Load-Bearing Wall – To Remove or Not?
You are considering removing a wall from the kitchen, but you are concerned that it might be a load-bearing wall. While there are many great reasons to remove walls and open up space in your house, there are definitely some considerations to make before you pick up that sledgehammer. You may have heard the term load bearing wall but not really understand what that means.
A load-bearing wall is an interior wall, which means one side of it is not on the outside of your house. Think of a wall that separates two rooms in your house, like a wall between the kitchen and the family room. If this wall bears the weight of the floor above it, or the roof, to the foundation below it, it is a load-bearing wall. If you have a single-story home, these walls typically hold up ceiling joists and weight from the rafters. The rafters put the weight from the roof on the load-bearing wall. If you have a two-story home, the load-bearing walls support the weight of the floor above it and the roof. These are important walls and removing them with no thought can be devastating to your home.
Many people think that a load-bearing wall simply can never be removed. That is not the case. They can be removed, but, the load they carry must be carried by something else. You cannot remove it and hope for the best. When you remove a load-bearing wall, you must install a heavy beam to replace it. You can also install a beam and posts to replace the wall you want to remove. Either of these two ways is suitable to replace a load-bearing wall. Both of these require the skill and expertise of an experienced contractor. This is not something you want to try on your own. This type of wall is too important to get wrong. You want to make sure the integrity of the structure remains.
Another point you want to consider before making your final decision about removing this wall is the cost. It can be somewhat pricey for you to remove a load-bearing wall. The cost will be dependent upon the size of the wall, but it could cost anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000. This is not construction work that you want to cut corners. You want to make sure the work is done by someone qualified and experienced. Before you make the decision to remove this wall, you may want to consult with a general contractor. You have to decide if moving this wall is worth it to you. The benefits of opening up your space may far outweigh the hassle and cost of moving your load-bearing wall. You should be sure that you know all the costs and time involved when you are making this decision. While it is completely possible and safe to move a load-bearing wall, it is not a decision that you want to enter into without much thought.