How much to remove a load-bearing wall?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ April 13, 2010 ~ Comments

I am looking at removing approximately 10 feet of a load-bearing wall to support the house correctly. I know there are many factors, but is this possible? Here's what I think we need to do: remove existing wall, support the frame properly, build an arch way, move existing electricity and cable, replace approxiamtely 6" by 10" feet of hardwood and finish.

Roalnd L. ~ Cumberland, Rhode Island

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Roland, This is a very tough question because there are so many variables that can affect the cost that I am not aware of, but I will try to get you in the ballpark. The first issue is the new load bearing where you are opening up the wall. What is above that opening, and what is below it, are going to determine what size header or beam you are going to need to install. That is something that you should get an engineer or architect involved in, so that it is sized correctly. Depending on the weight the beam and its jacks are carrying, you may need to install point load bearing in the basement or crawl space, or first floor, depending on what is below where this opening is taking place.

I believe that what you hope to do is very possible, but again that is without seeing exactly what is going on with your home. Depending on the location of the wall, there is also a possibility that there maybe ductwork or plumbing supply or drain lines that need to be moved also. There will probably be some sheetrock or plaster repair involved, and some interior trim work. You don't mention the age of your home, but there is a chance that you may not be able to find hardwood to match your existing hardwood, so you may have to redo the entire area, either with hardwood or another type of floor covering. If the existing hardwood was stained in place, then you should be able to patch the hardwood, but you may have to refinish the entire area so that it all matches.

My best guess on your project without seeing it would be $3000-$6000. I realize that is a broad range, but as I mentioned there are a lot of variables I am not aware of. My suggestion would be to get a few reputable local contractors from Cumberland, Rhode Island to take a look at it. Their pricing should be much more accurate than mine, as they will be able to see exactly what is involved. I know the economy hasn't been very good in Rhode Island recently, and I'm sure Cumberland is no exception, so you might get a very good price. Make sure you get references though, and that all of their paperwork is up to date. You want a good job as well as a low price.

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