People often have questions about removing walls without causing any risk to the house's occupants. The most common question of all is simply "Can I remove a wall in my house?" and the answer is yes, but only when done properly. Also, various factors will play into the job's difficulty and cost.
In this article, Leenan Homes will go over these factors in detail, including how to tell if a wall is load-bearing, what hidden costs you might face, and what professional services you'll need to get the job done.
Removing walls in your home can be done for many reasons. It can be to create a more open living space, make way for a bathroom or kitchen renovation, and so on.
However, note that only a licensed and experienced contractor, architect, or structural engineer can evaluate whether or not a wall in your home can be removed. Various parts of the wall may need to be opened up to determine the wall's strength.
Removing any wall in your house is not as simple just erasing it, sadly. Before you begin, there are many things to consider. These questions include:
Generally, a load-bearing wall is one built to provide structural support for the house's ceiling, floor, or roof. This means that by removing a load-bearing wall, you may weaken the structure of your home, causing it to crack or cave in.
This can jeopardize the safety of the occupants, and it means your house will not stand the test of time.
Non-load-bearing walls, on the other hand, have little structural significance, and are instead there to ensure privacy between rooms, reduce noise, save energy costs, and conceal pipes and wires.
These walls are typically there to divide rooms, and in most cases, they're constructed with lighter materials in order to reduce the overall dead load of the structure. These walls can noramlly be taken down without adversely affecting the house's integrity.
Inside the wall cavity, there could be electrical wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts, which may be damaged if you're not careful. The repair costs can be expensive. You may also need to relocate them, which will require modifying adjacent walls.
Therefore, it's critical to look at your house plan before removing a wall to see what's in the wall cavity. If you do not have your house plan on-hand, you may be able to contact your local council for the building plans. Alternatively, you can contact the previous owner or your real estate agent to obtain a copy.
Another very crucial thing to think about is the type of wall you want to remove. Let's review some of these walls other than the load-bearing walls mentioned earlier:
Basement walls are masonry walls, which means they are difficult to remove. Some of your house's walls may be critical to its structural integrity, while others may be the partition walls that bear no loads from the top. Most basements have a support structure that helps to support the load of the first floor of the house above.
To summarize, you do not want to remove anything related to the floor above's support. It's almost certainly load-bearing if the column is four-by-four or larger. The weight will be supported by any beam or LVL lumber. All perimeter walls around the house support weight.
Plasterboard with timber studs are non-load-bearing walls, and therefore easier and less expensive to remove because the equipment required is cheap and won't need heavy-duty demolitions. Plasterboard walls are usually divider walls for enhancing privacy.
If an internal wall runs the length of the house and divides it evenly, it is probably load-bearing. The chances are greater if it's a basement wall. These interior walls that bisect the house could be there simply due to a lack of adequate support in the house's basement.
Walls that run widthwise are more likely to be removed than walls that run lengthwise. Usually, determining the width and length of walls in a house or rental unit at a glance is difficult. Running perpendicular to the rafters is referred to as length. The width of the wall indicates that it runs parallel to the rafters of the building.
Depending on when your home was built, your internal walls may have asbestos-containing fibro cement sheeting. Removing asbestos may need additional licensing and disposal costs under Saskatchewan regulations.
The cost of removing a wall is determined by the size of the wall, type of wall, and the type of building. It would be best if you first determined whether the wall is load-bearing or non-load-bearing. Load-bearing walls may require you to hire an architect or engineer, which can be costly. Therefore, hiring a builder or engineer to determine if the wall is load-bearing is one way to find out.
You can usually save money by removing non-load-bearing walls, which will also save you the time and aggravation of additional engineering reports and permissions. If your entire home repair project hinges on removing a weight-bearing wall, however, the cost may be justified.
While it may look like an impossible job, wall removal can be done, provided you do the careful preparation and planning necessary. Another essential is the use of a licensed and insured builder with experience, industry knowledge, and expertise.
Leenan Homes is the leading home construction company in Regina. We have considerable experience having offered our quality services to hundreds of clients over the years. If you need help with your home renovation projects, contact us today!