that your project meets all up-to-date building regulations.
Getting the work done
Knocking down an internal wall is as messy and disruptive as you might imagine. So choose a time when your family can make themselves scarce! Cover everything in dust sheets and remove any valuable or fragile objects.
If your wall isn’t load bearing, it is possible to knock down the wall yourself, but we’d recommend calling in the professionals. If the work is being undertaken as part of a home extension or other renovation project, your builders will incorporate it into the rest of the project. Make sure you check their credentials to ensure that all the requisite rules and regulations are being followed.
Making the space your own
Knocking down an internal wall is a great opportunity to transform the whole look and feel of your living area. You may decide to redecorate the (now larger) room to reflect its new function – and your design choices will be influenced by many factors, including a potential increase in the amount of natural light coming into the room.
Here are some things to consider:
- Light switches and plug sockets – If your internal wall previously housed these, you’ll need to think about relocating them on other walls.
- Furniture – Arranging your furniture to create different zones within your open plan space is sometimes known as broken plan living. You could use shelves, seating and other types of furniture to create a defined layout in your new space.
- Flooring – You might decide to unify your new open plan space with consistent flooring throughout. (Or you could opt for different flooring for different areas, to subtly delineate the space).