Does your dark, tiny kitchen have you feeling a bit claustrophobic? Trying to keep track of other household members, but having trouble due to a pesky, inconveniently placed wall? Fear not! With a bit of planning, a bit of dust (okay, maybe more than a bit), and a day’s work, you can tear down that wall – or just remove a big chunk of it, if you prefer.
Ripping out a wall, or even part of it, can be a little intimidating. In many cases, though, it’s really not that big a deal. If you’re looking to expand your horizons, the first thing you need to do is figure out whether or not the wall in question is load bearing. There are a few ways to do this, depending on where the wall is located. If it’s a first-floor wall and you have a basement or crawl space, go down and take a look. Usually the floor joists will be perpendicular to any load-bearing walls. Sometimes there will be posts under them, too. If you have access to the top of the wall from the attic, that’s another way to tell; if the ceiling joists are resting on the wall, it’s load bearing; if they’re parallel, it’s likely not. This article from WikiHow gives more details. The bottom line here is that removing any wall has a worst-case scenario of collapsing your house and potentially killing anyone in it. If you have any doubt and/or lack the expertise to take on a project like this, bring in experienced, professional help.
If you’re still game, the next step in removing any wall is to see what lurks within it. The usual culprits include wiring, HVAC ducts, and plumbing components. Wiring is generally the easiest of these to deal with; if you can re-route the wiring through an adjacent stud bay, or bring it into the wall somewhere else, it’s often a fairly easy fix. HVAC ductwork or major plumbing components (waste pipes, for example) are a whole different story. Unless you have the expertise to do some major re-working of these systems, or are willing to hire a contractor to deal with them, you may want to re-size your opening, or find another wall to play with. If the wall isn’t load bearing, and you’ve made sure there’s nothing important in it, easy peasy—just rip it out, no header required!
You’ve Got To Carry That Weight
Assuming your wall is load bearing, and you’ve determined there’s nothing inside it that you can’t deal with, your next move is to figure out how big your opening will be. This will determine how beefy your header should be. Basically what you’ll be doing is removing studs, and replacing them with a header beam, supported by jack studs at each end. The correct size will vary with your circumstances. How long a span will be supported and how much weight it will be carrying are the two most critical factors. The longer the span, the more critical it is to size your header properly; an undersized support structure could be disastrous. Your local lumberyard or building supply center may be able to help you properly size your header; they did for me. In many locations, you’ll need a permit to do an alteration like this, and your building inspector will have to approve the size header required. He or she may also require you to consult a structural engineer or architect to determine the size.
Headers come in various flavors. The most common type consists of dimensional lumber such as a pair of 2X12’s, sandwiched around a piece of ½” plywood and nailed to each other. For longer spans, a steel flitch plate might be required instead of the plywood. This adds a lot more strength—and weight—to the header. It also increases the lead time, as it will likely have to be special-ordered in advance. Other choices include Glulam laminated beams and LVL (laminated veneer lumber) beams, which is what I used. They’re stronger than regular dimensional lumber, and are available in different dimensions and lengths. The beams I used were 10’ long, 12” high and 1-¾” thick. This is handy, because when they’re doubled up, they total 3-½”—the same as the width of the studs they’ll fit between.
One other consideration: if you’re spanning a fairly long distance, the posts under the ends of the header are transferring a lot of weight down to whatever is beneath. This is known as a point load, and it’s something you need to account for. Normally there will be a beam or some type of support under the wall you’re working on, but you may have to add a lally column (an adjustable steel support) under that area to carry the weight into the foundation. We were fortunate, because there was a triple 2X12” beam under the wall, with a lally column within two feet of our mid-wall support. This is another area that consulting an engineer or other professional can be warranted if you don’t have the expertise yourself.
Let’s Install A Header!
So you know what size your opening will be, your exploratory surgery came across no serious obstacles, and your header materials are standing patiently by. It’s almost time to make a hole in the wall. If you don’t want dust all through the house, tape some plastic over any doors leading to adjacent rooms, and if there are any large items of furniture that can’t be moved, cover ‘em up with tarps or plastic. Our project house will be getting all new flooring, but if you have finish flooring in place, protect that with a heavy canvas drop cloth, or at least tape down some red rosin paper. Mark off the outline of your opening on the wall, and get out the implements of destruction.
If there are any wires in the wall, make sure you shut off the breaker. If you haven’t already done so, punch a few holes and see where any wires and other obstacles are located. A Sawzall will make a nice neat opening pretty quickly; if you’re trying to keep the dust down a bit, go slowly and have someone with a shop vac follow your cuts. Once you get the outline cut out, pull off the wall material and get it out of the room, so it’s out of the way. Now mark, cut and remove the wall covering from the other side of the wall, and haul it out. If there are wires in the wall that need to be re-routed, now’s the time to cut and re-route, after double checking that the power is off.
Unless you planned it that way, or you’re very lucky, the length of your header probably won’t fall nicely between two studs. We were able to use an existing stud at one end, but had to add one at the other. This is no big deal; just measure the distance between top and bottom plates, and cut a stud to fit. Plumb it up, measure the distance between the new stud and the next original stud that’s remaining in place, and cut blocks to fit between them. This adds stability and gives a good nailing surface.
Before you start cutting out studs, you need to build a temporary support wall to carry the load above until the header is in place. Normally you’ll do this a few feet back from the wall, and on both sides of it. We had part of the floor open upstairs, and saw that the joists from the front room overhung the wall by about 16”, so we were able to get by with one temporary wall, since both the front and rear joists rested on it. To build the temporary support wall, first measure the distance between the floor and ceiling. Next, take some 2X4’s or 2X6’s and use a couple for a top plate, one for a bottom plate, and a few for studs. Cut the studs about an inch long, so you can angle them into place, then tighten them up with a hammer until they’re good and snug. Don’t get too carried away, or you’ll damage your ceiling. After the studs are in place, toenail them at both ends to keep them from moving.
Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for: tear that sucker down! If you’re removing the entire height of the wall, the easiest way is to cut the stud in half in the center, then twist the top and bottom pieces out. You could also use a Sawzall and cut the ends flush with the top and bottom plates. If you’re only opening up part of the height of the wall, like we were, get a mark for the lower part of the opening, then level it across with a long piece of wood or your laser level, if you have one. Square up your marks, and cut through each stud, twisting it loose from the top plate. Take your Sawzall or multitool and cut off any protruding nails that remain.
Time To Meet The King Stud!
Depending on the type of header you’re installing, there are a couple of ways to get the header into position. They can be pretty heavy, so make it as easy on yourself as you can. If you’re using a “sandwich”-type header, you pretty much have to have it all assembled before putting it into place. With ours, though, it was just the two identical pieces, and there were only two of us to do the lifting, so we decided to put one piece up at a time. We measured the distance between top and bottom plates, subtracted out the height of the header (roughly 12”), and cut jack studs for each end that would fit snugly under the header and hold it up tight to the top plate. We didn’t attach the jack studs yet, but leaned them up against the king studs, angled out a bit at the bottom to make it easier to get the header in.
After lifting the header into place, we tapped the bottom of the jack studs over until they were flush against the king studs, and the header was pushed tight against the top plate. After making sure all the surfaces lined up properly, we nailed the jack studs into the king studs, and toenailed the header along its length into the top plate and into the king studs.
Next, we spread a bunch of construction adhesive on the installed LVL, then lifted the second LVL into place. We rested it on the edge of the jack stud, and tapped the top edge into place with a small sledge, alternating between top and bottom edges until it was fully seated. After clamping the boards together to make sure they were tight to one another, we nailed the crap out of it with the framing nailer, and added a bunch of 3” construction screws for good measure. To finish off the supports, we cut two more jack studs for each end, and tapped them snugly into position one at a time, nailing them to the previous stud, and toenailing each into the header.
At this point, the header is bearing the weight of whatever’s above it, so you can dismantle the temporary walls. We reconnected our newly-configured wiring, and to finish off the opening, cut a 2X4 top plate for the bottom of it. It was a bit of overkill, but I also added some beefy corner brackets, to make an even more secure connection between the studs and the header. Our roughly 3-1/2’X10’ opening was all roughed in, and the difference it made was amazing. It really opens up the space between the kitchen and dining room, and should make it MUCH easier for the kitchen dwellers to stay connected to whoever is in the next room – and to pass me the occasional beer.
Special thanks on this project go out to my Mom and to my sister and her husband, who gave up their weekend to come and “relax” at our farmhouse. My 84-year-old mother wanted to help set the header, but settled for repainting the bathroom. My sister and her husband worked like beasts all day, and we got the project finished by beer o’clock. It’s good to know people who will work for food!
49 thoughts on “How To Remove a Wall and Install a Header – Without Bringing Down The House!”
Thanks everyone for all the great comments and questions! Since Phil actually has articles to write and a life outside of Home Fixated comments, we are closing comments on this thread for the time being. For projects that involve some engineering and potential safety concerns, we always encourage you to consult with local, experienced pro(s) whether that’s to make sure you don’t do anything crazy DIY, or to hire them outright to do the work. Stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter for more great content like this, and good luck with your projects in the meantime!
We are taking out a wall between our kitchen and livingroom.
We have 3 people saying it’s non load bearing and one saying it is load bearing. One says we have trusses and a attic with no floor so the weight is on the outsides of the house. Is that true? Would that be a reason for non load bearing? Would you feel comfortable taking out your wall with only trusses?
Also, we will have a span of 12 feet of open area and the contractor says we won’t need a beam. Is that right? What is the amount of space you need to take out before a beam/header should be put in? I don’t know if they just don’t want to do the work? I just don’t want my house to fall down either. Thank you SO much.
Hi, Shelley – Do the trusses run parallel or perpendicular to the wall you want to remove? If they’re parallel to it, it’s not a load-bearing wall. Trusses are normally designed to transfer the weight of the roof to the exterior walls, so if the wall is perpendicular to the trusses, it is PROBABLY not load-bearing.
That said, there are different truss designs, and if the house was designed with the intent that the interior wall would be providing some level of stability or support, removing it could cause issues. To be 100% sure, I’d contact a local structural engineer, and have him look at your setup. It would be a couple of hundred dollars well spent, for the peace of mind. Good luck!
Thanks for this very instructive article! We are planning to open up a 4.5’ doorway another 5’ (so roughly a 10’ span) on a long wall and remove another 3’ wall that is one side of another doorway (about 5’ wide) that is perpendicular to the long wall. Structural engineer said neither wall is load-bearing because we have a trussed roof and there is nothing but an empty attic above. Regardless, we are planning to use a 12” header “sandwich” for the long wall opening, supported by 2 jack studs on either end. There is a triple 10” beam below and cement footers roughly where the jacks will fall. But we’d like to take the short wall and the doorway header there out completely to the ceiling. My question is does all of this sound ok to you – particularly the last part?
If your structural engineer has checked and verified that neither wall is load-bearing, your plans sound fine. I assume the longer wall is perpendicular to the trusses, and it’s not a bad idea to add a header to replace the wall you’re removing. Houses tend to settle, and if you remove a wall that’s been there for a long time, it’s possible you could get some sagging or stress cracks in the ceiling.
Hi Phil, I’m working on a hlaf-wall between kitchen and LR. I have an 8 foot openning/span. there is an attic above
and the span is load-bearing. i would like go with a header consisting of double 2X10 w/half inch plywood but might be forced to go w/double 2X12 w/half-inch plywood sandwich. any feedback would be great. …Also, I was wondering at what height is your half-wall as mine is set at 42″ for now. I’m gonna have a breakfast bar on kitchen side. Thanks.
Hi, Stephen –
Without knowing the exact setup you’re working with (joist and rafter sizes, span of the joists before they rest on the header, snow load, etc.) it’s tough to give accurate advice. You can never go wrong making it beefier than it has to be, so I would go with the 2x12s with 1/2″ plywood sandwich.
I also set my opening height at 42″. We have a row of base cabinets behind it on the kitchen side, and it allows room for outlets and a backsplash. It really is amazing how much bigger it makes both rooms feel. Good luck with your project!
Hey Phil, Good job. I was wondering about finishing an LVL beam. I was told by a friend that I cannot just put drywall on it with drywall screws. Is that true? I have my lvl beam in place, but not sure what to do about drywall. Would wood screws or drywall screws damage it? I was thinking about decorating it with 1×3’s around the perimeter but my friend told me that he read somewhere that I cannot secure anything to the bottom as lvl beams cannot handle any vertical screws. He doesn’t remember where or when he read it. I would think that it must be able to handle screws but thought I would ask someone knowledgeable. Thank you, Stephen
Hi, Stephen – It’s good to be cautious about making holes in your LVL beam. Making them too big, or in the wrong place, can significantly weaken it. However, what you’re planning to do is fine. You can attach drywall to it without affecting the beam’s strength. Adding the 1×3″ trim, which is normally done with finish nails, is fine as well, and will give it a nice finished look.
Hi Phil, where did you get Beefy corner brackets from? Thanks, Alex
From the local Home Depot. Just to clarify, “beefy” isn’t a brand name, it’s just a descriptive term…There should be a section where they have lots of similar products, like joist hangars and collar ties; it’s on an end cap at my store.
Hi, Thanks for the article. I am researching the header requirements for a wall opening I want to create between 2 bedrooms. I’ll have dual sliding barn doors put in. Not looking to remove the entire wall so the doors would still be able to be closed to create a guest room.
There is no attic above and the opening will span 6′.The ceiling is not flat. It rises from 9′ at the exterior wall up to 12′ and spans about 13′.Can you recommend a header size for this 6 opening? I was thinking to 2x10s (or 2x8s ?) resting on one jack stud on either side, but not sure if it is enough (or code in CT).
Any insight is appreciated
Sounds like a neat project, Dominique. From your description, and for such a relatively short span, you could probably go with either a doubled 2×8″ or 2×10″ header (with a plywood sandwich). I would lean toward the 2x10s; the additional cost is minimal, and they would provide a lot of extra strength and rigidity for your sliding doors.
I would also use two jack studs. Again, with such a short span you could probably get away with only one, but I always feel that beefier is better. Additionally, some local codes now require two jack studs; I have no knowledge of the codes in CT, but your local building inspector will be able to clue you in on that. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!
Phil I am trying to enclose a 30′ x 30′ x 10′ Pole barn it has 8 Poles roughly 15 ft apart(3 on each side) and these are supporting the trusses and metal roof. When I purchased the property the previous owner enclosed 1 side using 2×6 framing, not typical 16 or 24 oc but he built cubes roughly 3′ x 3′ and he installed 2 sets of 8′ french doors between the posts on this wall. They work flawlessly, no sagging etc even on the dampest florida days. One of the other walls is simply covered with metal roofing panels(I will be installing garage doors on this wall) and the other 2 walls will contain window and another door(6 x 8′ barn style between one of the sets of Poles). Since this building already seems to be holding the all of the rafters level, my question is if I install a 36″ wide by 48″ tall window on one of the walls between the posts( these are 10′ walls) if one edge of the window frame aligns directly with one of my 2×6 studs(24″ oc) can I use this as one of the King studs or do I still need to attach a king stud to this stud then complete the framing using the jack studs cripple studs etc. One other question can I get by with 2×4’s for the header since the window is 36″ wide and the roof structure is supported using the posts? I know this all sounds petty I just want to make sure that I do it right the first time, but at the same time not to overkill it…
Sounds like you’re pretty much on top of things, Bill. I don’t see any reason to add another king stud on the side of the window that already has a 2X6 stud. And a 2X4 header should be fine; it won’t be carrying any weight, and it should be plenty big enough to attach your window’s nailing flange and flashing to. Sounds like a decent-sized building; I’m jealous! I hope to build one of my own this summer, I’ve never had a decent space to use as a shop. Stay tuned, and good luck with your project!
Thanks Paul for the fast turn around to my question. Hopefully after getting this side done I can finally decide on which type of garage doors I will place on the front side of the building.
Phil, My husband just removed a load barring wall. put in a beam.
we have wood beams in the living room on the ceiling for accent i believe.
well once the wall between living room and kitchen had been removed. those beams are moving.
my question is i know there will be settling due to this remodel, but how much settling is normal?
Hi, April – It’s hard to tell what’s going on without seeing your specific setup. Normally, if everything is properly sized and supported, there shouldn’t be ANY settling just because you’re doing some remodeling. Do the beams in the living room run perpendicular to the wall you just put the header into? Were they attached to that wall previously, and are they attached now? Are you sure they’re just decorative, and not structural? If you’re not sure, and things are settling, you might want to have a pro look at it – soon.
We already have an opening between the kitchen and dining area where there are bar stools, but we want to make the opening taller. When we removed the drywall, we found a 4×10 load bearing header at the bottom of the wall and are planning to raise it up 12-18″, up against the support board above. Do we need this size of a header for an 8′ opening or can we go down to an 4×8?
Without knowing what’s above it, there’s no reliable way to tell. I would go on the assumption that whoever installed the original header knew what they were doing, and installed a header that was properly sized for the load above. I would be VERY hesitant to downsize a header to gain 2″.
If you really want to gain the extra height, you could probably use an engineered beam. Check with someone at your local lumber yard, to see what size engineered beam would replace your current setup.
I have a prefab house built in 1950. Veterns housing. It sits on a slab. It is a small ranch and the wall I want to remove has no studs but runs perpendicular to the attic rafters. Would this be a load bearing wall?
Hi, Tammy – I’m not sure what you mean when you say the wall has no studs. Generally speaking, though, most walls that run perpendicular to joists above should be considered load-bearing.
I want to take down a wall with a big vertical beam on the end of it. Of course the beam stays up. Do you think the wall attached to the end beam is load bearing? Above is a 2nd floor so I can’t see anythong that could give me a hint. Thanks!
There is really no way for me to know, Julia. Have you tried using a stud finder to see if there might be joists resting on the wall, from either side? You may end up having to open up part of the ceiling to take a peek. If you have an inspection scope, or can borrow, rent or buy one, you can get away with making a fairly small hole or two. Good luck!
I am using a 14 ft beam to remove a 13 ft section of wall between my kitchen and living room. Below this wall in the basement is a beam of 3 2x10s supported by lally columns. When I install my beam do the jack studs that support the end of the beam need to be directly above one of the lally columns?
Directly above the columns is definitely best, Kristen. As you probably know, the jack studs are carrying the weight of everything that sits atop the beam, and all that load is being transferred directly down through the jack studs, and onto the beam below. The lally columns then transfer the weight down to the foundation, so the lally columns need to be supported by good footers as well. If the jack studs are fairly close to the lally columns, you should be okay. If they’re more than about a foot away, I’d get some professional advice to make sure you’re safe.
Thanks so much!!
I have a beam that spans 37 feet, the first 8 feet has a load bearing wall, the next 8 feet is open, then there is a little wall with some steel posts that is load bearing and finally a 15 foot span. Now that little load bearing wall is 4 feet wide and I am planning on leaving the posts that are in there but removing 14″ of that wall that doesn’t contain posts. That will make the first 8 foot opening now just over 9 feet, but I will extend the first 8 foot section by almost 6 feet. So the beam will now be supported by 14 feet the 5 feet open, 30″ structural with steel posts and the same 15 foot span.
Basically I’m pulling a little load bearing off one side but adding more than 3 times on the other side. It seems pretty obviously ok to me, but figured it can’t hurt to ask.
Kudos on the article btw, it’s well done.
Hi, Thomas –
From my understanding of what you’re describing, it doesn’t sound like making the changes you mentioned would be a big deal. Having said that, without actually seeing your project, I’m not comfortable giving advice. There are various factors that come into play here: Is it a steel beam, a laminated beam, or wooden? If it’s a lam beam, or especially a wooden one, there may be a joint somewhere along its length, and you don’t want to remove any supports that would leave the joint hangin’ in the breeze, so to speak.
Another consideration is what’s above the beam. One end of the beam could be carrying considerably more downward force, depending on how the upper walls and roof are structured. To be on the safe side, I’d ask someone with some experience in that area to weigh in.
Hi, Great article very detailed. I’m interested in removing a side of a 9′ bearing wall. I’d like to remove entire 3ft, one side. I won’t have a side to put a post or anything like that. Wondering how is this done?
Without being able to see your project, I’m having a tough time visualizing exactly what you’re trying to do. Does the 9′ wall intersect with another wall, and you want to remove the last 3′ of the 9′ wall where it joins the other wall? If so, what you would normally do would be to open up the intersecting wall and insert a post into it to carry the header. The other end of the header would rest on one or two jack studs at the other end of the new opening in the 9′ wall. If that’s not what you’re trying to do, or you’re not quite sure how to proceed, it’s a good idea to pay a pro for advice. It’s a whole lot cheaper – and safer – in the long run.
Thank you so much for the pictured instructions of this work. It will help me in doing the wall that separates the den and living room. I is an inside wall that is load bearing, with about a 12′ length of header. I intend to start this project about the middle of June.
It’s amazing the difference once you get the wall opened up. Good luck, Joe – let us know how it turns out!
What is “just” putting a medicine cabinet in the bathroom and both choices could be load bearing walls so need to be careful then too? Thanks
If you’re “just” putting a medicine cabinet in the bathroom, Steven, you may be in luck. There are a lot of stock medicine cabinets that are designed to fit in the recess between two studs, which is normally about 14-1/2″ wide. Bathrooms can be tricky, though, because of all the plumbing and wiring. In my experience, it’s usually located pretty much exactly where you don’t want it to be.
If you’re planning to put up a wider cabinet, and don’t want to mess with cutting into framing, you may want to look into a surface-mount unit. That’s what I had to do on a recent remodel, which had both pipes and wiring running up to the floor above, right through the stud bay I wanted to use. It came out looking fine, and was a whole lot less aggravation than it would have been to relocate all the mechanicals.
If you decide to put a cabinet in a load-bearing wall, and it will involve cutting into one or more studs, you definitely need to replace any structure you remove. You would use the same basic procedure, but would likely be able to get by with a much less beefy header, since you probably won’t be cutting into more than one or two studs. It would be worth your while to try and figure out whether the wall really is load-bearing, for the aggravation it would save you. Try the techniques in the article, and you could also try using a stud finder to see which way the ceiling joists are running. Good luck, and like you said, be careful!
Thank you for replying to my question. The floor above is the attic. Not a second livable floor. So the pipe going up is a vent pipe. But it would need rerouting I am told with 45 degree turns of more 1.5 inch PVC piping. then traverse to the other side of the cut out stud. So to be next to the corner stud. But I foresee and issue and does not another stud that is framing the 24.25 inch wide recessed cabinet need to be there to nail the cabinet too? And if the pipe is there how and what could it be nailed to if not enough room for a second stud. I guess this is getting to be a bigger and bigger issue with that cabinet size? I could put on the right corner wall which has the GFCI outlet on the wall? I was told the wiring for that outlet and the outlet could be moved over one stud to get it out of the way. But either way if the studs are 16 inches on center and there are two stud spaces say 31 inches? Between the skipped studs? And the cabinet needs to be attached on the left and right side. So an additional stud or two needs to be placed on one or both sides of the cabinet to tie to the existing studs. And then horizontal short wood connectors above and below tying the cut stud to the studs left and right of the middle one both above and below the cut stud? Or is this overkill?
Thanks in advance!
what I could best figure for that vanity wall if possible?
Would have to frame the cabinet with on the side 1/2 thick frames on the left and right sides to accommodate the Vent pipe on one side and the switches wiring on the other side but still attach the cabinet to small add on studs and a connector horizontal stud above and below it. But even then it seems the pipe below would still have some subtle issues to get in the vanity to the other studs 1/2 cavity and the cut stud would still have below it a partial stud too. Would have to either if possible route inside the cabinet the vent pipe to the other side or through that wall behind it which would require drilling through the now partial stud for the 1.5 inch pipe to get by it!
I scanned the other wall as far as I can tell yup the outlets wire is probably running along that wall to the corner which means would have reroute it even further with extra wire to get to the outlet and If it CAN in the attic which is still an unknown. What more can be at an issue!!!
Yikes – sounds like your “simple” project is getting pretty complicated! It’s hard for me to visualize your layout, and exactly what would need to be done. I don’t want to give you bad advice, so I think that if you are committed to using a recessed cabinet, you need to find someone local to take a look at it for you. Try checking with a handyman service that can take on relatively small jobs; they can usually handle a mix of electrical, plumbing and light carpentry, like your job entails. Good luck!
Would it be done any differently if you removed the door with it and had one big open space?
Nope, pretty much the same procedure, Dan. As long as you support the joists above the entire length of wall you’re removing, it doesn’t matter that there’s a door in it. That’s what I had originally planned to do; I wanted the whole wall gone. My wife wanted the door to remain, though – until it was done, at which point she agreed the whole thing should have gone away. So tear it down! Safely, of course…
Lolololol…that’s about right, agree once it’s done.
Yep. Obviously, I was in “Happy wife, happy life” mode that day, rather than the much more gratifying “easier to get forgiveness than permission” mode…
I have to admit potentially destroying the entire house scares me a bit but you’ve definitely inspired me to open things up and have a look inside.
It’s good that you’re a little leery, Scruffy–that’ll make you careful! It’s amazing what a huge difference it can make when you tear a chunk out of the wall; it really opens things up. Good luck with your project!
Thanks, Raphaël – hope it inspired you to go rip a chunk out of one of your walls…
Hi Phil! Yes! Yes! I am determined to tear out a half wall that has a stud on the inside to the roof and opens a small doorway into my living room. It will create a LOT of space and an openness that I don’t have now. My question, it is on concrete. I don’t have access to the builder or the plans and I want to be sure that my wall isn’t load bearing in any way. First; How would I determine that? Second; Can I build a load bearing beam across the top without having to add an expensive, room taking column in the center?
I applaud your enthusiasm, Glori! Removing a wall, even a half-wall, can make an amazing difference in how open your space looks. Having said that, without seeing your setup, it’s impossible to say whether or not that stud you mentioned is load bearing. If you have access to the space above it, you can check to see if there are any joists resting on it. If there’s any doubt, you really need to get a structural engineer in to take a look at it and make sure. For a limited visit like that, it shouldn’t cost more than $100-200, depending on your local rates, and it can save you a LOT of money and headaches if you guess wrong.
If it does turn out to be load bearing, it’s generally possible to install a beam that will span the entire opening, without using a center column. Your engineer can help you there, too, by specifying the exact size of the beam you would need. Hope this helps, and good luck with your project!
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