How Much of a Load-Bearing Wall Can Be Removed?
Plan carefully and feel at ease making major changes to the footprint of your home.
Home renovation is no light matter, especially when it involves heavy lifting to remove or replace walls. As homeowners continue to embrace open concepts and look for ways to expand and better utilize spaces in their home, removing walls is often at the forefront of an ambitious project. There are a lot of things to consider upfront when you’re planning to remove any wall – but especially a load-bearing wall. Planning is key, as it’ll help you determine how much of a load-bearing wall can easily be removed. After all, in most homes you can remove as much as you wish of a load-bearing wall, but it has a lot to do with what’s inside the wall, and how you plan to redistribute the weight.
Load-bearing walls are critical to the structure of your home. Unsupported, the weight of the home can result in buckling and an unfortunate roof collapse. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to consult with an engineer who can gauge the weight load affected, and advise on what you will need to do in order to keep your home upright.
- Does the piece of wall you want to remove accommodate light switches and electrical outlets? If so, where does the electrical run? Where will it need to be moved?
- To meet codes, will you need to add new outlets anywhere else between the surrounding rooms?
- Will baseboard heating be affected? Be aware of gas lines or water lines that will need to move. Sometimes it’s difficult to identify what utilities flow through a wall.
- How will any new floor transitions be accommodated?
- What is the span of the wall that will be opened? In addition to new ceiling supports, will you need vertical beams?