Can You Move a Load Bearing Wall in Your Home?

During your next home project, you might realize that there are one or more walls in your home that you would like to reposition. Before you attempt to tackle that type of renovation, there are a few important steps that you must take to prevent catastrophic damage to your home.

Is It a Load-Bearing Wall?

The first thing that you will need to do before you alter a wall in any way is to determine if it is load-bearing. When a wall is classified as load-bearing, it simply means that it supports a floor, attic, or some type of other structure above it. Removing a load-bearing wall without all of the proper precautions could result in permanent structural damage, and that is why you should get a second opinion if you aren’t absolutely sure.

Is it Possible to Move a Load Bearing Wall?

There are techniques and tools that can be used to move load-bearing walls. However, the process is expensive and may require more resources than that of replacing the entire home. Typically, professionals will recommend making home renovations around the wall instead of moving the wall. That being said, there are many professionals that can help you through the process. Do not do this process on your own.

Contacting a Contractor or Technician

Unless you have extensive experience with this type of project, you will most likely want to contact a reputable contractor or technician. Even if you plan on doing most of the work on your own, one of those professionals can verify that the wall is load-bearing and explain what can be done to move it. They may also be willing to teach you more about various wall repositioning techniques so that you remain safe and don’t compromise the structural integrity of your home.

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Legal Issues

Many homeowners are surprised to hear that a permit is needed for almost any project that will alter a load-bearing wall. Cities and counties often allow you to carry out that type of project without a license, but you will still need to acquire a permit and pass various inspections. In some areas, you must submit a comprehensive plan for this type of project, and those plans will be carefully inspected by a city employee. Additionally, these permits are typically only provided to professionals that have proof of resources and expertise to complete the project.

Replacement Options

Load-bearing walls hold up an incredible amount of material, and that means they must be replaced with another reinforcement structure. Some walls can easily be moved a few feet without making any other major changes, but that isn’t always the case. If you are going to remove the wall entirely, then the upper structure must be supported with beams or a series of beams and posts.

It might be tempting to tackle this type of project on your own, but there are at least a few professionals that you should consider contacting. Working on load-bearing walls is very dangerous, and you want to be absolutely sure that you don’t make any mistakes when working on those structures.