Walls: Which Can I remove?

Dreaming of an open concept kitchen or a larger bathroom? Wall removal may (or may not) be the answer.

Benefits of Wall Removal

Dark rooms, cramped spaces and awkward floor plans are just a few of the reasons you may be considering knocking down a wall (or two).  For many, removing a wall could be the difference between falling in love with your home again or hanging the for sale sign.  Often times, removing walls could help you achieve your desired outcomes and have that space you’ve been imagining.  Outside of the more obvious perks – more space and a smoother interior flow – knocking down a wall often allows for more natural light, improved aesthetics, the appearance of more space, and an updated, more modern feel. Whether you are looking to entertain or free up space in your bathroom, wall removal is an avenue worth exploring. 

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Small Bathroom
Wall Completely Torn Down to Enlarge Bathroom
Wall Rebuilt from Scratch (Plumbing and Electrical Moved)
New Bathroom Size
Finished Bathroom
Finished Bathroom

HGTV has made wall removal look easy, fun, and quick but… is that reality? Before you get your sledgehammer out and start smashing walls, consider what steps need to be taken first. 

First and foremost, is this a load bearing wall? A load bearing wall essentially acts as large support, spreading the weight of the roof through each floor of your home and finally to your foundation. By removing a load bearing wall, you are disrupting that balance of weight and creating safety hazards in your home. In order for your home to be structurally sound, weight needs to be balanced and load bearing walls are pivotal to this process. 

How can you tell if a wall is load bearing?  The most common way to tell is to look at whether or not the wall you’d like removed runs perpendicular to your ceiling joists and your floor joists. If the wall in question runs perpendicular, there is a good chance that it’s a load bearing wall.  If the wall is parallel, it often times is one that could be removed.  With something as large as wall removal, we encourage you to bring in a professional.  

Great! You’ve determined the wall is not imperative to the overall stability and structure of your home. There are still a few other items to consider before removal including:

  • Does it hide wiring, hvac, and/or plumbing?
  • Is it helping with noise reduction?
  • Would a permit be necessary?
 

What happens if it is load bearing? Don’t be discouraged, there are many avenues that can be taken to ensure you still achieve your desired outcome in your home. Some possibilities include structural beams or posts.  Designing and creating the space you envision can still be achieved with the help of a professional.

Outside of Wall Removal: Archways and Doorway Redesign

At times the layout, look and feel of a home can be improved without the need of a total wall removal. Perhaps it is a doorway that be be redesigned or an archway that can be removed to combine two clunky spaces into one large, beautiful and useable space. Our clients dreamed of a larger more bright kitchen, with the removal of this archway (and window), we were able to achieve this goal for them. However, it wasn’t as easy as tearing it out. We did have to add additional support to the ceiling joists to support the large span and thus weight of the ceiling here… again, if you have to ask “…is this going to be okay to do”, then you should probably call in a professional!

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Pre: Small Unused Space
IMG_9389 2
During Demo
Post: Larger Kitchen with Ample Storage

If redesigning the flow or layout of your home is in your future, the Rust & Sawdust team is equipped and ready to help. Check out our process to see how to start creating the space you want. From determining which walls can be removed to designing your dream space, then bringing that dream to reality, we are here for you.