Can You Remove Part of a Load-Bearing Wall? Your Questions Answered

UtahlbwLoad Bearing Wall, Load Bearing Wall Removal, Open Space

remove part of load bearing wall

Does your dream home include plenty of free space, abundant natural light, and several multifunctional areas? If so, you should opt for an open design. Besides expanding your living quarters, open floor plans can: 

  • Enlarge a small space 
  • Enable frequent interactions and easier bonding between family members
  • Make entertaining guests a breeze 
  • Offer a spectacular view of the outdoors

That said, one significant drawback of any open space is clutter control. There’s no way for you to hide dirty dishes and untidy cabinets in an open kitchen. Unless you clean up immediately after a cooking spree, the mess will be out for the world to see. 

Fortunately, you can combat this by creating a semi-open, airy space that keeps the clutter hidden. Instead of taking out an entire wall to convert two rooms into one, simply remove a piece of the wall to widen the doorway or make a pass-through.

But here’s the million-dollar question: is it possible to do this with load-bearing walls? Let’s find out. 

Here’s an in-depth overview of a full kitchen load bearing wall removal in the Millcreek area of Salt Lake City. Running time: 3.3 minutes
  1. Partial Load-Bearing Wall Removal: Does it Work?

The short answer is, yes. In most homes, you can remove any portion of a load-bearing wall. However, this depends on what’s inside the wall and how you intend to redistribute the weight. 

Once you decide to create an opening in a bearing wall, you’ll need to shift the loads above it. Usually, this is done using a properly sized beam. 

In this regard, do not try to guess what size beam you will need. It’s nearly impossible to eyeball these measurements, especially if you have no prior experience on the job. Instead, try and hire an experienced structural engineer to make the call. Or, you can dial Load Bearing Pros! We’ll visit your home and assess the situation before giving you the specifics. 

We installed a 25 foot glulam (glued laminated timber) beam in this 1963 Salt Lake City home. This way the homeowner could match the wood to the rest of the ceiling timbers. Wall removal and beam install time: 8 hours.

A) What Type of Beams Should You Choose? 

Make no mistake: choosing a carrying beam is a tricky task. Most load-bearing wall removal specialists (including us) use beams made out of steel, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), or Gluelams for load-bearing wall removal projects.  

Steel: Thanks to their strength, steel beams require less vertical support. Plus, you won’t have to worry about pests and termites either! But note that steel beams are quite heavy and difficult to maneuver. As a result, you shouldn’t risk installing them yourself.  

LVL: By definition, laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is made out of graded veneers bonded lengthwise. Not only is it stronger, straighter, and more durable than traditional lumber, but also has far greater dimensional consistency and load-bearing capacity.  

Are you confused about the beam you need? Truth be told, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You should consult a professional load-bearing wall removal contractor to get an accurate answer based on your needs.  

Our team has been installing beams in load-bearing walls for years. So, it’s safe to say we have several tricks up our sleeves. What’s more, we work quickly and precisely, so we’ll be out of your hair in no time! 

4 Tips to Ace Partial Load-Bearing Wall Removal 

When you have your eye set on taking down a load-bearing wall, you’ll need to have a strategy in place. You don’t want to modify a bearing wall without knowing what to do next. Here are four tips to guide you in the right direction.  

A) Prepare Diligently 

Proper preparation is crucial to any load-bearing wall removal project. This begins with understanding where the wires, electrical outlets, plumbing, and other fixtures are located within the wall. Will you be able to re-route them to accommodate the new opening? 

Also, figure out how much of the wall you’ll be removing. In case you’re planning to make a pass-through, determine how big you want it to be. Or, if you want to cut out a new doorway in the wall, measure out the frame in advance. Mark the spot on the wall and place a clean sheet over it. 

B) Look Out for Hidden Surprises in the Walls 

Your walls could be home to all sorts of things, including lead, mildew, and asbestos. Asbestos, in particular, was used in several old-school building products. When inhaled, it can cause serious diseases, including asbestosis and lung cancer. 

One thing is for sure: asbestos isn’t something you should deal with on your own, especially if you don’t have the right equipment. You will need to get in touch with a certified asbestos removal company before proceeding with the remodel. That is, unless you’re working with our team. 

At Load Bearing Pros, part of what makes us popular with Utahns is our friendship with experts in other fields. As soon as we spot an unfamiliar problem, we bring in a specialist to help. You won’t have to move a finger: just sit back and leave everything to us. 

C) Always Build Temporary Supports 

We’ve said this before, we’ll say it again: you cannot remove a load-bearing wall without supporting the weight it carries. Before cutting out any part of the bearing wall, be sure to install temporary support walls on both sides. This will give the floor joists something to sit on while the permanent beam is being installed.  

D) Consider Hiring a Professional 

Removing part of a load-bearing wall sounds easy on paper. All you’ll need to do is build a support system, take down as much of the wall as you want, and install the beam correctly. Hence, you may be tempted to go the DIY route and slash your remodel budget by half. 

But in reality, a kitchen or basement load-bearing wall removal is complicated. It takes a lot of tact, skill, and precision to get everything right the first time around. Even small mistakes can damage your home significantly. Think unsightly cracks in the walls and ceilings five years down the line. 

For this reason, it is in your best interest to hire a professional load-bearing wall removal company to take on the project. With them steering the ship, you can rest easy knowing your home is in good hands. 

If you think a load-bearing wall removal contractor is going to cost you a fortune, think again. In fact, a common question we get is how we keep our prices so affordable. 

For starters, we do all the work ourselves. Our services include: 

  • An expert game plan verified by qualified structural engineers 
  • Setting up the support walls 
  • Tearing down the load-bearing wall 
  • Installing any type of beam 
  • Ensuring proper load distribution 
  • A thorough post-installation clean-up 

To top that, we run a tight ship. We don’t do anything except load-bearing wall removals and beam replacements. That’s it. No kitchen renovations, no bathroom remodels. This enables us to work with fewer employees and minimize overhead costs. Get in touch with us and we’ll give you a free estimate. 

Call Us to Know About Replacing Load-Bearing Walls! 

Whether you’re removing part or whole of a load-bearing wall, the basic principles remain the same. Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into how to cut openings in your load-bearing walls hassle-free! 

Need more answers on load-bearing wall removal? Give Load Bearing Pros a call. As specialists in the field, we can easily remove the bearing wall between you and your dream open kitchen. Plus, our team works at lightning speed and leaves no mess behind. To know more, contact us today!