Can I Remove a Load Bearing Wall?

Home renovation projects often lead to the moving or complete removal of walls, creating bigger and brighter spaces for your rooms. This is one of the most popular ways to change a space and make it your own, but there may well be complications surrounding it. One of the main issues that you have to look at is whether or not you have a load bearing wall. In some cases you will find that the wall is not what you thought – even experts can be baffled by the design in some houses, where a wall turns out to be load bearing.

What is a load bearing wall?

A load bearing wall is one that literally carries the weight of your home. It supports the building by taking the weight and then transferring it into the ground, ensuring that it does not all come collapsing down. There are usually at least two external walls which come into this category, and they will be situated opposite one another. The good news is that you can take down load bearing walls in some situations. You will need to take more precautions than normal, however, and will absolutely need to consult a professional before doing anything yourself.

Look out for stacked walls

One of the biggest problems with multi-storey buildings is going to be the stacking of walls. It is possible to put walls on top of one another while constructing a building, in order to distribute the weight the most effectively. This means that if you have a twelve story building, you are going to have a lot of trouble on your hands if you try to take out the bottom floor’s wall. The weight from the walls above will have nowhere to go. You can see how this can cause damage to the structure of the overall building!

Replacing the walls

If you take out the wall, you do still need to do something that will help to support the weight of the building. You need to be ready to do this as soon as the wall is removed, so normally it will be taken down in stages. The drywall is the first to go, followed by the concrete, bricks, and beams. Then you will need to put in your new support point. This can be something like a series of pillars spaced out evenly, or even some beams which are tucked into a beam cradle.

Taking professional help

Remember that this project will not be a small one. Unless you have received real training or are a builder by trade, trying this yourself is not advisable. Something can very easily go wrong, and when it does, you will find that your budget goes up rather steeply. It is better to invest in hiring a professional in the first place than to risk getting a big bill because you have made a mistake. Keep this in mind when planning out what you are going to do.