How to Remove a Ceiling to Show the Attic & Wood Beams

Removing a ceiling is a large and dirty job.

Preparing the Room and Yourself

You will only need basic tools and muscle to eliminate the ceiling. If you enjoy the destruction part of a job, then this is for you. From start to finish removing a ceiling will take an entire day.

Remove all furniture, window coverings and pictures from the room. Cover the floor with the plastic drop cloths.

Remove the light fixture from the ceiling and cap the wires.

Put on your long sleeve shirt and wear pants instead of shorts. Put on your face mask, safety glasses, and gloves.

Removing the Drywall

Use your box knife to cut around the edge of the ceiling where it meets the wall. This will cut the drywall tape that is attached to the wall and the ceiling.

Insert the drywall bit into the rotozip. Plug the rotozip in. Start in one corner of the ceiling. Use the rotozip to cut a 3 foot by 3 foot square into the ceiling.

Insert the straight end of your pry bar into one side of the cut drywall. Pry down on the cut section of drywall with the pry bar. Use your hands to pull the section the rest of the way out.

Use the sledge hammer to pound down on the remaining drywall in the ceiling. Pound on the back side of the drywall starting at the hole you cut in the ceiling. Perform this step until all of the drywall is removed from the ceiling. Remove all nails from the ceiling joists with the claw end of your hammer

Pull out the insulation in the ceiling and place it into large trash bags.

Remove any flooring in the attic. Use your hammer and pry bar to pry it off of the floor joists. Start removing the flooring furthest away from the entrance and work your way out of the attic.

Remove all debris from the room including the plastic covering the floor. Use your shop vac to clean up the dust.

Things You Will Need

  • 2 millimeter thick plastic drop cloths
  • Face mask
  • Safety Glasses
  • Work Gloves
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Long pants
  • Step ladder
  • Rotozip
  • Drywall cutting bit
  • Extension Cord
  • Box knife
  • Medium pry bar
  • 5 pound sledge hammer
  • Claw hammer
  • Large trash bags
  • Shop Vac

Tip

  • If you can use a heavier sledge hammer the drywall will come loose from the ceiling joists much easier.

Warning

  • Make sure no one is beneath you while you are working. At times very large sections of drywall will come down.

About the Author

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).