Trying to Move Walls for an Open Concept Space? Here’s What You Need to KnowJune 22nd, 2021 | by Elizabeth | Posted in coming home, construction, kitchens
It never fails, most clients who call us in to work on their kitchens or living spaces want an open concept space, and I get it! Who wants to be stuck at the stove while family or guests are having a grand ol’ time in the living room? Y’all want to be right there in the action!
However, not every wall will come down without a fuss. Some are *shudder* load-bearing, which means they are holding that roof over your head. I think we can all agree that the roof’s important. 😉
If y’all are reading this, then you probably know that your first step isn’t to grab your lucky sledgehammer and start taking a whack at the wall. (Please NEVER, ever do this — you could cause a ton of expensive damage!)
If you’re eager to move walls, here’s what to know and do first…
1. Hire a Design/GC team
The best thing you can do before taking that wall down is to hire a designer/GC. Removing a wall, especially if you have to support the load somewhere else, is pricey. In many cases, your new and incredible lifestyle is well worth the expense, but there could also be other options you may not have considered.
Reconfiguring the floor plan, removing a different wall, borrowing space from another room… you never know which alternative solutions could give you nearly the same result. I’ve been designing and constructing homes for 20 years, and I can tell you, there are plenty of creative solutions!
That said, if you’re gung-ho about removing the wall and you’re okay with the expense, we can certainly give it the boot! Which leads us to…
2. Bring in a structural engineer
I have my trusted structural engineer on speed-dial! (JK, but remember the days??) In all seriousness, whenever we’re working on a project that may include moving a wall, our engineer is my first call. He tells us how much of the load the wall is carrying, gives us some options, and tells us where we’ll need to incorporate support if we move it.
For example, if you remember in our 1970s Ranch Remodel, our client, Mrs. C, was eager to remove THIS wall between the entryway and the living room…
Guilty as charged… of blocking the view!
When our structural engineer assessed the wall, he said it was load-bearing and that structural work would need to be done in the basement in order to support the roof. However, he also said that we could safely remove just half of the wall and not need to do any structural work in the basement.
This would be a significantly cheaper expense and could still create that open concept feeling! So, we now have two options…
Option A: Remove the Whole Wall
I love it when our clients have options, and Mrs. C decided to go with Option A, kicking that wall to the curb! To her, removing the wall was a long-time dream and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Y’all know I support that!
And it made quite a difference…
New entryway with wall removed.
New view from the front door… beautiful and the roof is staying put! Lol.
Option B: Remove Half of the Wall
For the wall that was between the living room and kitchen, we only needed to remove part of it to create the open concept feel that Mrs. C wanted.
Now, there’s a great view between spaces, but they feel just separate enough to be different rooms. Taking that a step further, below is another example of what’s possible…
Clear view from the kitchen to the family room. Admittedly, we were not involved in removing this wall. It had already been done when we got there. But it is a perfect example of a project where a half-wall is a great solution. It’s from our Kitchen Remodel in Mt. Juliet… in case you haven’t seen this spectacular kitchen yet. 😉
3. Make It Happen
Once we have a decision and the green light on safety, it’s time to make the magic happen. This usually involves bringing in another form of support, either an LVL beam or a steel beam, and installing it before bringing the wall down. We also have to account for electrical wiring and reroute it as necessary.
Here’s a cool clip of this process in action… that thing is heavy!!
So, what do you think? Do you have a wall that’s no longer welcome? Is it singing “should I stay or should I go?” If so, we can help. Book a Discovery Call with me here and let’s chat about your project.