Rapid urbanization is one of the major driving forces behind the growth of the global home improvement market. The global home improvement market size surpassed $762.9 billion in 2020. It is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of over 4.3% from 2021 to 2027, reaching $1009.9 billion by 2027.
Other than easy add-ons such as bathroom improvements and system upgrades, significant overhauls like removing a wall between kitchen and dining room are also in demand. But unlike minor renovations, removing a load-bearing wall is often complicated. It requires more time, effort, and money. As a result, you need to understand the overall load-bearing wall removal cost.
But before we do that, let’s first understand what a load-bearing wall is and the benefits of removing it.
What Is a Load Bearing Wall?
As the name suggests, a load-bearing wall supports the structural weight. So, it’s also called a structural wall. This wall transfers the load to the foundation of your house or building. As a result, the load-bearing wall needs to be strong.
Depending on the type of construction material, there are seven different load-bearing walls.
- Common 2×4 wall: Separates rooms. Usually seen in homes built before 1990.
- Precast Concrete Wall: This load-bearing wall is a preferred choice as it is strong, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. It provides excellent protection from weather elements.
- Retaining Wall: This load-bearing wall provides lateral support. It reduces erosion and protects areas from being saturated.
- Masonry Wall: It is probably the oldest type of load-bearing wall. It is also strong, durable, and offers excellent fire resistance.
- Pre Panelized Load Bearing Metal Stud Walls: Although not very strong, this load-bearing wall is used for building exterior wall cladding. It is usually made using stainless steel, copper, or aluminum.
- Engineering Brick Wall: It comprises double open-ended bond beam blocks.
- Stone Wall: This load-bearing wall is masonry construction. It can provide structure to a building and encloses an area.
Is Removing a Load-Bearing Wall Possible?
Yes, removing a load-bearing wall is possible. However, this isn’t a DIY task. Removing a load-bearing wall on your own can compromise the structural integrity of your home. You must remove the load-bearing wall under expert supervision.
Tearing down a structural wall involves considerable planning. You will need proper temporary support in place before removing it. Likewise, if your load-bearing wall hides plumbing and electrical works, taking it apart becomes more complicated than ever. That’s why roping in professionals is necessary.
What Are the Benefits of Removing a Load-Bearing Wall?
Removing a load-bearing wall comes with several benefits. It opens up the space because it often combines two rooms into one. The most common is removing a wall between kitchen and dining room to create one spacious room.
Other benefits include:
- More Light: Does your load-bearing wall block natural light from entering your house? After removing a load-bearing wall, the natural light will fill the open space. In other words, you will have to rely less on artificial lights. This cuts down your power bills.
- Better Aesthetics: When you rope in professionals, they will strategically remove the load-bearing wall. They will replace it with a steel or wooden beam, covering it with drywall. You can choose a design you like to improve the aesthetics.
- Better Communication: Open spaces open the flow of communication. You don’t have to excuse yourself from an interesting conversation while blending those margaritas.
- Better Resale Value: Open floor plans are currently trending. So, removing a wall between kitchen and dining room to create an open space can work in your favor. It can help you get better resale value should you decide to sell your house in the future. Open floor plans often trick buyers into seeing more square footage.
- More Convenience: Removing a load-bearing wall also increases overall functionality and convenience. You can move between different areas of your home with ease.
Understanding Load-Bearing Wall Removal Cost
You might have seen many online estimates saying a load-bearing wall removal cost can be anywhere between $4000 to $5000 per job. However, the true cost of removing a load-bearing wall is often higher. You will have to consider the following.
- Building Permits
- Structural Engineer
- Plumbing and Electrical
- Load-Bearing Beam
- Additional Costs
You will need the necessary permits before tearing down a load-bearing wall. It will cost you around $100 or more to get those, depending on the size of your project. Usually, a load-bearing wall removal contractor will help you create the construction plans, apply for permits, and meet the necessary building regulations.
You may need to consult a structural engineer as well. A structural engineer will analyze and design the supporting beam. Most projects require custom-designed beams, which will increase the overall load-bearing wall removal cost. So, you may have to pay a few hundred dollars extra for a structural engineer’s analysis.
Most load-bearing walls also hide pipes and electrical cables. Rerouting the electrical and plumbing structures is also a complex job. You will need to hire experienced plumbers and electricians to find the most cost-effective way to design the rerouting.
The cost will depend on the age, type, and size of plumbing and electrical structures. Usually, replacing outdated and damaged pipes and cables will cost more.
Installing and recessing the replacement beam is a large chunk of your overall load-bearing wall removal cost. This cost will depend on factors such as the size and material. Although expensive, steel beams are the most popular choice as they take up less space and last long.
After replacing the wall with a beam, you need to conceal it with a drywall. Again, the cost will depend on the size and the type of drywall, among other things. You will need to ask a load-bearing wall removal contractor to provide estimate for this job.
In addition to the drywall, you will also need to consider the cost of painting. You may need to paint the trim, ceilings, and other areas of your house to match its interior.
You will also need to change the flooring after taking down a wall. Getting the new flooring to match the old one can be challenging. Sometimes, you may have to replace the entire flooring, which will increase the cost.
You may have to add new furniture such as cabinets and countertops, especially if you are removing a wall between kitchen and dining room. Load-bearing walls in kitchen often have cabinets and countertops. You will need to remove and replace these with new ones. This cost will depend on the material, labor, and project size.
You may need to pay additional costs. You may encounter unexpected problems like termite or mold damage. Plus, you will need to remove the debris. Redirecting the structural weight to the supporting posts might require additional foundation support. Take these costs into account before replacing the load-bearing wall.
There is more to load-bearing wall removal than meets the eye. It’s a complex process that requires you to hire professionals. You also need to consider several factors to understand the true cost of removing a load-bearing wall. Hopefully, this short guide will help you understand the various costs associated with wall removal.