Removing load bearing internal walls is one of the most cost-effective ways of redesigning your home and adding both additional space and aesthetic appeal.
For example, if you have a partition wall that separates your kitchen with the dining area, removing the separating wall can dramatically improve your layout.
However, any project involving indoor demolition poses several risks and hazards. In some cases, the internal wall may serve as a foundation structure, for example, a spinal ground floor wall or rear flank walls. Simply breaking a massive hole in these walls will be an unwise decision. Similarly, structural modifications are carried out incorrectly they are likely negatively affect your home’s market value.
Unless the layout alterations are well-planned and carefully executed, they are likely to incur more costs than reaping any benefits. Here are a few things you need to consider:
Don’t try this at home. Removing internal walls is not for the feint hearted. This is very dangerous task for the untrained and inexperienced. Take on the services of a suitably experienced building contractor to perform this type of task. If your interested in DIY, then visit our DIY tips and tricks page for common tasks that can be undertaken without too much hassle and experience.
2) Get some professional advice
Procure the services of a well-experienced structural engineer. This is the first essential step. If you cannot locate a suitable candidate, request contact details from your local building contractor. They will most likely have the correct contacts with engineers they have worked with in the past.
3) Obtain Local Authority Building Regualtions approval
Before you consider any alterations or improvements, it is best to fill out and submit a Building Regulations application with your Local Authority office. The Building Control officer will act as an independent third party in between your structural engineer, yourself and your building contractor. The Building control officer will inspects of the work and potentially work through any issues on your behalf with the building contractor carrying out the work.
4) Identify Load Bearing walls
There are some internal walls that help maintain the overall structure of your home. Others are simply there to divide up your interior space and can be safely removed, without damaging the super structure.
Depending upon the age of your property and its location, the internal walls may be constructed using lightweight timber, metal frames or solid masonry (brick or block). To check whether the wall supports your structure or not, here are a few things you need to consider:
Roof Type: In old, pre-1970 houses, most of the inner walls are supporting your roof. However, modern W-shaped roofs with trusses do not require any internal support.
Floor: Your floor barely runs for four meters without any support from an internal beam of wall. Be on a lookout for nails in your floorboards for signs of supporting walls below ground.
Loadings: Your ground floor walls typically extend all the way up to your bedrooms. In some cases, the upstairs walls are supported by ground floor walls directly below.
Most of the building contractors term internal wall demolition projects as “knock-throughs”. A typical knock-through project may include anything – from cutting a new door opening to removing an entire wall.
It is always best to get the right contractor for your job, according to the nature of the work involved. We recommend working with referred contractors from friends and family as a start. Alternatively make contact through trusted tradesmen sites that supply your local area.
A word to the wise. Please, don’t drive down to B&Q and pick up a few guys from the car park with hard boots and dusty trousers and be fooled that you have carried out sufficient due diligence to allow this type contractor to be carry engineering work on your home.
See our Video Page for more information on removing internal load bearing walls.
Hope this information was helpful.
The Diligent Team.
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