How to Remove a Load Bearing Wall

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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When removing a load bearing wall, you must consider how much weight the wall bears and how to effectively transfer that weight using strong enough supports. Removing a load bearing wall without sufficiently redirecting the weight can cause the structure to collapse. Learn to remove a load bearing wall safely to maintain the structural integrity of the building.

Skill level:
Challenging

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Apply for a building permit and make sure that you comply with the building codes in your area.

  2. 2

    Assess the wall for electrical and plumbing and hire a professional to redirect those utilities.

  3. 3

    Hire a professional structural engineer to assess the wall for how much weight it bears, what kind and size of beams would work best to redirect the weight and how to construct temporary support walls that will bear the weight sufficiently and safely.

  4. 4

    Decide where to install the wood or steel support beam. Installing the beam under the roof joists is the easiest way, although the beam is exposed and takes up head room. A more difficult way is to install the beam in the ceiling space. This requires more time and money.

  5. 5

    Seek a professional contractor to assist with the project. Ensure he has experience and check his references.

Tips and warnings

  • If you remove a load bearing wall and don't compensate by adding supports, it could cause sagging floors, cracked finishes and collapse the entire structure.
  • You must secure the weight that the load bearing wall holds before removing the load bearing wall. Hire a professional with experience to construct temporary support walls that can handle the load.

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