• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to safely cut open up a wall.

    1. Install temporary 2x4 braces on either side of wall to support the ceiling above.
    2. Use reciprocating saw to cut through wall plaster.
    3. Carefully cut away wood lath to reveal bare wall studs.
    4. Use reciprocating saw to cut through wall directly above each wall stud.
    5. Remove the wall studs from the opening.
    6. Build header from two 2x8s sandwiched around filler strips.
    7. Nail filler blocks to jack stud, screw jack stud to king stud.
    8. Apply construction adhesive to back of plaster, and along header opening.
    9. Install header into the opening.
    10. Use hammer to tap new jack studs into place.
    11. Nail jack studs to king studs on each side of the new opening.
    12. Remove the temporary braces from each side of opening.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      requires mid-level carpentry skills
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • finish hammer
      • reciprocating saw
        Reciprocating saw, used to cut opening in wall
      • miter saw
        Power miter saw, used to cut lumber to length
      • drill
        Drill/driver, used to drive screws
      • caulk gun
        Caulking gun, for applying construction adhesive
      • wetdry vac
        Wet/dry vacuum, used to collect saw dust

      Shopping List

      1. 2x4s, for bracing ceiling above

      2. 2x8s and filler strips, used to build new header

      3. Construction adhesive, for adhering new framing to wall

      4. Assorted drywall screws and common nails