Expert Guide How To Remove
Structural Load Bearing Walls
Expert Load bearing walls removal involves meticulous undertaking and can be replaced with structural wall support beams.
Our structural engineers use all the important requirements and specifications that are permitted at a reasonable cost to you.
Properly remove and replace load bearing walls with the help of a structural engineer
If you are in the middle of or starting a home remodelling project, the thought of your entire house being held up by load bearing walls may strike terror and send you running far away from ever digging into completing your desired redesign.
Houses and other buildings are designed with two types of walls: a load bearing wall and partition walls, also called a removable wall. To make the scenario even more frightening is knowing that if you remove a load bearing wall incorrectly, chances are your house is not going to immediately come tumbling down. The results may actually be worse. Since the structural integrity has been compromised by taking away its supports without properly adding a new load-bearing beam to hold the weight that the load bearing wall once provided, the house will most likely begin to sink and sag and slowly begin to collapse over time while you and your family are inside. Avoid this costly and dangerous disaster by properly removing the structural load bearing wall and replacing it with a structural beam.
Expert removal involves carefully and properly removing the walls and then replacing it with a structural wall support beam. Your best first step is to consult with a knowledgeable and affordable structural engineer whose expertise will give you the confidence and peace of mind that your house or other building will remain strongly supported after the wall has been removed.
Choose the right support beam
Unlike an inside removable wall, load bearing walls help to support the weight of the structure. After the load bearing wall is no longer supporting the weight of the structure, you will need to have a plan in place ready to immediately replace the wall with a load-bearing beam, sometimes also called a structural beam or a support beam.
There are several options with terms like “simply supported”, “fixed”, “overhanging”, “double overhanging”, “continuous”, “cantilever”, or “trussed”.
However, there are two basic ways to offer support to your house or other structure after the load bearing walls has been removed. Use a beam with vertical posts, sometimes called columns. Or, use a support beam alone. Whichever you choose, the new structural beam will need to adequately withhold the weight that was originally put on the load bearing wall that was removed.
Another consideration is what material to use, usually choosing between wood or installing steel beams.
Pros and cons of using wood support beams
One main pro to using wood is that the cost is much more affordable. Wood is also durable yet versatile.
A wood beam can be constructed to fit any architectural design and is able to be stained or painted to match the home’s or building’s décor. Whatever type of wood you choose, you must make sure that it has been cured or engineered, since green wood will probably warp.
A possible con to using wood beams would be that wood has a tendency to split and is susceptible to termites or rotting. If this happens to the support beam, it will weaken the structure of the building.
Depending on the design of the wood beam, it will most likely require at least two people to lift it. It can be so heavy that it sometimes requires special equipment to set into place.
Pros and cons of using steel support beams
Probably the main pro to using steel is the strength that steel provides.
While wood is certainly sturdy and able to carry heavy loads, comparatively steel is quite a bit stronger than its wood counterpart option. With this added strength, steel beams require less vertical supports and offer longer spans of open space below. While pests like termites aren’t going to be an issue with a steel beam, water may damage it with rust. Though, you can take preventative measures against water damage by treating the steel with a metal primer and water-resistant paint or have the beam galvanized.
The main con to using a steel beam would be if you want to fasten something to it with a bolt or nail. Unlike wood, steel is going to make drilling into it more challenging. Steel beams are also heavy and often requires special equipment to lift into place.
Ask a structural engineer
Whether you want to simply open up your living space or maybe add a bi-fold door in place of the load-bearing wall, when it comes to making major structural changes to a building and tallying the total project expenses, one of the wisest investments is to consult a cost of structural engineer for load bearing walls before you begin the project.
This expert will know the tricks of determining whether a wall is a load bearing wall or a removable wall. The knowledgeable engineer will also be able to recommend what type of support beam, also called structural beam, will work best for your situation while weighing the total load bearing wall beam expense to determine the most cost-effective and long-lasting solution.
A structural engineer will be able to assess both interior and exterior load bearing wall removal projects. This skilled and knowledgeable professional will also understand the load bearing wall removal building regulations in your area.
Out of the four external walls, at least two of them are probably going to bear the load of the building structure.
A structural engineer will be able to tell you if these two walls are the front and back walls or the side walls and guide you through any exterior load bearing wall removal that is needed. Either way, the two exterior load bearing walls are going to run parallel to each other.
To determine whether or not an interior wall is load bearing, the structural engineer will look for walls that run parallel to the peak of the roof, as this wall is probably vitally important to upholding the structure.
The next step will most likely be to notice if the building is more than one story. If so, the engineer will look for what is called Platform framing, which means the load bearing walls will be stacked on top of each other from floor level to floor level.
Finally, the engineer will probably peel back the drywall to look to see what kind of material makes up the wall frame. Is it reinforced with steel bars or concrete? Chances are, it is a bearing the weight of the structure. As you can see, the structural engineer adds valuable knowledge and skill that is worth the cost.