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Question DetailsAsked on 9/1/2014

What kind of professional do I need to remove a load baring wall? And how do I know if the price is good?

I want to create an open concept kitchen removing the wall between my kitchen and dinning room (it's an 8 footwall, then a 3 foot opening). The house is one story with a crawl space underneath and I can get into the attic very easily.

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3 Answers

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You may need a engineer's seal man approved plans, if in our area that would be required. After that, you could get a bulding permt and sub the work to a framing contractor, or just use a general contractor. All depends on your location,and your choice.



Are you sure it's a load bearing wall? Homes with engineered trusses, do not have load bearing interior walls.

Source: www.bayareacool.com

Answered 4 years ago by BayAreaAC

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If you hire a good carpentry contractor with experience most know what size beams are required when removing a wall such as yours. As your home is just a single story home it should not require that large a beam to carry just a ceiling load but hopefully they will go a bit larger just to insure for the added weight of items that may be stored up there.

I have done many jobs like this and aside from the drywall finishing it generally is a one day job for a carpenter and a helper. A temporary wall will have to be built on each side and a section of ceiling cut out to slip a beam in place. Hopefully they will hang plastic on the temp walls to contain the dust and speaking of dust if the house was built before 1978 your should check for lead paint if there any children under 6 years old living there or visiting often.


Don

Answered 4 years ago by ContractorDon

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On the comment about engineered trusses - it is actually fairly common for engineered trusses to have load-bearing walls mid-span. In fact, many supposedly non-load bearing walls under joists and trusses of various types are actually lead-bearing if they make contact with the overlying trusses under their maximum load, even if not intended to be. That is one reason so many second-stories have floor sag issues - because the non-load bearing walls between back to back bathrooms or bedrooms or hall walls pick up load from the roof trusses, but because they are not "load bearing" in design, were not designed with a wall under them to carry the trusss load to, causing floor beam sag and even failure. I have worked a large number of serious sag and beam/joist failures from this cause.



ALWAYS assume that any wall that has overlying trusses or beams touching it is load bearing.



On the opening up issue - there are several more links to the same type question, with responses, right below these responses, so don't miss them.



It may not be quite as simple as previous response indicates - because you are over a crawlspace, in all probability, unless you are over a cripple wall, new support piers and columns are going to have to be put in to carry the load from the new beam.



Also, under IRC you must have an engineer (civil or structural or in some jurisdictions an architect) design the beam and supports - not a contractor, and while a good contractor might do it right, I certainly would not count on that.


Not to bad-mouth contractors in general (though there are some flightly and also some very inexperienced ones out there) as most do make a serious efforts to do it right, but the consequences of not using a professional designer for structural changes are something I have gotten a fair amount of work out of over the years, but it breaks my heart to see homes partially collapsed because someone failed to take into account all the load factors or other conditions that make the difference between a scab job and a proper supporting structure. The problem you have is that unless you have a long relationship with your contractor, you really have no idea what training or experience he has, or whether he has any competence in selecting structural members or just does every thing by code tables which may or may not apply in your specific case. Of course, if your house sees significant snow loads then the consequences and potential for overloading are even greater.


The way you know the price is good is getting competing bids for the identical scope of work - which means you (or your architect usually) prepare a scope of work and plans/specs showing exactly what is to be done and with what specific type/grade of materials and finishes.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD




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