Types of walls in a home
Simply put there are ‘load bearing walls’ and ‘non load bearing walls’. Load bearing walls serve a structural purpose in the construction of a home whereas a non load bearing wall simply serves as a partition between rooms. Regardless of the type of wall you’re removing, your local building department will require your contractor to pull a permit for the removal of a wall. This is to ensure that the wall being removed is done properly. As you might imagine, removing a load bearing wall incorrectly can cause major damage to the home or even cause the home to come crashing down.
The process for getting a permit to remove a wall is as follows:
- Consult with a licensed architect to determine the type of wall.
- Architect will create and submit the plans on how to remove the wall to the city for approval.
- Permit is granted by the city if plans meet the city’s criteria
Is it worth the money you will spend?
What does it mean to remove a wall? Removing a wall means you could potentially be altering the way a home stands up to gravity, wind, and earthquakes. Basically, all the forces that want to bring a home down.
The cost to remove a wall in the Bay Area will start at $10,000 and can work its way up to $100,000, if not more, if a load bearing wall is being removed and there is complex structural work that needs to be done to take its place. Remember that removing a wall will not necessarily add square footage to your home so if you’re looking for a return on your investment when you sell the home, you’re better off adding a bathroom, bedroom, or converting a garage into an ADU.
But if you’re considering a wall removal on your ‘forever home’ then you don’t care about resale value, you want your home to meet your needs. If this is the case and you want to remove that wall separating your kitchen and dining room to create an open concept space, then remove that dang wall! Spend your money on things that will improve your quality of life.
Will your roof have to be redone
If you’re removing or altering the walls along the perimeter of your home with the goal of adding more square footage, it is likely that your roof will need to be altered accordingly. You might be lucky and have the option to extend a gable end or build a roof that isn’t connected to the main roof frame, this will just depend on where the addition is going. Point being, work with your contractor and architect to come up with ways around redoing the roof. As it might sound, this is an expensive task. Our crew at Home Quality Remodeling can be quite creative when it comes to more cost effective structural work arounds.
Cheaper alternatives to removing walls
- Adding windows or sliding glass doors: though this option requires structural framing, it is a far simpler process than removing a wall entirely. This option will give you some of the open and spacious aspects of removing a wall without the expense and time of removing the wall. Our company offered 3D renderings of layouts so if you want to compare removing a wall versus adding a window, we can digitally create the space for you to see before making a decision. These 3D renderings will give you the information you need to confidently make this decision.
- Replacing a full wall with posts: A wall is meant to withstand vertical and horizontal forces (gravity, wind, earthquakes). If the wall you want removed is only meant to withstand vertical forces (gravity) you can replace the wall with posts sitting on an underground concrete pier. The benefit of this is you won’t have to alter the framing of your roof or 2nd floor since you’re replacing the function of a wall with a post. Posts can be finished to add a unique aesthetic quality to your home so definitely consider this!