Home renovation is on the rise. More and more people are choosing to change their homes rather than move house.
And why not? It makes perfect sense to spend a little and gain a lot.
But there are some things you need to look out for if you are attempting to remodel your home. Load bearing walls are one of them.
Removing walls can create space and give your home a lighter more open-plan feel. However of the wall in question is a supporting wall, there are certain things you need to consider.
Read our guide to eight questions you should ask before removing a load bearing wall to find out more.
1. Are You Sure You Want To Remove It?
Removing a load bearing wall can be quite an undertaking. So one of the first things you should ask is whether you really need to remove it?
You should weigh up the cost, time and effort of removing the wall against the benefits you may gain.
If the wall is preventing you from remodeling your home how you would like it, then it is probably time for the wall to go. However, if there is an alternative to removing the wall, have you considered it?
Before work starts on taking out a load bearing wall, you should be absolutely sure you want to remove it.
2. Is It Definitely A Load Bearing Wall?
Once you have decided that the wall has to go, you need to confirm that it definitely is load bearing.
Certain walls in your home are there just to divide rooms, and some walls are actually holding up your house. So how do you know which is which?
One way of finding out which are the load bearing walls is to check the original plans.
If you don’t have access to the plans, you can check certain walls by looking in the attic and seeing if they are connected to joists. However, if you are not confident in assessing which are your load bearing walls, you should always ask a professional to help.
3. Do You Need a Permit?
Depending on where you live, you could well need a permit in order to make structural changes to your home. Removing a load bearing wall counts as a structural change in most municipalities so it is highly likely you will need to obtain one.
Embarking on home renovations without a permit can cause problems, and is really not advisable. As well as slowing down your project, it could also cost you more money in the long-run.
4. Does It Contain Any Pipes Or Wires?
One of the next things that you need to think about is whether the load bearing wall contains any ducts, plumbing or electrical wiring. If the wall does hold heating, pipes or electrics, they will all need to be rerouted before the wall is removed.
Depending on the layout of the rest of the room, and how much is contained in the wall, this can sometimes be quite a complex task. Moving plumbing and wiring will almost certainly increase the cost of your project, and so it is advisable to get quotes before you begin.
5. Do You Need To Add a Beam?
The role of a load bearing wall is to support the ceiling and transfer weight down to the foundations. If you are removing a wall that is helping to hold up your house, then some structural support needs to be installed in its place.
The most common way to replace a load bearing wall is to install a beam under the ceiling. A beam will also need supporting under each end, so the weight can still be transferred to the ground.
Your home renovation team or structural engineer will advise you on how this will work in your home.
6. How Will Removing the Wall Affect the Floor?
Apart from the structural issues surrounding removing a supporting wall, you should also consider some of the decorative factors.
Removing a wall will leave a gap where the flooring on either side of the wall no longer meets. It will also require some replastering on the adjoining walls.
Take some time in advance thinking about the flooring solution once you have removed the load bearing wall. Replacing carpet, vinyl or hardwood floors will add to the cost of your project and may need different professionals to help you.
7. How Will It Change Your Living Space?
Presumably, you are removing a load bearing wall as part of a remodeling project of your home. Creating open plan spaces can give your home a more spacious feeling and give you more options for how you use your rooms.
Removing walls can also add value to your home, as open plan living is often very desirable among house buyers.
Think about how you will use your home once you have removed the wall. Will you need different furniture? How will affect the lighting?
You may need the help of an interior designer to help you visualize your new space.
8. Do You Need To Call a Professional?
Finally, when you are considering removing a load bearing wall, you should ask yourself is this really a DIY project? While it is possible to remove a supporting wall yourself, it is a difficult job that is usually best left to the professionals.
By hiring the services of a professional home renovation team, you will have the benefit of their expertise and experience. They are also best placed to advise you on more technical issues such as rerouting wiring and installing beams.
Talk To Us About Your Home Renovation Plans
Remodeling your home can be an exciting and fulfilling project. It can make your home feel more spacious, and also increase the value of your house.
However it is a serious undertaking to remove a load bearing wall, and hopefully, this guide has helped inform you about what that entails.
If you are thinking of undertaking home renovations, talk to us about the services we offer and how we can help make your plans become reality.