There is nothing like an open plan design done right. Airy, spacious, and versatile, open spaces have found favor with modern homeowners, as they:
- Encourage sociable living
- Bring you closer to the outdoors
- Maximize square footage
- Help you keep an eye on children
- Allow more natural light into each room
If you want to live without walls, you’ll probably have to knock down a few. Partition walls (the ones dividing spaces) are easy to take out. A few whacks, and they are gone. However, load-bearing wall removals are significantly trickier.
Load-bearing walls carry the weight of your home. They transfer load vertically, from the ceiling down to the foundation, and are critical to a building’s structural integrity.
That said, it is possible to tear down load-bearing walls, unless you replace them with an alternate support system. Botched removals can lead to substantial structural damage. While it is unlikely your home will crumble immediately, you will probably start seeing cracks and sags around the ceiling after a couple of years.
The Best Way to Remove a Load-Bearing Wall
Can you remove a load-bearing wall on your own?
But this doesn’t mean you should. Amateur load-bearing wall removals can lead to all sorts of costly mistakes which can jeopardize your home’s construction. Hence, this job is best left to load-bearing wall removal specialists, like Load Bearing Pros.
Not convinced yet? Let us walk you through ten benefits of hiring a professional load-bearing wall removal contractor.
Why Hire a Professional Load-Bearing Wall Removal Contractor?
When it comes to taking down a load-bearing wall, you need a lot more than forearm strength and a hefty sledgehammer. Here’s what a professional brings to the table.
- Proper Identification
Because load-bearing walls look pretty ordinary on the outside, it’s hard to tell them apart from non-load-bearing walls. You don’t want to take out a structure without determining if it carries some form of weight. This is where a professional’s expertise comes in. The first thing a pro will do is establish if a wall is bearing.
In case you want to identify load-bearing walls yourself, here are a few easy ways to do it.
- Take a trip to your basement or crawlspace to see if the floor joists run perpendicular to the wall.
- Check if the wall attaches to the foundation.
- See if the walls sit on top of each other.
- Informed Evaluations and Advice
Sure, you can demolish just about any load-bearing wall. But some removals come at a high cost and may not be advisable. Instead of trying to figure things out on your own, get a professional involved.
A load-bearing wall removal specialist can shed light on how easy (or difficult) it will be to tear down a load-bearing wall. Being experienced, they may have handled similar situations before and can point out potential problems with your dream floor plan.
- Careful Analysis
Since removing a load-bearing wall is a significant structural alteration, the process can have a huge impact on other areas of your home. You must understand this before you green light the project.
An expert will help you grasp the consequences of load-bearing wall removal. This way, you’ll be able to make wise decisions and safeguard your home.
- Connections with Other Subcontractors
Load-bearing walls can host a ton of stuff, including electrical outlets, pipelines, and wiring. When removing one, you must also take them into account. Rerouting these connections can quickly turn into an uphill struggle, especially if you don’t know where to begin.
That’s not all.
You could also have harmful substances like mold and asbestos stowed away behind the drywall. Both are known to have harmful effects on human health. For example, inhaling asbestos puts you at a risk for asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
You require a professional to deal with these hurdles. It helps to have friends in the right places. The specialists at Load Bearing Pros have over 30 other trusted pros on speed dial. Whether it’s HVAC, electrical, plumbing, asbestos, or mold trouble, we know someone we can call to resolve the issue. You don’t have to move a muscle- just leave it all to us.
- Temp Walls
During removal, it’s essential to set up a temporary support system near the existing bearing wall. The support will hold up the weight of your home when the wall comes down.
Tearing down a load-bearing wall without proper temp support can lead to devastating consequences. A professional load-bearing wall removal company will know exactly how and where to build the temp walls for maximum support.
- Propose a Long-Term Solution
As mentioned, you can’t remove a bearing wall without redistributing the weight. In most cases, these walls are replaced with a big beam to function as support and carry the house’s weight.
Installing this beam is not a one-person job. And, it certainly should not be done unsupervised. A team of experts can complete it much more efficiently, thanks to their experience.
In this regard, we’d like to point out a subtle difference between us and general contractors. Most subcontractors gravitate towards a wood glue-laminated beam because it is usually the only thing they know how to install. But other types of beams may fit your project better, such as:
- Steel I Beam
- Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL)
- Girder Truss
At Load Bearing Pros, we can install any of these beams at any size you want. That’s what makes us so unique!
- Efficient Demolitions
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to put your life on hold to remove a load-bearing wall. A professional company will finish the job as quickly as possible. In fact, our experts can typically tear down load-bearing walls in a few hours. What’s more, we clean up after ourselves, so you won’t be left with a colossal mess once we leave.
- Emphasis on Safety
One of the biggest perks of hiring a professional load-bearing wall removal specialist is an increased focus on safety. For starters, most of these professionals have been in the business for years. They know everything that can go wrong. Consequently, they take ample measures to sidestep or counter roadblocks.
Additionally, they do something many homeowners don’t – consult an engineer. Any load-bearing removalcompany worth their salt won’t start a project without checking with an expert. When it comes to safety, you should never cut corners.
- Proper Finish
Post-removal, you probably don’t want people to know there was a wall in the first place. A bearing wall removal company can help with that. They will even out your ceiling and flooring, making it impossible to tell if you ever had any work done.
- Accurate Estimates
A general misconception about load-bearing wall removers is that they charge the earth for their services. This is what encourages many people to take the DIY route- a strong desire to save some precious cash.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. A seasoned and reputable professional will offer you a fair estimate based on the complexity of the project. They’ll use their experience to spot possible issues and chalk up a quote accordingly.
Tips to Hire a Qualified Load-Bearing Wall Removal Specialist
Now that you know the benefits of hiring professional load-bearing wall removers, all there’s left to do is choose one. However, this isn’t always a straightforward affair. With the number of options out there, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed.
Besides, although most claim to be the best, no two removal companies are cut from the same cloth. In such a scenario, how do you decide whom to bring onboard?
Don’t worry, we can help!
Let us walk you through a few tips to pick the right load-bearing wall removal experts.
- Go Local
First things first, try and choose a local contractor. Area contractors who have been around for a long time are safe bets for projects, because they rely on a good reputation to survive. If they didn’t deliver, they wouldn’t exist.
Also, they are likely to be familiar with the building codes in your area and will help you stay compliant. Talk about a win-win!
- Obtain Multiple Bids
It’s never wise to settle for the first contractor you come across.
Ideally, you should obtain bids from at least three different companies. A reputable load-bearing wall removal specialist will meet you in person and examine the home before providing a cost estimate.
Once you receive the bids, compare the quotes and offerings. See if there’s a vast difference between them. In case there is, be sure to ask why.
- Review Experience and Specializations
You want a contractor that is skilled and trained in load-bearing wall removals. If it’s a single item in a long list of services, chances are they don’t do it regularly.
On the other hand, companies like Load Bearing Pros do nothing but tear and replace load-bearing walls. That’s it. No bathroom remodels, no kitchen renovations. Hence, we have more experience removing load-bearing walls than most general contractors.
- Don’t Let Price Influence Your Decisions
While a lowball bid is undeniably attractive, you’ll probably be better off without it. A surprisingly low quote may indicate that the contractor pinches pennies or skimps on quality.
Don’t let price be your yardstick. Instead, set the costs and services side by side to see if they make sense. Contractors who put in additional efforts may be worth a higher price point.
- Make Note of Communication Style
The contractor must be easy to reach and talk to. Load-bearing wall removals take quite a bit of planning, so you must be able to connect with them right out the gate.
Pay attention to the contractor’s preferred style of communication. Do they mostly text, call, or e-mail? Also, are their responses quick or delayed? Are they available for in-person meetings? Answers to these questions will help you find a professional suited to your taste.
- Run a Background Check
Hiring a contractor without investigating their background is a huge no-no. Remember, you’ll be trusting them with your home, which is why you must ensure they are dependable.
Get in touch with former clients for reviews. Study neutral third-party review sights for more insight.
Contact local authorities to find out if the contractor is facing any legal charges or complaints. Visit an active job site to see how they work. The more you can learn about their work habits, the better.
- Have a Detailed Contract in Place
Insisting on a clear contract isn’t about a lack of trust. It’s about paving the road to a successful completion. You can think of the contract as an expectation setting. If the parties agree on everything upfront, there are no unwelcome surprises down the line.
Draw up a contract detailing every step of the load-bearing wall removal project immediately after the negotiation stage. We’re talking schedules, materials, products, and payment methods, among other things. Also, make sure you update the contract as and when required.
- Don’t be in a hurry
Load-bearing wall removals are a big deal. Since they are a structural change, they can have severe repercussions if done incorrectly. As a result, you want to pick a contractor with extensive expertise.
Don’t hesitate to shop around before you make a decision. Take your time to shortlist contractors, weigh their strengths, and interview them, before zeroing in on the best candidate. Only then can you know your home is in good hands.
The Bottom Line
Few things are as satisfying as a successful home improvement project. And, load-bearing wall removals are not different. Ace them, and you can unlock the full potential of your living space.
In this regard, choosing a seasoned load-bearing wall removal company should top your priorities. A reputable contractor can make a world of difference to your project, saving you both time and money down the line.
Need a load-bearing wall removal specialist in Utah? Look no further than Load Bearing Pros. We offer affordable, quick, and structurally sound solutions for homeowners seeking to open up spaces in their homes. For more information, give us a call today!