How to Remove a Load-Bearing Wall

Recently, we removed a load-bearing wall for a kitchen remodel we are completing. We get numerous inquiries from potential clients asking us about the process and cost to remove a load-bearing wall.

In certain cases, the cost can give some clients a bit of sticker shock. In this blog we will break down the basics of removing a load-bearing wall.

Steps for Removing a Load-Bearing Wall

    • To remove a load-bearing wall, you will need to have a structural engineer review your home, calculate loads, and draw a plan.
    • The engineer will specify what needs to be used as a beam to carry the loads, go over framing specifics, identify additional footings that may be needed, and where core filling exterior block walls will be necessary.
    • A permit will need to be obtained from your perspective city for the removal of a load-bearing wall.
    • Remove any base trim or other millwork on the wall that needs to be removed.
      • This millwork can be saved and used again.
      • Below, we will get into the dealing with the specific things that could be hiding inside the wall. To be safe, you should remove any drywall from both sides of the wall before beginning work on what’s inside.
      • Almost always, there will be some sort of electrical running inside the wall that needs to be removed. This electrical work can include outlets, switches, and wiring for lights. Before removing the framing, the electrical needs to be removed.
      • Beware: before removing any wiring you should double check that the wiring is not used as a power source for other items in your home.
    • HVAC
      • Just the same as electrical, any supply lines or return lines for heat or a/c need to be removed.
      • Supply and return lines can be hidden in the wall and used for rooms on levels above or below the wall that is being removed.
        • Even though you might not have a register cover on the wall being removed, there may still be duct work in the wall.
      • PLUMBING
        • You might have plumbing lines such as water lines, drain lines, or vent lines that will need to be removed.
      • FRAMING
        • Temporary framing will be needed on both sides of the walls being removed. This framing will temporarily carry the load that the wall is carrying.
          • This load will be a roof load, and flooring load if there another story above the wall.
          • If you are removing a wall on your main floor and you have a second story home, temporary walls may be needed on the main floor and the second floor.
        • With temporary framing and demolition complete, it is time to remove the framing of the load-bearing wall and complete the framing as per the engineering specifications.
        • Materials used for beams are virtually unlimited.
          • We commonly use LVL’s (Laminated Veneer Lumber), or steel beams.
        • To carry the load of the beam, you will need to install posts.
          • These posts can be 2×4’s, 2×6’s, or PSL’s, Parallel Strand Lumber.
        • Your engineering plans will be specific enough to specify beam type, post type, and framing details.
      • FLOORING
        • Unless your load-bearing wall was added after the flooring was installed, you will not have (or most likely will not have) flooring under the wall.
        • Now that wall is removed, and framing is complete it is time to install new millwork, or the millwork removed during the demolition phase.

This blog post just scratches the surface of the details that must be covered when removing a load-bearing wall. We tell our clients that the cost just to remove the wall starts around $5,000.00. Additional costs can be incurred for engineering, mechanicals, disposal, permits, etc.

Engineering usually costs around $2,000.00. There may be additional cost for any necessary electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.

Each project varies depending on the scope of work required, but the above is a good starting point.

As a design and build company, we complete interior remodels such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basement finishing. Usually, it is during our kitchen remodels that most load-bearing walls are removed.

In the end, the cost to remove a load-bearing wall is worth it. It can provide a great deal of dramatic effect, and open up your home. Give Excel Builders a call at 612.306.4064 to complete your design and remodeling needs.