Cost of Removing a Load Bearing Wall
A guide of the process of hiring a builder to remove an internal wall, including the costs of labour and materials.
If you plan on removing interior walls from your home, simply forcing a sledgehammer through them, isn’t going to do the trick. You might’ve seen this on TV, but it really doesn’t work that way. In addition to structural issues, you can damage other areas of the home, if you don’t know what you are doing, and how much force to apply, in tearing down walls.
Before you determine which walls will come down, an assessment should be done internally and externally. This will not only ensure it is safe for the foundation and the home’s structure but also guarantee proper balancing throughout. Before you go knocking down walls, these are a few things you should know as a homeowner.
What the job entails
Obviously removing interior walls entails tearing down walls on the interior of the home. But, it also requires an assessment. This is typically done to ensure stability, safety, coding, and obvious structural issues of the home. You might not know it, but if you tear down the wrong wall, you can cause issues to the home’s structure and stability.
A tradesman will remove frames, doors, cover up surrounding surfaces, and determine the safest and most powerful means of tearing down the wall. A sledgehammer might work, but in other homes, there are other tools, and power equipment, which can be used, in a similar manner.
Electrical work, piping, wiring, and other issues should be addressed prior to tearing down any walls as well. For these reasons, it is important you don’t simply go taking heavy hammers to walls you can’t stand anymore in your home. Avoid this DIY project, and at the very least, contact a professional tradesperson to assess your property for you.
Potential issues with removal
The above-mentioned issues of plumbing, water lines, gas line, electric, and obviously electric structures, are issues you run into when you want to tear down walls. In some homes, you simply can’t tear down the wall you want to tear down, because of these things. In other homes, you can sometimes work around this, but rewiring and other upgrades are required, prior to tearing the wall down. So, make sure you know what goes into it before you start the project.
Foundation issues are another big one. Most people don’t consider the structure of the home. But, in some houses, a single wall in the middle of a room, might be the only thing holding up your entire home. If you go and tear it down, without knowing what you are doing, you can compromise the integrity of your home. For this reason, you are better served to call a professional to tear down the wall, rather than trying to do this work yourself.
Additional projects to perform
If you do tear down any walls, you will want to do work on the floors, and surrounding surfaces. This includes clean up, patching work, adding cement or sealant around walls, and so forth. When you have the tradesman remove the wall, also inquire about the patching up, clean up, and any small remodeling jobs which will go on around the walls, which they are going to remove from the home for you.
Painting, installing wiring, moving sockets or outlets, and other small wiring or electric projects, can also be done during the destruction of walls in the home. Since you are going to be rebuilding, or simply wish to open up the space in the home, you might need to add, or otherwise perform small projects behind the walls which are still standing. If you do, the tradesperson you hired to tear down the walls, can also perform these projects for you.
If you plan on doing additional remodeling work, changing lighting, installing ceiling fans, or other small DIY projects, this is a great time to do those as well. Since the home will be dusty, you might as well do everything at once. It will eliminate the need to clean up twice, and also allow you to save on the cost of all work, by doing it at once, with one contractor.
Costs & Duration
Set aside a minimum of £500 for tearing down one wall; if it is a partial wall (with no wiring or issues behind it), this will cost a minimum of £250-400 to do. In terms of project duration, this shouldn’t take more than 1-2 days which includes the clean-up and disposal efforts. RSJ's can cost anywhere from £150 up to £2000 depending on the size and grade.
Of course, quotes will vary greatly, so before you do hire a contractor, it is important to compare a few quotes, so you find the best pricing.
Here is a list of commonly asked questions in regards to having an internal wall removed.
Q Is removing a wall difficult?
In theory, no - but, in practice, often yes. There are wiring concerns, electric, plumbing, and other issues which might be present, you aren’t aware of. If you don’t know what you are doing, this can lead to major headaches and unforeseen costs.
Q Is this an expensive project?
Yes, tearing down a wall requires plenty of detail and care in practice. A tradesperson or contractor will charge a minimum of £1500, to remove an entire wall.
Q Can you tear down any wall?
No. A contractor will assess the home, to determine if it safe. Wiring, code/regulation, possible plumbing, or even issues with the structure or foundation, might limit what you can, and can’t tear down in the home.
Q Can I tear down the wall myself?
Again, this isn’t a simple project. It is not a DIY project you are going to finish in a couple of hours. If you are a licensed tradesperson, possibly. Otherwise, you are better off hiring a contractor.
Q Why tear down a wall in my home?
Open the space, remodel, add a new room, or convert a loft space. These are just a few answers to your question. Depending on the home, size, and intended uses or décor, there are many reasons an owner would choose to undertake this project.