Removing a load bearing wall is a complex task, which should not be confused with removing a non-load bearing interior wall. Load bearing walls are important structural elements of your home, while non-load bearing walls are not.
Unlike removing a non-load bearing wall, when you plan to remove a load bearing wall, you are at the risk of affecting the structural integrity of your home. Considering the implications of the task, here are a few facts that you just cannot ignore.
You Are Legally Allowed to Do It, butRemember to Get a Permit
The first and most important fact about removing a load bearing wall is that the law allows you to do it. But, an interesting point in this regard is that you should get a permit from your local municipality. You can apply for the building permit from the local municipality, as you fall under the category of those doing a renovation on their home. It is your responsibility to adhere to the building code and follow all restrictions that are in place. Moreover, you should also keep into view the fact that all municipalities act differently, so you should consult a member of the local municipality beforehand.
What You Remove, Should be Replaced
The most important thing to take into consideration while removing a load bearing wall is that whatever you remove, must be replaced. If you plan to take something out, do remember to replace it. To understand the concept behind this, you can take the example of windows within your home. The role assigned to walls is to hold the structure of your house, which is why cutting a hole for a window can compromise this role. But window headers, that are also known as small beams, serve as a means to replace the role of the removed portion.
Similarly, when you remove a load bearing wall yourself or through a contractor, you should keep in mind to replace in with any one of the following:
Beam Only: Any horizontal beam of a feasible size would suffice.
Beam with a Post: You can also opt for horizontal beams that are augmented with the strength of dual vertical posts.
Beam Sizing is Difficult
Once you are done with removing the wall, you should go towards finding an appropriate size for the replacement beam, to avoid any complexities later on. Beam sizing might sound easy to the amateur, but it really is not. The inclusion of important factors like the height of the structure, the dead weight and the number of stories in the structure makes the process hard to manage.
Get Help While Installing
Once you have sized the beam correctly, you should move towards the process of installation. Installation requires a lot of physical labor, so do get the help of a contractor. The installation process may not take that long, so once you are done with sizing, you will have the project completed within a couple of days.