When redeveloping a property, removing internal walls can open up your rooms, providing you with more space. However, removing a wall isn’t as easy as just knocking it down. First, you need to find out if the wall is load bearing. A simple partition wall can be knocked down with no effect on the structure of your home. They are purely cosmetic and do nothing except divide two rooms.
A load bearing wall is different. Supporting the weight of whatever is above it, a load bearing wall must be replaced by a beam if it is removed.
To find out if your wall is load bearing or not, do not believe myths such as “if you tap the wall and it sounds hollow, then it isn’t load bearing”. Some walls are semi-load bearing and may have hollow spots within them. Hire a competent structural engineer to fully assess your redevelopment plans. The last thing you want is to compromise the structure of your home through bad planning.
If the engineers’ report does discover that the wall you intend to remove is loadbearing, this is not the end of the world. Replacing a wall with a support beam is a relatively simple job that can be done in a day or less.
When removing a load bearing wall, the first thing to do is get all plumbing and electrics removed. This will most likely require the help of a trained professional. It is worth remembering that you could need to get planning permission for any work you are about to undertake. This depends entirely on your local council and the rules they have in place.
When fitting your beam it is important that the beam rests either on another support beam or upon a foundation. This will make sure your beam is supporting the weight above it that the wall was previously supporting.
Removing a wall from your home seems like a large task, but with a little technical knowhow it isn’t all that difficult. Just make sure that before you undertake any work, you plan properly and get advice from trained professionals.
This piece was written by Mark Enright, a writer for http://www.subconlaser.co.uk Subcon Laser Cutting, leading UK based subcontract manufacturing service provider.