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Removing Load-Bearing Walls

February 13, 2019

Bring down the walls! It seems like open-concept is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon, a fact that we are totally on board with. Almost every main-floor consult that we go to the client is asking, “can I remove this wall? How about this one?” We're pretty sure that if most people had their way, they would remove all the walls on their main floor--which could be awkward for guests using their bathroom, but think of all the room for activities!

 

 

 

 

For those of you that only want to remove the more appropriate walls, we can’t stress enough the importance of having a professional come in to assess and tell you which walls should and can come down. Even us, as construction experts, still consult with an engineer when it comes to taking down any wall on the inside of a house. It’s always safer to have someone come and check because the load bearing walls are what hold up everything above you in your house.

 

 
To give you an idea of what you are dealing with before you have a contractor come in, let’s talk about how you can usually tell whether a wall is load-bearing or not. The first way to identify which walls are load-bearing is the thickness of the wall. If it is around 4.5 inches thick, then you are most likely looking at a 2 by 4 framed, non-structured, and potentially removable wall. Whereas if the wall is closer to 6.5 inches thick that is the first indicator that it is a load-bearing wall where the house builder was told by an engineer that they needed to use 2 by 6s to carry the load of the floor or roof above that area. We are telling you this not so that you can take a sledgehammer to your thinners walls, but so that you will have a better understanding before bringing in any contractors of what things are going to cost you. Removing a load-bearing wall will cost you more than a regular partition wall.

 

 

 So, now that you have identified your thicker walls, you will want to go down into your basement and see if you can see where the steel beam and steel post are in relation t