We’ve all seen the dream house on HGTV that Chip & Joanna Gaines designed. That perfect farmhouse look with an open floor plan. We drool over having a house that looks like that. Well, it might be easier and more affordable to attain that open floor concept than you think! Removing a wall is a fairly inexpensive cosmetic update to your home that will give it the makeover you are looking for. But, before going off and making this a “DIY” project, you need to make sure that the wall you are taking out is not load-bearing. This is crucial to the structural integrity of your house.
What is a load-bearing wall? By definition, a load bearing wall is a wall that is an active structural element of a building, that is, it bears the weight of the elements above the wall, resting upon it by conducting its weight to a foundation structure. (Wikipedia) There are many ways to indicate if a wall is load bearing – but we suggest you consult with a structural engineer to determine if the wall is load bearing or not.
There are many benefits to removing a (load bearing) wall in your home.
- Load bearing wall removal will give you an open floor concept (making the designers of HGTV proud). This is a trend that we have seen everywhere and is likely to stick around for a long time. Unlike a lot of trends that go out of style fast, this one is here to stay – so investing would be worth it.
- When you take out walls, it opens up your home, making it look bigger without adding additional square feet. You even have more flexibility to change the rooms up – maybe you want your dining room to be a sitting room and the kitchen nook to turn into your dining area – with removing a (load bearing) wall, you make that flexibility possible.
- It can also bring families closer together. The kids can be in the living room and mom can keep an eye on them while she is cooking dinner. You have a lot of creative space to work with when you knock down walls.
What does the process of replacing a load bearing wall look like? As you decide which wall you want to knock down, remember that you will most likely need a permit (depending upon the city). Residential Engineering Services will provide an inspection to determine if the wall is load bearing or not. If the wall is load bearing, RES provides the needed stamped letter or drawing to obtain the permit (this process usually takes about an hour). A beam is then designed to replace the wall (sometimes it takes more than one!). The entire process takes about a week’s time and you have the peace that the structural integrity of your home is not compromised, that the beam is built up to code, and is safe for your family. This also allows you to get a more accurate bid from the contractor doing the work. This is a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade your home that really has the potential to change the look and feel. Not to mention finally having the HGTV open floor concept!
Remember, it is important to contact the experts before taking down a wall in your home. If the wall is load bearing and you take it down, the structure of your home is compromised, putting everyone inside in danger. Residential Engineering Services wants to help you in the process of updating your home. Call us today and we will determine whether that wall you want out is load-bearing.