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Question DetailsAsked on 11/6/2017

Need to remove a 12ft load bearing wall between kitchen & living room. What is ballpark cost?

Would it be more attractive to leave it open beamed or make the opening arched? This a a very small house with low ceilings.

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2 Answers


Attractiveness is an aesthetic thing - depends on your personal preference and on the architectural of the house. If the rest of the house has arches (like Mediterranean or Spanish/Mission/North African then probably that, though if going to be a pass-through (like commonly done betwen kitchen and dining room) then arches are commonly used for that in other house too. If there is exposed wood elsewhere in that part of the house then exposed beam would commonly be the choice, while in a "plain-Jane" drywalled house or interior stucco then a concealed beam with matching stucco or drywall wall surfacing would be common. Generally, a stand-alone exposed beam without similar color wood features nearby looks a bit odd, especially if the ends do not abut walls. And of course an exposed steel beam only fits in with some modern, Frank Lloyd Wright and ultra-modern houses, or if opposed to a metal-framed glass outside curtain wall.

With low ceilings, unless arched doorways are the norm in the house or unless a header display case or such is planned over the opening (if headroom allows) the smallest possible support would normally be chosen to maximize headroom. So in that case, especially if this is to be a full-width opening across the kitchen (as it sounds like) arches would normally not be used because in a low-ceiling situation a good portion of the opening width would be a head-knocker - though it is possible to do very broad arches in many cases if desired..

You will almost certainly need a structural design with plan to get a building permit for this removal and for bidders to bid to and the successful contractor to build to, so if looking for appearance/ input I would go with an Architect firm (your Search the List category) rather than only a Structural Engineer to do the needed structural analysis and design. They can also give you input and sketches (or these days more commonly computer simulation) to show you what it will look like before you make your decision.

Cost - depends on the load being supported and the underlying support requirements to support the side columns carrying the displaced load, but commonly in the couple to few thousand $ range for that length, including drywalling/stucco and painting repairs and construction of any beam concealing boxout. Can run into the several to five thousand range in difficult load-transfer cases or where there are already overlying supporting columns carrying loads down from an overhead opening which fall into the new opening space. And in buildings over 2-3 stories high or with some cast concrete or solid brick or steel framed houses even more than that. Sometimes substantially so in rare cases, like where that load-bearing wall is the primary support for much of the building as in some modern open floorplan houses where the central load-bearing walls carry 1/2 or sometimes even 3/4 of the building and roof load weight.

Remodeling - General Contractor would be your Search the List category to find well-rated and reviewed contractor for this type of work.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD


Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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