Can Removing Old Lapboard Impact the Structural Integrity of My Home?

Answered by Brett ~ September 29, 2011 ~ Comments

I am in the process of tearing out my kitchen for a remodel and I am concerned I might be ripping out essential components of the walls. Should I rip the lapboard I see under the sheetrock out, or do I need to leave it in?

Jesse O. ~ Proctor, MN

Brett Kulina

Jesse, when remodeling your kitchen you need to be careful not to remove any weight bearing or structural framing components, keeping in mind that it is not always obvious which portions of the walls and ceiling are essential to the structural integrity of a house. The safest way to insure that your remodel does not cause any harm to your home is to have a structural engineer or experienced contractor inspect your house and offer an informed opinion.

Without actually inspecting your home, it is impossible for me to determine how best for you to proceed with your project. Although from your brief description it does sound as though the lap board layer, which you unearthed under the sheet rock, is possibly the original interior wall covering and may not be that integral the structural integrity of your home. In most houses the wall framing and the exterior sheathing carry the majority of the weight load, while the interior wall covering does not.

If you are able to determine that your home's wall framing has sufficiently sized and spaced studs, as well as enough lateral support (such as horizontal blocking, metal strapping, or exterior plywood sheathing), then it is probably okay to gut your kitchen's interior down to the bare studs. That being said, I would still recommend that you spend the money and have an engineer inspect your home and determine the safest way to proceed.

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