When removing load-bearing walls, the internet will tell you it’s better to hire a professional than attempt it yourself. And with good reason. Not everyone is an ace with a hammer, and that’s fine!
But is DIY load-bearing wall removal impossible? Not quite.
People with the right skills, tools, and background can take down their walls- but it comes with certain risks. In fact, the easiest thing about load-bearing wall removal is usually knocking down the wall itself. It’s the planning, prepping, and new support beam installation that leaves many homeowners scratching their heads.
Before we dive into which load-bearing wall removal method is right for you, let’s quickly recap what we know about ripping up a structural wall.
What Goes into Removing a Load-Bearing Wall?
Load-bearing wall removals usually begin with confirming whether the wall you want gone is holding your home’s weight. An easy way to do this is by checking an unfinished basement or attic to see which way the joists run. If they are perpendicular to the wall, it is most likely load-bearing.
Next, you’ll have to set up temporary walls on either side of the load-bearing wall to support the weight it carried. Place the walls close to the structure but far enough to work on it.
Once you knock down the load-bearing wall, add support beams on either side to redistribute the weight above. Be sure to place them directly on top of the weight-bearing beam below.
Here are a few additional DIY load-bearing wall removal tips.
- Always wear dust masks and personal protection equipment when removing drywall.
- Consider placing support walls on the floor (along with the side) when you’re taking down the wall.
- Laminated veneer lumber is stronger than dimensional lumber of similar size.
- If you’re struggling to elevate the beam, place a car jack and temporary post under it, then slowly raise it till it meets the ceiling.
Why We Don’t Recommend DIY Load-Bearing Wall Removal
As we mentioned before, DIY load-bearing wall removal isn’t impossible. But unless you have a background in structural engineering, you’re better off trusting a professional with the job.
For starters, messing with the basic structure of your home- like removing a load-bearing wall and failing to support the load correctly- can cause several issues. Sure, your home is not going to fall apart instantly. However, even minor structural shifts can inflict severe stress on the other components of your home.
That’s not all. You may encounter multiple surprises when removing a structural wall, like electrical lines, plumbing, ductwork, asbestos, or mold infestations. These elements should be dealt with separately before you can move on with the project. What’s more, you won’t know if you’re doing things right in the first place.
Because load-bearing wall removal in Utah is a structural change, you must clear your plans with local administrative bodies and an engineer. Figuring these things out, especially when you have no experience in construction, can be a tall task.
Tearing down a load-bearing wall is a complicated process that takes months of meticulous planning- all to protect the structural integrity of your home. Even minor mistakes along the way can lead to all sorts of expensive repercussions, including irreversible structural damage.
So, what’s the takeaway?
Although DIY load-bearing wall removal isn’t technically impossible, it’s risky and complex. We suggest you hire professional load-bearing wall removal contractors like Load Bearing Pros to handle all the hard work!
Perks of Hiring a Professional Load-Bearing Wall Removal Contractor
Many homeowners shy away from hiring a professional load-bearing wall removal company because of the higher costs involved. And while bringing a pro on board might cost more money than swinging a sledgehammer yourself, your home will be much safer.
Let’s look at a few other upsides of joining forces with a load-bearing wall removal specialist.
1. Proper Planning
Expert load-bearing wall removal contractors understand the need for a plan. They also know the city and state regulations your project must adhere to if you want it to be legal. Contractors will strategize the demolition and purposefully deconstruct the wall as safely and effectively as possible.
2. Adequate Support
A common problem with DIY load-bearing wall removal is homeowners often don’t know what kind of support to use, where to erect it, and how much support they’ll need to keep their house standing. On the other hand, a professional contractor will erect sufficient temporary support walls at the right spots.
3. Knowledge of Potential Consequences
Load-bearing wall removals can affect other parts of your home, often significantly more than you’d think. A professional can guide you on what these effects are and whether you should take down the wall at all. This, in turn, can help you make informed decisions for your home.
4. Safe Removals
Because most contractors prioritize safety, they’ll take precautions to avoid damaging your property, belongings, electronic appliances, internal wiring, HVAC ducts, and more. They’ll also bring their PPE kits to ensure their own safety.
5. Correct Disposal
As you can guess, removing a load-bearing wall unleashes a wealth of debris in your home. If you’re doing it yourself, you’ll have to rent a dumpster to get rid of this waste.
But not with a load-bearing wall removal contractor.
A pro will know how and where to dispose of the wall remnants correctly, so you have nothing to worry about at all!
Pro or DIY Load Bearing Wall Removal: Final Thoughts
As we have said before, load-bearing wall removal is not easy. The only time you should take a hammer to your wall unsupervised is if you have ample training and an engineering degree. Otherwise, hiring a professional is the way to go. The last thing you’d want is to save costs upfront, only to pay twice as much in structural repairs later.
The Bottom Line
With the open-layout concept gaining more traction, you likely have plans for a spacious home. The good news is this is relatively easy to do. Load-bearing wall removals are fairly simple, provided you work with someone who knows what they’re doing and can accomplish things the right way.
Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into the pros and cons of DIY load-bearing wall removal, and why we think the professional route is better.
At Load Bearing Pros, our expert team of load-bearing wall removal contractors can help you get rid of any structural wall, pronto. We have the experience and expertise you need to finish your project on time and under budget. For more information, give us a call today!