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What You Should Know Before Removing a Wall

Thankfully, most of the newer homes on the market have been designed with open living in mind, which means fewer walls and increased light.  However, whether your floorplan is a bit more closed off than you’d like or you’re looking to expand your surroundings, removing an interior wall is always a decent option.   On the surface, it’s a project that seems simple enough—especially with a sledgehammer and a healthy dose of excitement—but depending upon what’s inside the wall and the extent of its structural importance, removing it may turn out to be somewhat complex.

Therefore, before you make the decision to tackle it on your own, it’s important to think about the following considerations:

What is Your Goal? – If you follow my blogs, then you know that this is a question I ask on a fairly regular basis.  Plain and simple, before starting any remodeling project, it’s worth establishing what your ultimate goal is.  If you’re looking to increase your resale value, your end goal may be very different than if you are simply looking to make your surroundings a bit more comfortable.

With that being said, the goal of most wall removals is to connect rooms or to help better your home’s flow.  Doing this may allow you to increase your seating or counter space, and it may also improve your sight line into other rooms.

Is it Load Bearing? – Removing a wall from a one-story home is much easier than a two-story home since a structural engineer will be needed for the latter—regardless of whether the wall is load bearing or not.  Still, if you’re not a professional, it may be tricky to determine the importance of certain walls since some won’t look the part.

What About the Floor? – When removing a wall, it’s important to plan ahead since something will also need to be done to the floor, as well as the ceiling.  If you already have hardwood floors, it is worth considering the fact that it will be difficult to patch the area and make it blend in.  Carpet is generally an easier fix.

What’s in Your Walls? –  If the wall you are looking to remove contains any form of gas lines, wiring, or HVAC vents, you’ll need to work with professionals who can make sure that they get properly relocated.  You don’t want to get rid of your return vents, only to find out that the functioning of your entire system is impacted.

With that, if your home is older, it’s always wise to be prepared for the possibility of extra expenses since you never know when things like unused gas lines or faulty wiring will be found.

Who to Hire? – While this may vary depending upon what you need done, as well as the location of the wall, you might want to consider working with an architect who can design a new space that won’t completely change the character of your home.  In some instances, keeping portions of the wall may be a better bet than removing the whole thing, so their advice may go a long way towards improving the final project.

Still, depending upon which wall(s) you’d like to remove, a structural engineer may be required, as well as professionals to deal with any plumbing, HVAC, or electrical concerns.  In an effort to streamline this process, it’s worth utilizing the services of a general contractor who can complete your initial consultation, deal with any permit issues, and line up the necessary professionals to finish the work.

If you’d are considering a remodel or would simply like a consultation, please feel free to contact me for more information.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | www.CRESBuilders.com | 770-983-4698