Remove load bearing wall

31 Replies

We have done a few ourselves. The two most recent was a 20ft & the other a double13.5ft. After demo & jack stud placement its a 4 hour job.

In both cases we had to get approval from the Building Inspector & on the 13.5ft I doubled up on the LVL beam due to the fact upper floor joists were sistered at that point.

The 20ft was about $112 delivered & lifted by 4 guys & the 13.5 footers were cut to size & $80 a piece. We lifted that into place with 3 of us. The bolt pattern used to secure the 2 LVL beams followed that 'approved' by the Bldg. Insp. When we sold the property the buyers attorney wanted copies of all signed off permits.

If they want a structural engineering schematic you're into more $$$. For an addition I did with multiple 22ft IJoists & LVL spans I had the architect highly detail beam placement & jack studs within the $500 set of stamped drawings for the addition & it was worth it to get the approvals.

But NEVER cut into an LVL as a friend did to install a poorly planned door placement. Bldg. Insp. considered the LVL compromised  & it had to be removed & tossed.

@Mark Kovacs If you are not knowledgeable on finding the load path, the short answer would be find a local architect or engineer to size it for you. 

The long answer would have you assess what's above the area where the load bearing wall is being removed. Calculate the required loading above, LL & DL and any other required loads for your locale (snow, etc.) and then find the appropriate LVL which will support the load in linear footage according to the LVL Glulam manufacturer's sizing charts.    

Disclaimer: I am an architect, but I am not YOUR architect. I am not giving professional advice only general information. Contact a local architect/engineer for a detailed consultation specific to your project/locale. 

I just did one a couple weeks ago. We took down 26’ of load bearing wall and replaced it with two 12” X 4” LVL beams, one 12’ long the other 14’ joined on top of an LVL post. I’m an ironworker so I deal with structures whether it be buildings/bridges day to day. For me to see where and what the loads are is easy. Yet I’m not an engineer so there’s no math when I do it. With experience and erring on the side of safety I have no problems getting the job done. 

If you’re unsure or nervous I’d hire a good contractor and an engineer if he thinks necessary. An engineer, if he’s any good, can help you use the most efficient and cost effective material to achieve the goal. A lot engineers, from my experience, completely over kill just to be safe. You may want an alternative to a huge exposed beam.  Be clear about what you expect it to look like when complete.  

@Mark Kovacs also consider that if the load bearing wall is an interior wall you may have to add lally columns in the basement. Load points should transfer all the way down.

I recently opened up 13 ft in a load bearing wall in my own house and had to have two new lally columns in the basement. Was about $2,400 for the columns.

Echoing what others have said a structural engineer is a must.

Originally posted by @Mark Kovacs :

Really appreciate all the feedback fellas. I found a 5 1/4” x 13 3/4” x 16’ glulam beam for a 14’ opening. Should do the trick. Ranch with no basement.

 Wow that's a big beam!!!!

@Mark Kovacs

Even if it a ranch with no basement that load still needs to be transferred to somewhere other then just the subfloor. If it’s a crawl space you would need to pour footings and get a post directly under your new jack studs. If it’s on a slab that is better but you should still technically cut out the existing slab and pour a thickened slab at the load points.

If it’s on a slab that is better but you should still technically cut out the existing slab and pour a thickened slab at the load points.

This kind of thing the technical details of the build need to be spot on right. I think.

You don't want to be responsible in the unlikey event of a collapse.

I operate a construction company and we remove walls all the time.  I am very impressed with all the suggestions above.  They are spot on.   

# 1 get permits and use an engineer to give you stamped drawings.  Save pictures of the permits, drawings and pictures of the new beam in place.  If possible get a picture of the inspector giving you a big thumbs up.  The beam you mentioned seams very big for a simple rancher.   The engineer will tell you how to transfer all the weight down to a footer.  

Originally posted by @Pat L. :

We have done a few ourselves. The two most recent was a 20ft & the other a double13.5ft. After demo & jack stud placement its a 4 hour job.

In both cases we had to get approval from the Building Inspector & on the 13.5ft I doubled up on the LVL beam due to the fact upper floor joists were sistered at that point.

The 20ft was about $112 delivered & lifted by 4 guys & the 13.5 footers were cut to size & $80 a piece. We lifted that into place with 3 of us. The bolt pattern used to secure the 2 LVL beams followed that 'approved' by the Bldg. Insp. When we sold the property the buyers attorney wanted copies of all signed off permits.

If they want a structural engineering schematic you're into more $$$. For an addition I did with multiple 22ft IJoists & LVL spans I had the architect highly detail beam placement & jack studs within the $500 set of stamped drawings for the addition & it was worth it to get the approvals.

But NEVER cut into an LVL as a friend did to install a poorly planned door placement. Bldg. Insp. considered the LVL compromised  & it had to be removed & tossed.

did you need structural engineer or the building inspector was sufficient?

 

Originally posted by @Pat L. :

@Sophie Maisel we were fortunate I'm a retired engineer & drew up a schematic but doubled up on the $80/LVL beam (more to fill out the beam than what was needed for static loads) & he approved it. 

How much did the labor cost on this? Thanks a lot for reply btw. I am currently drawing plans of the house, and need someone to do structural removal of the wall. The plans are really bizarre, I am not sure why the architect did what he did.

 

@Sophie Maisel

It took a couple of hours to demo the wall move some wiring & install 2x6 jack studs.

It took about 4 hours to lift the 2 beams into place & bolt them together (following the approved pattern) & then secure them to the jack studs. We didn't need to recess the beam into the floor joists as we had adequate height. However, if you need to cut into the joists to bury the beam you'd be looking at least a solid days work.

We subsequently drywalled over the beams & that was about 2 hours. I pay my maintenance guy $15/hr so we did it the same day he was there tiling the bathrooms & he also did the mudding of the drywall in a couple of hours.

Originally posted by @Pat L. :

@Sophie Maisel

It took a couple of hours to demo the wall move some wiring & install 2x6 jack studs.

It took about 4 hours to lift the 2 beams into place & bolt them together (following the approved pattern) & then secure them to the jack studs. We didn't need to recess the beam into the floor joists as we had adequate height. However, if you need to cut into the joists to bury the beam you'd be looking at least a solid days work.

We subsequently drywalled over the beams & that was about 2 hours. I pay my maintenance guy $15/hr so we did it the same day he was there tiling the bathrooms & he also did the mudding of the drywall in a couple of hours.

aha, nice! What would be your advise to someone like myself? My husband is a great handyman. But he never installed any beams or anything like that. I am in contact with structural engineer and I will take his drawings to the city for approval. What should be my next step? Can we just purchase the beams and my husband installs them? Should we hire a framer? My understanding is that no matter who does the job the city checks it and either gives a red or green light for the work. However, I am uncertain who is the best subcontractor for this job.

 

@Jared W Smith

Hi Jared, 

"...make sure you size the LVL to adequately support the load it will carry though. ..."

Because this is a very critical part of the procedure, just for informational purposes, as an experienced Architect, can you give us an idea of how you would price doing that calculation as well as producing the guidance for the contractors to follow without you overseeing the project. Just the calc and written/drawings pricing? Or is that something you would want to see and bid on?

Thanks,

Scott...


Originally posted by @Sophie Maisel :
Originally posted by @Pat L. :

@Sophie Maisel we were fortunate I'm a retired engineer & drew up a schematic but doubled up on the $80/LVL beam (more to fill out the beam than what was needed for static loads) & he approved it. 

How much did the labor cost on this? Thanks a lot for reply btw. I am currently drawing plans of the house, and need someone to do structural removal of the wall. The plans are really bizarre, I am not sure why the architect did what he did.

 

Boggles me when I hear things like this. You've retained your architect, why don't you ask them their reasoning behind the layout being odd. Why go with the design if you are not happy with it. There may be several factors that have created this including current conditions, building or zoning codes or HVAC or MEP systems integration just to name a few. Personally I explain the design intent and reasoning for every design choice I make.  

 

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