Do you have a wall in your home that just doesn't seem to go with the flow of the house, or it seems out of place, or maybe you just don't want it there? If so, you have probably thought about removing it to open up the space or ,subs you're hold the sledge hammer in your hand as you're reading this making sure you've gone through the proper steps before that first swing. Removing a wall in a home is common practice in older homes and in many cases it is definitely worth doing to open up your space and create the look and feel your home deserves.
As much as you may just want to take that sledge hammer or saw and start smashing or cutting that wall down, there are some things to consider before removing a wall. There could be things in the wall that could cause you some grief if they aren't addressed before hand. There could also be a structural reason that wall is in place and if you take it out, well then, no more house. Just a pile of rubble.
Some things to consider when removing a wall are as follows:
Does the wall hold any electrical? This one is pretty straight forward and in most cases, you can identify if electrical is present with the simple eyeball test. Are there any outlets on either side of the wall you want to remove? If so, then there is electrical that is in the wall that would need to be terminated before removing the wall itself. A way to double check if there are no outlets, or maybe there is one that is close by, is to go into the attic, find where the wall is you want to remove, and see if there is any cabling that goes into the header of the wall. In some cases, electrical may enter a wall through the header and then pull through several stud bays before being connected to an outlet.
Does the wall have any plumbing? Similar to the electrical situation. Is there any plumbing that goes through the wall to a nearby faucet or fixture? The last thing you want is to start cutting through the wall and hit a water line and have water spraying everywhere that you can't shut off immediately. This can cause severe water damage and frustration having to worry about cleaning it up. Not to mention the potential costs in damages.
Is the wall load bearing? In our experience, it is 50/50 on if people ask this question or not, or even know to ask this question. A load bearing wall is just that; it bears the load of all or part of your house. Sometimes there may be a wall in your house that doesn't look like it serves any purpose to the layout of the home but structurally the wall is integral to the home not caving in on itself. The problem with this question is that in many cases, to the average homeowner, it is difficult to identify if a wall is load bearing. If you are unsure, it is safest to contact your contractor or an engineer to determine if the wall is load bearing. These individuals are trained to be able to identify load bearing walls and know how to address the situation. If you're wall is found to be load bearing, the ceiling ,it's be reinforced properly before the wallvcan be removed to ensure that the roof doesn't come falling down on you at some point.
Does your drywall contain asbestos? This is one that can almost never be done with a simple eyeball test. Asbestos is very toxic when the dust is floating around and we breath it in. The good news is that if your home was built after July 12, 1989, it is safe to assume that your home does not have asbestos in it. The reason for this being that the EPA outlawed asbestos from being used in residential building projects on that date. If your home was built before that date however, you will most likely want to look into getting the wall tested for asbestos. There are two for sure ways you can get your walls tested for asbestos without having to worry. The first being to have your local asbestos remediation company come out and do a test for you. The process is fairly simple and usually not very invasive. The second way is to use a do-it-yourself test in which you would take a sample of your drywall and ship it the company listed on the packaging where they would do a test and send you the results. This option is usually the kore affordable option but requires much more time. Usually several weeks. Having the asbestos remediation company is usually much quicker but can be more expensive. Before diving headfirst into the wall removal process, double check to make sure your walls don't contain asbestos to ensure you don't compromise your health.
Are your walls painted with lead based paint? Another one that can't be done with a simple eyeball test but definitely worth looking into. The issue with lead based paint is that if one wall in your home has it, chances are, they all do. While it's not the end of the world, lead based paint can also pose risks to your health and it would be worth getting the situation handled. Lead based paint doesn't specifically mean you can't remove the wall but handling lead based paint isn't ideal. Lead based paint is becoming increasingly less common as it was outlawed in 1978 for residential use. The best way to tell if your home has lead based paint is to contact your local certified lead based paint inspector or risk assessor. They can run some tests and get you an answer quickly.
After you have taken these steps, you should be ready to remove your wall! While every home is different and there may be other items to consider for your specific circumstance, these are the most common situations we run into when we are called into a clients' home. While most of these can be done on your own, it is recommended that you contact a contractor in your area and have them coordinate the process for you to ensure the process goes as safely and as smoothly as possible.
If you are in the Northern Nevada, Reno, Sparks, or Incline Village areas and you are interested in removing a wall in your home, visit our website today to learn more about how our team of experts here at Paramount Craftsman Services can help you remove an unwanted wall in your home and really open up the space for you. Visit our website by clicking here!