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Question DetailsAsked on 5/14/2016

When removing part of a load bearing wall do they remove the wall down to counter height then build it up to counte

I want to put in a peninsula in a kitchen load bearing wall. Do the contractors usually cut the wall out completely to the floor and then build it back up to counter height, or can they cut the opening at the desired counter height. If they have to cut it down first I am considering just leaving the 10 feet opening for walking access.

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1 Answer


Depends a lot on several things:

1) contractor preferences - during a remodel some prefer to tear down to bare bones and then rebuild with all new which normally speeds things up, others (especially one-man outfits and Handymen) tend to modify what is there if feasible to reduce the amount of demolition and disposal work.

2) "depth" of the peninsula and how it will be supported - commonly a 2x4 wall is taken out and replaced with a 2x8, 2x10, or 2x12 stub halfwall to support a peninsula if it is not getting cabinets under it - a 2x4 wall is a poor choice to support a peninsula unless quite shallow in "depth" - will tend to rock and teeter unless you use really hefty support brackets, and can tilt and even tear loose if someone leans a fair amount of weight on the edge or hops up onto it, as an amazing percentagea of people will do when leaning against it and talking - all of a sudden a little jump up and they are sitting on the countertop, and it normally does not have to be cousin "Big Bubba" to cause it to tilt and fail (or just break up). Ditto if getting something real heavy on it like an aquarium.

3) type of countertop material going on the peninsula - a thin stone requires a lot better support than say a formica, so with a heavy or brittle countertop material you may have no choice but to widen the supporting members or halfwall.

4) whether flooring is being replaced as part of the job - if not, then commonly an attempt would be made to reuse the wall as-is, or maybe thicken it up with wider studs next to the existing ones or to totally replace with a thicker wall with one face at same location if needed for support of the peninsula, to avoid leaving a gap in the existing flooring where the wall is now.

5) whether cabinets or open shelving or such are going in under the peninsula - the common case unless it is left open underneath for kickspace, as in a breakfast bar - in which case if not fairly "deep" commonly it is only supported at the ends with no wall under it at all, to provide leg swing room. Of course, if cabinets are going underneath, the wall almost always comes out because the cabinets are genearally made as deep as will be compatible with the use of the peninsula - or double-faced for entry from both sides. I would say the cabinet-under situation is by far the norm - so the entire existing wall comes out in that case.

Of course, you can talk about this with potential bidders - but the cost differential between the two options is probably going to be in the couple to low few hundreds of $ - not a major cost difference. I woudl decide whether you want the peninsula or not - because there is negligable difference in cost between cutting it down half way or all the way to the floor, though bear in mind total tearout AND leaving wide open at any point underneath then brings in the issue of a gap in the existing flooring, if not replacing that.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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