Replacing a Load-Bearing Wall with a Structural Beam

Replacing a Load-Bearing Wall With a Structural Beam
Help for Homeowners

 

Do you feel some of your rooms are a bit too cramped up? Or do you feel the same about your home as a whole as well? If so, then you have considered knocking down a wall or two to join multiple rooms to create a big one at least once in a while. So here is all you need to know about bringing down those walls:

 

  • Are you allowed to do it yourself? Technically, YES. You don’t need to hire someone to break a wall in your home and you can do it yourself if you think you can. But remember, bringing down a load bearing wall can compromise your building’s structural integrity to such an extent that you may end up under the rubble if you don’t know the technicalities. So it is always wise to hire a certified local bricklayer to do it for you.

 

  • You have to inform local authorities: Local permitting agencies need to be informed when you are making a change at home that can compromise its structural integrity.

 

  • It is not a one person job: You need to have at least two certified bricklayers working at the same time to get the work done properly. It isn’t a one day job as well. Bringing down a wall and then giving it a perfect finish takes a few days.

 

  • Support the roof: It is important to keep in mind that a load bearing wall can’t be replaced with a void even at the time of working. The wall supported a huge portion of your home until you brought it down and the same huge portion can fall once you removed the wall. For providing support, one can use horizontal beams of sufficient size alone or use a few vertical posts along with horizontal beams to augment their stability.

 

Steps to bring down a wall:

  1. Switch off the main electric circuit in your home. Remove all sockets and baseboards on either side of a drywall. Remove all the wires and ensure that no wire is left open. Secure their head ends are capped with insulating tapes.
  2. Take down one side at a time. Hit the wall hard on one side and simply take out chunks of drywall out each time you do so. Try to take out large chunks of the wall every time so that your work is less messy to clean up later.
  3. Build a temporary wall: Cut a 1ft x 1ft slot in the ceiling, take out all the electrical wires from it and then build a temporary wall with wooden beams.
  4. Take down the rest of the wall and pull out overhanging nails. Remove all nails that hold the backer stud.
  5. Install horizontal Beams (may add a few vertical posts). Screw the beam cradles to the tie plate and the floor with 3inch screws.
  6. Remove the temporary wall once the beams are in place and you’ve driven shims between support studs and bottom of the beams and installed trimmers between the beam ends.

Hiring a bricklayerto do the certified masonry work ensures perfect finish without a glitch. Plus it saves you a lot of time too. So it is always wise to get a professional to help you out with bringing down a wall at home.

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