An increasing number of people are opting to simply renovate their home, rather than move into another one. This works out well because they spend less and retain their personal space in a neighborhood that’s already familiar.
When remodeling your home, however, you will be wise to give serious consideration to certain aspects, including load bearing wall removal.
Although tearing down walls can give you the open space you’ve always dreamed of, there are certain things you need to factor into your decision from the safety point of view.
Mentioned ahead are a few questions to consider before performing a load bearing wall removal. Before we get into the details, let’s understand what a load bearing wall is and if it is a good idea to remove it.
What Is a Load Bearing Wall?
Broadly speaking, houses have two kinds of walls. One serves as a divider (or a partition) that segregates the interior space. The other typel is strategically erected to keep the house standing. The latter kind is called a load bearing wall and is crucial to the structural integrity of a house.
The primary function of load bearing walls is to support the weight of the house and prevent it from collapsing. These walls transfer the load down to the house’s foundation or other suitable frame structures.
Load bearing walls are typically made of materials such as concrete or bricks to make them extremely sturdy and resilient. Their width is determined by the type of the house/building, the number of floors that require support, and construction materials used, and the weight of the loads.
Can a Load Bearing Wall Be Removed?
The decision of taking down a load bearing wall in your home warrants a lot of thought as several risks may be involved. For starters, it could result in structural problems, such as wilting ceilings, uneven floors, cracks, and so on.
So, can you learn how to remove a load bearing wall safely?
Yes. Despite the risks, removing a load bearing wall isn’t impossible, as long as the necessary precautions are taken. Ensuring that another structure is put in place to support the load carried by the load bearing wall before removing it is non-negotiable. Without this, the house/building can collapse entirely.
It is best to entrust the job of tearing down the wall to experienced and licensed load bearing wall removal specialists.
They know how to gauge the weight it is carrying and the safest ways of putting temporary support structures in place. They will also be able to determine how soon the permanent support modifications can be installed.
You may not need to install too much temporary support if you want to remove a small part of the load bearing wall. However, you will still need a certain degree of support. Consulting a professional can go a long way in keeping your home safe and standing.
Important Questions to Ask the Specialist
Here are the questions to ponder over before you tear down your home’s load bearing wall.
1) Do I Really Need to Remove the Load Bearing Wall?
Load bearing wall removal involves a high degree of planning and careful execution. Before you actually remove it, you should really determine if such actions are necessary.
Some crucial factors to consider:
- Is removing the wall worth the cost, effort, and time required?
- Is it possible to remodel your home without taking down the load bearing wall?
- Are there any alternatives to removing the wall?
Before the work begins, you need to have clear answers to the above questions to be absolutely sure of your decision.
2) Is It Actually a Load Bearing Wall?
Once you’re certain about tearing down the wall, you need to confirm that it is actually a load bearing one.
As mentioned, a lot of walls in your home are erected simply to divide the space in your home. You need to ascertain which walls are actually supporting your house’s frame. The question is, how can you be sure?
You can check the original plans or blueprints of your house/building to find out which walls are load bearing. If you don’t have the plans, you can examine certain walls by going to your attic and checking which walls are connected to the joists.
If you’re still not sure which walls are load bearing, you can always consult a professional for proper guidance. This is the easiest and the safest way to correctly identify load bearing walls.
3) Does Load Bearing Wall Removal Need a Permit?
Depending on the location of your home, you may need a permit to modify its structure. Most municipalities consider load bearing wall removal as a structural modification, which makes it mandatory for you to acquire the necessary permits before starting the job.
Remodeling your home without first getting the permits can lead to problems later on. It can not only slow down the renovation considerably, but also inflate your costs in the long term.
4) Does the Wall Contain Wires or Pipes?
Another thing you need to be certain about is where or not the load bearing wall contains plumbing ducts or electrical wiring. If the wall does, the wires and pipes will have to be re-routed before the wall is brought down.
Determining how much of the wall holds your wiring can be complex. Additionally, relocating the plumbing and wiring will increase your costs. That’s why it’s recommended to find out about the costs to remove a load bearing wall before you’ve made any commitments.
5) Should I Install a Beam for Load Bearing Wall?
This is an important factor to consider before starting your load bearing wall removal project.
As mentioned, load bearing walls support the load of your home, and transfer it down to the foundation. When removing a wall that’s enabling your house to stand, you will need to replace it with equally strong structural support.
This is where installing a beam underneath your ceiling comes into the picture. However, simply adding a beam isn’t enough – each end of the beam will also need support for the weight to be transferred down to the ground.
Get a professional’s advice on how to add a beam and other support structures before removing a load bearing wall. That’s the best way to avoid costly damage and problems down the road.
6) Will Load Bearing Wall Removal Affect My Home’s Floor?
Ask any load bearing wall removal specialist and they will confirm that tearing down a wall can impact your home’s structural integrity, as well as its appearance.
Removal of the wall will create a space where it used to stand. Moreover, the adjoining walls may also need replastering and a fresh coat of paint.
With this in mind, you might want to think about your flooring solutions in advance. Installing or replacing carpeted, hardwood, or vinyl floors will add to the cost to remove the load bearing wall.
7) When Should I Call a Load Bearing Wall Removal Specialist?
If you’re certain about removing the load bearing wall, one of the biggest questions to ask yourself is, “Do I want to risk taking the DIY route?” Although removing the wall on your own isn’t impossible, it can be extremely dangerous and exhausting without professional assistance.
A load bearing wall removal specialist brings their experience and expertise to the table. Apart from removing the wall safely, they can advise you on dealing with technicalities like rerouting wiring and installing support beams.
For homeowners, the prospects of remodeling their home can be exciting. Tearing down walls can make your home more spacious and increase its value.
However, you need to exercise immense caution when it comes to load bearing wall removal as several risks and safety considerations are involved. Call Load Bearing Pros to get all your questions answered.
Hopefully, the above information will help you understand what the job entails. It is always a good idea to hire professionals as they’re optimally placed to turn your remodeling plans into a reality.