After removing a load bearing wall, you will most likely have had to reposition the weight into a new partial wall at either end of the removed wall. The new wall area that was built to shift and support the weight of the “load” will need to be sheet rocked and made to blend with the rest of the room.
The article Removing a Load Bearing Wall talks about the general guidance of removing a load bearing wall. There are also pictures of a kitchen and living room remodel during our home remodel in how to design a great room here.
Please note – before removing a wall be aware that the wall may contain heating, electrical conduits or plumbing. Do not haphazardly start tearing out a wall without bracing the ceiling properly first and making sure affected power lines and water are turned off. You also need to ensure permits are pulled and permission granted prior to removing the wall, and after it is reconstructed.
Expert tips for sheetrocking during a home remodel building a great room
• Sheet rock comes in a few different thicknesses. You will want to make sure that the new sheet rock matches the old sheet rock’s thickness in areas where it abuts the old.
• Just like one would do when laying out a pattern on material to make a dress, plan ahead and think about the different types of cuts you will make first, to minimize material waste.
• Measure out your cuts, and err on the too big rather than too small size. • You can always chisel back the edge of the drywall, but filling big gaps with drywall compound is not desirable, so work to get the pieces of drywall to touch as best as possible.
• If you plan to cut the sheet rock on the floor, protect hardwood or linoleum as the razor blade will go through and damage the floor below. If possible, use a piece of plywood on the floor as your work surface.
How to drywall
Dean Johnson, on Howto.com hosts an article entitled “Drywall” that goes into specifics on how to sheet rock for both walls and ceilings. Rather than me repeating the same information, I will refer you there.
How to repair dry wall
Kelly Smith, on suite 101.com has written a great article that details the step by step on how to sheet-rock for repairs here. Again, I don’t want to bore you by repeating this information.
Building Inspection required before and after:
Town fees are usually minimal and the wait is anywhere between two and four weeks on average. Do not skimp or take the risk of losing the value of your home. Messing with a load bearing wall is a big deal and requires a second set of eyes to verify that the integrity of your house will not be jeopardized. This is done to protect the community and long term property values, as well as the bank if they hold a lien.
Putting together a plan before deconstructing your home
When re-designing a great room, you will need to think about heating elements, electrical wiring, lighting, and plumbing. You will have to think about sheetrock, corner beads, drywall compound, paint, and ceiling applications such as hopping. You will probably want new outlet and switch covers and you may purchase new windows, new lights, or new flooring as well.
The large home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot offer homeowners “free” services to assist you with your home remodeling needs including appliances, cabinetry kitchen design and other services.
Remember to call the inspector again before you close up the walls. He is inspecting for fire hazards, structural hazards to make sure your home is safe for you to live in, and it retains its value.
Although it is a pain – don’t skip this step. The inspector will make you open up the wall if he hasn’t been able to see the wiring or structure. Or if you go to resell the house, you may have to absorb costs at the time of closing to pay for an additional inspection that was previously undocumented.
Add a timeline to your plan
Sometimes tackling a home improvement project of this nature can seem overwhelming so absolutely create a to-scale floor plan, and design the room, including the walls, the windows, the cabinets, the lighting, the outlets, the heating, crown molding, chair rails – all of it, in advance.
Then go to the store or make calls and get prices on what you are going to need. Make a detailed budget for each of the details such as moving heat, re-wiring, re-switching, new outlet covers, sheet rock, corner molding, joint compound etc.
Then figure out what has to happen first, and last and put the timeline together. No sense having the cabinets delivered if you have no place to store them. Where will you store all your kitchen wares temporarily? In another room, or will you get a Pod, or rent a storage facility? Removing what is in the house takes time, but during a remodel, everything will get dusty. Think about what you need for every day living and where it will be stored.
Costs to remove a load bearing wall and redesign your living room and kitchen into a great room
Out of all the homeowner projects you can attempt to take on, messing with the structure of your home, and its inner workings, is not for the weak-of-heart.
Always plan on the “stuff” happens clause and add another 1/3 to your budget. Moving the weight, will require building another structure, then removing the wall, then sheetrocking, then drywall, then sanding and painting. Realistically it can be done in about a week, but that is just a part of the project. It will cost anywhere between 1,000 and 5,000 depending upon the structure and the size of the new beams and whether you do it yourself or call a contractor.
No water, no stove, no refrigerator, and everything is covered in dust
Living without a kitchen, no water, no electricity is a major disruption to normal living. Plan on eating out or calling for take-out for at least four weeks if not more unless you have a camper or don’t mind washing dishes in the bathtub.
We lived without a kitchen for six-months during our remodel because of problems with probate, paperwork and the final inspection. We had our refrigerator plugged in in the breezeway, and we had our coffee pot going all the time. People came and went at all hours and it was crazy.
It could have been very stressful but we knew what we were getting into and we had planned according to our means. At least while we were waiting, we had a kicking party and we didn’t have to worry about anyone damaging the house.
Bob the Painter