Friday, April 27, 2012

How to Uninstall a Temporary Wall

Ugh, I've been struggling to write this post for ages. Soo much to say on the topic, soooo much life getting in the way. The wedding is only 3 weeks away, and I've been blogging over on the Broke-Ass Bride. Oh yeah, and we're all moved into our new house. But now I'm back, baby....and ready to talk about a big, pressurized, thorn in my side!

If you've ever lived in a NYC apartment, you're probably familiar with the concept of a temporary wall (also know as a pressurized wall). To the uninitiated, a temporary wall is essentially a wall constructed without screwing into the floor, existing walls, or ceiling. The whole idea is to make a ridiculously expensive NYC rental apartment more affordable by adding an extra room without doing any damage to the apartment (or your security deposit). I've done it in three apartments, including my most recent place.

Needless to say, the temporary walls are not approved by the NYC Department of Buildings, so the pressurized wall companies are all a little sleazy. In fact, I probably should have seen it coming when I called One Wall, Two Rooms to schedule our "free" temporary wall removal and was told we would be charged a "small fee" of $475. Ummm, what? Is that what we're calling a small fee these days? Oh and the deposit for the return of materials magically disappeared once we were ready to actually remove the wall. How convenient.

And that is how Mr. Officer and I ended up uninstalling a pressurized wall on a cold, January day. I was a little worried when we first set out on this little project, but it seriously couldn't have been easier. We didn't have any instructions to follow, but after our experience I feel like I needed to do a PSA for NYC to show people how easy it really is to remove a pressurized wall.

Tools Required
  • Screwdriver
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Power drill
  • Step stool
  • 2 people
Step 1: Remove any doors by the hinges.

Step 2: Remove all the moulding around the drywall/door frames. The moulding is held in place by small, tacking nails, and should just pry off of the drywall. We used a screwdriver to get us started, but then the moulding just pulled right off.

Step 3: Carefully remove any screws around the windows and doorframes with a power drill, and slide out the windows/door frames.

Step 4: Use a power drill to unscrew all of the drywall screws, and carefully remove the drywall from the pressurized wall frame. Note: you will probably need one person to hold the drywall sheet in place and catch the screws, while the other person takes out the screws.

Step 5: Use a rubber mallet to carefully knock the support beams out of the frame (working parallel to the top & bottom of the full frame). This is also a two person job, because you will need one person to hold the top of the frame against the ceiling while the other person removes the support beams.

Step 6: Break up the drywall sheets/moulding and put it in heavy duty, construction, trash bags. Yup, NYC sanitation will collect residential building trash for small projects. Also, we put the doors, windows and aluminum beams by the curb with a sign that the materials were free for looting. Then we went for pizza, and the materials were gone within the hour.

That's it folks, easy peasy!


  1. I am having this same issue with 1 Wall 2 Rooms. They won't respond to me about getting my wall removed. You make this seem pretty easy. About how long did this take you and is this something that someone who is not "handy" can do, given they have the appropriate tools?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I witnessed the installation myself when I had a wall put in and those aren't materials you really want to get involved with. I left the removal to professional and called a bunch of different companies who charge a fee while others don't remove walls that aren't their own. I eventually started a blog about the industry for summer journalism class. Feel free to check it out

  4. This inspired me to remove my pressurized wall! I would also suggest face masks for all of the dust and debris and a pry bar, especially for the mouldings.

  5. I totally agree on the face mask. We probably should have used them for this job. We aren't really handy people at all though, so we were kind of winging it and didn't think about it too much.

    We also took a ton of pictures along the way so that we could show that we didn't damage any of the materials along the way. In the end it didn't matter, because the guy from 1 Wall 2 Rooms didn't even bother to pick up the materials. We made two appointments with him to get back his materials and he blew us off both times so everything went to the curb.

    1. Hi Katie. I see you also removed the wall yourself. How long did it take you? And on a scale of 1-10, 10 being very difficult, how would you rate this?

  6. Thanks for your information.1DayWall Specializes in maximizing living and office space by providing temporary pressurized walls and bookcase dividers that convert one room into two.

    temporary walls

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing... temporary partitions

  8. 1daywall is an innovative temporary wall company that specializes in installation of temporary walls to maximize living and office spaces. Temporary Wall Company