What You Need to Know Before You Remove a Bearing Wall
If you’re looking at creating that open concept kitchen of your dreams, you might want to remove a bearing wall. But it’s not as easy as knocking that wall down—there are a few things to consider before removing one of your kitchen walls!
Let me walk you through what you need to know before taking out a load-bearing or a weight-bearing wall, and opening up your kitchen (or another room in your home!):
In this home that we recently completed, we removed the wall between the kitchen and the living room. There are many areas of your home you might want to open up—to let in more light, to add a design feature, or to just create more space. Here is what you need to know before diving in:
Before Taking Out That Wall—What’s That Wall Made of?
Do you have asbestos in your drywall compound or in the plaster of your ceiling texture? Homes built between the 1950s to the early 1980s may contain asbestos, so it’s important to get an asbestos test before getting started. You don’t want to run into contamination issues when you’re taking the wall out.
Engineering—How Will Your Home Be Supported?
You will want an engineer to weigh in on the beam that will replace your wall, and whether it can support the load of the span you want to open up.
There’s more than one way to design this beam—in some cases you can push the beam up into the attic so it’s hidden. In this house, we have what’s called a drop beam. We actually had to transfer the load end of the beam down into the basement floor, which did impact the basement as well. No matter what design you choose, you want to make sure that everything is solid and secure, which means consulting with an engineer to check in on how your home will be supported.
What’s in the Wall You Want to Remove?
Think about this. If you have a heat register in the wall you want to remove, what will happen to it when you take the wall out? Will you have to move elements of the HVAC system if you take out a wall?
We always open up the wall first to verify what’s in that bearing wall, so our customers don’t get a surprise later. It’s harder to change the plan after you’ve already ordered new kitchen cabinets, for example!
What Will It Look Like After You Remove the Wall?
If you take out a wall, you’re going to have gaps in your flooring, in your ceiling texture, and so on. You should think about how you plan to patch that up. One major area to consider is your ceiling, if you have a textured ceiling. It’s quite hard to match a texture exactly, so patching up a textured ceiling doesn’t always look great. In many cases, it’s best to redo the whole ceiling so it’s consistent from one end to the other. In this home we just completed, we went with a flat, smooth-painted finish that looks really up-to-date and fresh.
Another thing to notice about this home is that we turned the load bearing beam into a feature of the home design. There are a lot of options for making your beam into a feature, if you can’t completely hide the beam, or if you simply want a unique look. You can give it rustic look by adding distressed wood, or you can add decorative beams around it to make a coffered ceiling. It’s up to you and your design sensibility!
So before you remove that wall, take a moment to think about these things, and you’ll make it much easier on yourself down the road.
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About Contact Renovations & Custom Homes
At Contact Renovations and Custom Homes, our client first philosophy has made us a top Edmonton Design Build Contractor for over ten years. We pride ourselves on high quality renovations that speaks for itself.