Removing a stud partition
This Guide is fora non-loadbearing wall Measure and mark out the size of the opening. Switch off the electricity supply to any cables contained in the partition. Remove the skirtings and architraves and any simple coving. If there is an ornate plaster coving, which you want to retain, the job becomes more difficult. One way to get round it is to install a beam across the opening and leave the coving intact above —such a beam wouldn’t have to be very strong a timber rail might suffice.
Remove the plasterboard (or plaster on lath if an older house) from one side by cutting a hole between stud frames and pulling away the boards. To avoid damaging the ceiling, Cut through the partition/ceiling joint with atrimming knife. With the stud framework exposed on one face, deal with any electric cables (or other services) carried in the partition. Remove the facing from the opposite side of the partition —again slicing through the partition/ceiling joint first.
Once the timber stud framework is fully exposed the vertical studs can be cut through near the top rail and pulled away. Carefully pull or lever the top rail away from the ceiling and the bottom rail from the floor. The bottom rail is usually fixed with masonry nails, but may in some cases be fixed with screwed metal brackets
When there is a concrete floor you may find two bottom rails with the lower one set into the concrete. If this is the case, this piece of timber should also be removed —to cover it over could subsequently cause problems.
Once the partition has been removed the opening can be made good. The edge wall gaps can be filled with a piece of plasterboard and skimmed with plaster filler or filled with wet plaster to a smooth finish (see page 260)
Atimber lining can befixed to form a surround. To getthe bestfinish undera clear timberfinish, countersink the screws and cover the hole with a pellet of similar wood. There is a special drill bit that will cut both the countersink hole and the pellet.
Step 5 The ceiling plasterboard may run across the top of the existing partition leaving only the original fixing holes to fill or there may be a gap in the plasterboard.
If so, this should be filled with a narrow piece of plasterboard of the same thickness, fixed at approximately 1 50mm centres. There should already be noggings across the slot —a rail of 76mm by 50mm or 50mm by 60mm timber can be nailed between these to provide support for the plasterboard. If the plasterboard piece to be fixed is not wider than approximately 120mm, one timber member should be enough, otherwise two are needed. The surface may be made good with a thin coat of filler.
A concrete floor finish should be made good with sand and cement screed; a timber floor with plywood or chipboard of the appropriate thickness to match the existing finish on a timber floor—this will often not be necessary as it is common to find that the floor boarding is continuous under timber partitions. With concrete floors you may find that the surface of the screed is not at the same level on either side.
Make as good a job as possible of finishing the floor smooth. Any undulations will show through and cause rapid wear of carpets and other floor coverings.
..when load bearing
When a timber stud partition is found to be loadbearing, under no circumstances should it be altered without making provision to support the floor and roof above – temporarily and permanently. It is possible to remove a section of the wall provided that a suitable timber beam is inserted to carry the loads.
The information given in the Guide is adequate under normal conditions to make finished openings up to 1-8m wide. Where larger openings are desired (or there are other complications) professional advice should be obtained before starting work. Structural alterations must have Building Regulations approval before work is commenced and the Building Control Officer will require a drawing showing what is intended.
To temporarily support the floor or roof whilst work is carried out use adjustable props. Once the temporary support is in place an opening can be made in the same way as described for nonloadbearing partitions, except that the top rail of the partition should be left in place and the edge of the plasterboard should be kept as neat as possible.
To allow for the new support frame and subsequent lining the opening should be cut the depth of the beam taller and 1 25mm wider than required Plasterboard can be cut with a coarse-toothed saw or cut through with a trimming knife. Special saws are available but a key hole saw (or a saw blade for a trimming knife) will usually be satisfactory. Plasterboard will rapidly blunt woodworking tools
Once the opening is formed, a timber beam should be accurately cut to length to fit between the vertical studs on either side of the opening. Place the beam tightly beneath the existing top rail and hold it temporarily in place by skew-nailing it to the studs on either side. Additional cripple studs of timber 50mm thick, are required between the beam and the floor. Cut them accurately to length and fix them to the outer stud with 100mm long nails at 200mm centres. The cripple studs will carry all the load and must be a tight fit.
If there are any small gaps between the top of the beam and the top rail of the partition, pack them Out with thin pieces of timber or plywood. lf the top of the finished opening is to be lower than the bottom of the beam, a horizontal rail can be fitted across at the appropriate height and packed
down from the beam. This will support the head member of the surround and the section of wall above it.
Once the supporting structure is fully nailed in place, the temporary supports can be carefully removed and the opening finished off with its lining and architraves.