Most people agree that they do not have enough closet space in their home. One way to gain more closet space is to weed out the items that you are storing as well as store your items in an organized fashion. Another way is to build additional closets. A third way is to widen a closet in order to expand storage space. Below is a general guide on how to widen your closet on your own as a do-it-yourself project. Your project may have different or additional steps, depending upon where the closet you want to widen is located in your home.
Before You Begin
Before taking your closet apart you need to determine if you can actually widen the closet. If you need to take out a closet wall, you need to make sure that the wall to be removed is not a load-bearing wall. (Load-bearing walls are walls that hold up your house and should not be removed, as removal will probably impact the structural integrity of your home).
Take exact measurements of the current size of your closet and how wide you want to make your closet. You will need to mark major components of the closet including locations of electrical wires, outlets, lights, as well as any plumbing that may run through the walls or closet space. You also want to be absolutely clear as to what, if any, space you will be losing by expanding your closet and that this expansion is not only functional, but looks like it was a part of the original design of the home. You do not want to end up having a remodel project that looks as if it was not planned out correctly.
Steps to Widening Your Closet
Below are the general steps to take in order to widen your closet:
1: Take time to determine if you need to shut off any power that might be running in the walls and through the ceiling. Find and tag the location of any electrical wires. Once identified, shut the power that goes through the closet off.
2: Remove all items from the closet including closet shelving, storage units, and rods for hanging clothes.
3: Take down any lighting fixtures. Also remove any switch plates if needed.
4: Remove the drywall in the area where you want to expand your closet. It is a good idea to wear protective glasses, gloves, and a mask to reduce inhalation of dust. Drywall is fairly easy to remove. An exacto knife easily cuts through drywall tape. Once you cut the tape, you should be able to pull the drywall down. You will need a hammer or pliers to remove nails or brads.
5: Frame in the new closet wall using 2” x 4” wood studs. Using the wood, install both a base plate and a top plate between the studs. You may also need to add 2” x 4” blocks between the studs. These are braces to make the wall stronger.
6: At this point in time, before you add the new drywall, do any electrical work. If you are not confident with doing this part of the project, hire a licensed electrician.
7: Add the new drywall to the frame. Take each drywall sheet, match it up to the studs, and screw in the drywall using drywall screws. Use an exacto knife to cut and trim the drywall if needed. Drywall sides should be installed tightly side-by-side without any gaps in between.
8: You will then need to tape the drywall seams. Using 90-minute drywall mud (compound), apply it to the drywall seams using a flat-sided drywall knife. Then, apply drywall tape directly over the mud and press it in using the drywall knife. Once the mud is dry, sand it so that it feels smooth. You might need to apply a second coat of drywall mud and then sand it again.
9: Take a damp cloth and wipe down the new walls to remove any dust and dirt. You are now ready to paint!
Prior to painting, take time to fill in any dents or nicks that may have occurred to the drywall during installation. Typically dents and nicks are filled with a product known as Spackle. When dry, sand the area of the Spackle so that the surface on the wall is smooth.
Once the paint dries you can add baseboard, shelving, ceiling lights, and a new light switch. Again, if you are not comfortable doing the electrical work yourself hire a licensed electrician. Vacuum the closet floor and you are ready to load in your clothes and other items!