If you’re planning a home renovation, you might be thinking of taking out a wall or two. This can present a dilemma as you move forward.
Removing walls can help you achieve the open floorplan many homeowners are after. Before doing so, you must understand how removing a wall can affect your home.
Some walls are vital to the structural integrity of your home. These load-bearing walls transfer the weight of the building into the ground.
Are you wondering if you can remove a support wall? Find out the answer to this question and more with this guide to wall removal.
Can You Remove a Support Wall?
Even though a wall might be a load-bearing wall, you still may be able to remove it. Before you remove any walls, you’ll need to determine whether a particular wall is a simple partition wall or a support wall.
You will need to take extra precautions when you remove or modify any load-bearing wall. These walls carry the weight of your house.
When you remove or modify the wall, you will need to make sure the weight is redistributed properly.
This can get a bit complicated.
If you’re planning on removing a load-bearing wall, you should call a professional. A professional will help you determine which walls are load-bearing walls and which aren’t.
You will need to do some advanced planning to knock out a load-bearing wall. The contractor should be well-versed in this process.
Which Walls are Load-Bearing Walls?
Support walls bear the weight of the entire house. The weight is transferred from the roof and upper levels down to the foundation.
This can be the trickiest part of removing any wall in your home. You may already know which walls are support walls and which are partition walls.
If you don’t, there are a few signs to look out for.
Exterior walls will always be load-bearing walls. If you or someone else has done any additions to the home, these walls will still be load-bearing.
On the interior, any walls that run parallel to the peak of the roof are likely load-bearing as well.
If you look at the floor joists, you may notice the wall runs perpendicular. If this is the case, the wall may be a load-bearing wall. This isn’t always the case.
You must look at the overall structure of the home.
In multi-level homes, support walls are most often stacked on top of one another. This allows for the most effective transfer of weight from one level to the next.
If there are any walls, pillars, or supports directly above a wall, it is likely to be a support wall. This is true even if the walls above are short walls in an unfinished attic.
A professional contractor can help you determine which walls are load-bearing walls. This way, you won’t make any mistakes. Improper removal of a load-bearing wall could be a costly error.
How Do You Remove a Wall?
Removing a wall could be the most intensive and complicated part of your home renovation. If the wall isn’t removed with care, you could do serious damage to the structural integrity of the house.
Hiring a professional contractor will ensure you don’t make any unnecessary mistakes.
Once the contractor determines which walls are support walls, they will need to construct a temporary support system.
You can do this with adjustable steel posts or wood two-by-fours. With the latter option, you build a second wall to take stand in place of the old one while you install the beam.
Once a support system is in place, the contractor will begin demolishing the existing wall. They will start with the drywall and then remove the wood studs.
They will continue to place install the support beam. This is where hiring a professional can prove useful. Wood support beams are heavy.
In some older homes, these beams are closer to wood logs.
The beam will need to be carefully measured and cut. You don’t want to have to buy another beam. The construction team should be able to lift the support beam into place.
Can You Make This a DIY Project?
You can make almost anything a DIY project, but that doesn’t always mean you should. You may save money on labor, but you risk the quality and expertise of a professional.
Removing a load-bearing wall requires greater calculation than most other renovation projects. A professional will help you redistribute the weight of the house.
This will cost you more money, but you can rest easy knowing you have a proper support beam in place.
Do You Need a Permit?
Different municipalities have different building codes and permit requirements. Building without a permit can cause you issues down the line.
If you need a permit but are caught without one, it could delay your project both in time and finances.
Not all home modifications will require you to pull out a permit. Check with your local governing body before you begin any renovation.
Many people believe they can save money by skipping the permit process. Some municipalities are making active efforts to make sure people aren’t building without permits.
It’s better to check with your city and not need one.
If you plan to remove a load-bearing wall in your home, chances are you will need to get a permit.
Tear Down This Wall!
It’s becoming more common to design homes with an open floor plan. If you currently live in an older home, you may find that there are many walls.
If you’re looking to knock out a few walls, take caution. Incorrectly removing a support wall could leave you with more problems than you’d like.
It’s best to hire a contractor to help you with this process. Levi Homes offers a range of services, including load-bearing wall removal, to help get you into your dream home.
Contact us today to discuss your plans.