Can I Knock Down a Load Bearing Walll?

Can I Knock Down This Wall In My House?

So you have a cramped dark room or maybe the the flow of the house isn't really conducive to modern day standards. Can you knock this wall down to open up the space?

Or will the second floor above you collapse on top of you after you remove the last section?  

No one wants to live in a dark cramped house with poor natural light, awkward transitions, and rooms that make you claustrophobic. Especially older homes in Vermont you tend to find these type of spaces listed above.

The solution besides bulldozing the whole place and starting from scratch is to remove a wall and totally change the feel of the space. It can make it feel like a totally different home which you will enjoy even more.

Time to call in the pros 

Can I Knock Down This Wall In My House?

Before you pick up a hammer and start swinging you do want to have a very good idea if that wall is carrying the floor above you. 

If you aren't sure contact a structural engineer to take a look and write up a plan that will easily hold everything where you want it so you can sleep safe and sound in the evening. 

The easiest way to check if the wall if load bearing is to see if the wall is running perpendicular to the floor or ceiling joists. It isn't always a guarantee but more often than not you can have a very good idea if this is going to need a structural engineer or not. If they run parallel then most likely you are good to go. If not then call in someone who can check it out for you.   

There are exceptions to the rule of course like most things in life but they aren't that common such as a point load. A point load would be several studs side by side to carry lots of weight instead of an even distribution across the wall. The last time I ran into that there was a massive jacuzzi tub directly above the space we were working in. 

So the next time you see an unpleasant wall that is in your way and you want to bust out the sledge hammer like they do on HGTV ask yourself... Can I Knock Down This Wall In My House?

About the author 

Bill Wockenfuss

Bill is a Remodeling and General Contractor located in Colchester VT Serving the Greater Burlington Vermont Area 

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