Profile picture for Mindy.amato

I have a wall between my kitchen and dining room that I would like take down.

I would like to open up the house a bit more, and by taking this wall down, it would do it.  Do you think this is a big job?  Is there anything besides wiring that I have to be careful about?  How do I know if this is a major support wall?
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June 24 2009 - Easton
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Answers (9)

Your biggest worry is if it is a supporting wall and if any mechanical systems or plumbing run through the wall. The electrical work is typically easy to move around. Any trained professional should be able to tell you if it is a supporting wall. Try looking into the basement or crawl space if available to give you an idea if there are any beams under the wall. That would be an indication that it is supporting. The hvac and plumbing hidden in the wall is a little bit more of a mystery. It is not that difficult to move those around but it usually drives up the cost and labor as more work needs to be done.
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April 20 2012
If you're thinking about selling your home someday, suggest you check with a local realtor to see if this is a good idea for your neighborhood. If it isn't then you can weigh the informed cost of doing the work and potentially undoing it later. - Rhoda (for Bill Fry)
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March 23 2012
If the wall runs with the joists it is not a load bearing wall if the joists sit on top of the wall it is load bearing. A hammer and nails or stud finder can help to figure this out.
If is not a bearing wall, bang away, remove and relocate wires or ducts.

If it is aload bearing wall you can support it with a wood header or steel.

If you do it yourself the cost could be as low as 200.00
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October 31 2009
Profile picture for kevluv1979
I had my brother in law come over and take out the wall between LR and DR similar to what DanaEv described. The kitchen had already been significantly opened up with a bar and with this we now have a slightly divided open floor plan from Kitchen to DR to LR. My wife can talk to me from the couch while I'm in the kitchen and it's great entertaining space as we have the LR, DR, bar, kitchen, and breakfast nook all together. Great selling point for later. Check it out on my profile. Try to do this cheap to see a good return on your investment, but don't scrimp on this though.

Just as everyone else has said you should get someone who is experienced to make sure what's possible with your wall . If it is not load bearing it is very inexpensive and requires only some simple knowledge of electrical, drywalling, and framing. Something I could do myself. Ours was unfortunately load bearing with only one electrical outlet coming from the floor up so it was relatively easy, but we could not remove the whole wall. Columns were still needed so we left a knee wall with two columns up to the ceiling. All in all had the wall taken out and framed and molded back up for around $800 labor and everything (nice to have a brother in law, but he still turned a tidy profit for 12 hours of total work). Most of the cost was associated with the wood for the temp support wall, but this could go much higher with other items. Depending on where you live you should be able to do this for much much cheaper than the 2K-3K many people will quote you and I would seriously doubt any contractor who insisted on using a steel beam. There are many creative and interesting ways to support the ceiling joists without having to take out the whole wall and use steel supports.    
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July 10 2009
Profile picture for DanaEv
We just did this.  We opened the wall between the kitchen and family room.  First you need an engineer to come out and find out if it's a load bearing wall.  Ours was, so the next step is to pull off the wall board and find the electrical or plumbing that is in the wall to reroute it. In our case, the electrical was rerouted down and then back up to the switches on the kitchen side. There was no plumbing or vents in the section of the wall we removed.

Then cut out the wall and put up supports to hold up the house until you can get a steel beam inserted into the wall across the top.  Some people don't chose steel because of the price, but our house is big and the upstairs is huge, so we went with a steel beam.  The estimate to take down the load bearing wall and insert the steel beam was $13,000. But  we didn't take down the entire wall.  In our case it simply couldn't be done.  We hired an electrician to rewire the wires in that wall to run down and back up to the switches, so that left a 3 foot section of the wall still up. It's still very open because the wall was about 25 feet long.  We left a 3 foot bottom section of the original wall there, and put a thick, wood cap there to use as a bar/ eating area.  You can put bar stools on the kitchen side and people can eat there and watch tv in the living room.

It's messy, but not time consuming.  Just remember to have a contractor or someone take your wallboard out first to see what's behind the wall (Putting up new wall board is quick and easy should you decide not to do the renovation). Make sure you have an engineer come out and check to see if it's loadbearing and have  a small set of plans drawn up on what will happen.

We also took lots of pictures of what it looked like as they were taking down the wall and putting up some support timbers until the steel beam was installed,and pictures of the steel beam going in and where it went  so in the future if we sell the house we can show the potential new owners exactly what it looks like inside the wall.

If it's not load bearing, it's easy.  You still put up some support timbers until you get everything re-drywalled and such, but you don't have to worry about the cost of the steel beam ($6,000 here) and labor to put it in.  You do still have to move any wires or plumbing, and sometimes that can be a big expense if you have plumbing behind that wall.  We were lucky that it was only electrical and could be run down below the wooden cap and back up to the switches in the kitchen.  We have 5 switches for the kitchen (ex owners loved light!) so there are alot of wires, but it took the electrician an hour to rerun the wires down below the knee wall.

I hope this helped.  Opening up that wall has made a huge difference in how our house looks.  It is so open now that someone can be talking in the kitchen and you can hear it upstairs (which is also open so you can overlook the living room/kitchen).
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July 08 2009
Get estimate find out if its a supporting wall or not then do it your self.I did mine in my last home turn out great.Then sold it for a great profit.
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July 07 2009
You will need to contact a structural engineer and contractor to evaluate the situation.Having the contractor involved can save you from over-engineering the project as some engineers tend to do.
It will also provide you with the proper documents to obtain a permit to do the work to code. A big plus when you go to sell the property.
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July 07 2009
The job is not big. The headache that goes into the prep work can be though.
You would need to get a permit for this kind of work.
Your town / city will need a drawing of what you are doing (before & after) they are also going to require a structural engineer to design a beam to carry the load ( if any ) above the wall before they will issue the permit.
Try to find a reputable contractor in your area. All good contractors have working relationships with designers and structural engineers.

Good Luck !
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July 07 2009
I would hire a qualified contractor (licensed and bonded) before taking the sledgehammer to the wall.

If it's a load bearing wall, it is still doable, but it would require someone with experience to transfer the weight to support posts so that the roof or second floor doesn't collapse.

Plus you need to know if plumbing is running through the wall, as well as electrical. This is not a DYI kind of job.

Here's a descriptive article from This Old House that explains how it's done.

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,216448,00.html
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June 25 2009
 
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