Wall punch out – Professional load bearing wall removal

This will be a quick summary of our experiences for this wall removal that we had planned for quite some time.

As with many cookie cutter homes, this house’s wall placements did not really take advantage of its potential and the build quality was sometimes questionable. We however did see this as an opportunity to really open up the space between the kitchen to everywhere else. Our hope in doing this project was that in addition to looking great, it would add value to the home when it comes to selling it. Maybe even differentiate it from our neighbors.

So here it goes.

Quotations:

This is the time consuming part but is crucial as quality, pricing, and schedule all comes into play for choosing the right contractor.

Make sure the contractor is licensed and insured as home depot and retail store affiliated ones do not have the capacity for doing larger renovations that sometimes require engineers (PE). We received 3-4 quotes before choosing who we thought would do the best job and also shopped around for a PE to do some calculations. Some contractors are afraid to do a project or even give you a quote without any consult first with a PE, so preparing it ahead of time can help.

(One contractor had an attitude when he realized that we didn’t have a PE drawing of the project yet. He did not come back.)

To ensure you get the cheapest option for this, you will want to attempt doing as much of the project yourself.

This includes painting, repairs to cabinets, floor replacements, debris removal, and some electrical (light install in the next post – here) that you can DIY.

Professional engineers (PE):

These guys are the certified professional that can look at the structural integrity and necessity for major renovations, calculating loads and picking out materials to hold up your ceiling. Because they have their license on the line, they will more than likely do the job correctly.

(My guy missed a major beam in the drawing that the contractor picked up on, so…. not entirely sure how I should deal with it)

During the project –

Sitting and monitoring:

Although you can trust your contractor (especially those who are insured or someone you know), it is always better to be at your home during the first few days so that you can answer any questions regarding design. My contractor had several questions all throughout the process of tearing off the drywall, sizing the beam, support column locations after finding surprises, future backsplash plans, lighting plans, and outlet/switches movement that were necessary.

I think it also helps that I have a camera set up in the house for security and cat monitoring as far as being ok with people working on the house while being off at work.

(As soon as I set up additional cameras and have them on wifi for the nursery, I will post it)

Inevitably there will be lots of dust from working with drywall so you may want to put up some plastic sheets to create a barrier. I did not do this and the stuff ended up all over the living room, dining room, and in the open cabinet areas. There were several wipe downs necessary to clean things up.

Here are the following step by step pictures taken of the wall removal.

It is recommended to talk about the proper cutout size as it will impact whether you will have a too high/low bar area. The recommended height is approximately 40-42 in high.

Because we had outlets and switches that needed space, we had to utilize an approximately 43-1/2 in high top.

Temporary support in place as they install the new beam. Additional studs were placed on the inside to secure the beam. Beam material – 2×10 LVL (laminated veneer lumber)

You’ll see in the below picture the cutout in the ceiling where a stud was removed just below the ceiling height. After you do this, a replacement joist and 2×4 is needed to secure the drywall material onto.

The near corner column in the below picture was left as a beam sat on top of it. This was as much wall they could have taken out before needing a new column installed. We avoided this option as it would have added more cost in material, column thickness and other headaches.

Once all of the replacement wood was installed, electrical components re-routed, and everything leveled, the replacement dry wall went up. Note that the wire sticking out in the middle of the beam was placed back into the attic area so that it could be made into three pendant lights.

Corner bead and tape.

And finally, after several sessions of drywall mud and priming, it was all done! We discovered that the cabinet side had a blowout when the previous builders installed the cabinets. That will need to be patched before we paint it.

We certainly love the way it opened up our kitchen area! Next is going to be the counter top, pendant lights and paint.

 

If this has helped in any way for your next DIY project and knocking out a wall, please comment below. If you live in the Woodstock GA area, the contractor we used does business out of there. PM us and we’ll be happy to you forward you their information. We greatly appreciate your feedback and hope that it goes well for you too!

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