Open up a Wall

by J on May 20, 2010

Does your house have a room that drives you crazy because it is too small? Often times older homes have kitchens, living rooms or dining rooms that lack the spaciousness of the homes of today. You may find it beneficial to open up your space by taking out or opening up a wall in your home.

Opening up a wall is a good idea for several reasons. The open concept is a standard in today’s homes and for good reason. Young families with children appreciate the open concept, because it is much easier to keep tabs on little children when you have an open floor plan. By opening up the wall that separates the kitchen from the rest of the home, Mom can keep a watchful eye on the kids while she is fixing dinner or lunch. She’ll no longer have to dash back and forth between the kitchen and the rest of the home while dinner is burning on the stove.

Opening up the wall also lends itself to home entertaining. When you have guests in the house, it’s nice to be able to talk and visit while you are cooking, instead of being secluded by yourself in the kitchen while everyone else enjoys the hors d’oeuvres in the living room.

If you’ve decided to make the plunge and open up a wall, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

The most important detail is to know whether the wall you want to remove or modify is a load-bearing wall. One of the ways you can tell if the wall is load bearing is by looking up into your attic. If you have trusses, it is not a load-bearing wall. According to the site, “If a wall runs parallel to the joists, it is most likely not a load-bearing wall. If a wall is perpendicular to the joists it may be a load-bearing wall. Finally, if two joists join above a wall, it’s usually a load bearing wall.” Also, almost all exterior walls are load bearing as well. If there is any doubt in your mind as to whether or not it is a load-bearing wall, you should consult a home improvement contractor before proceeding.

The next point to consider is to find out if there is any electrical wiring or plumbing located within the wall. Both of these add complications and need to be handled by a professional.

Finally, consider whether you want to totally remove the wall to create one free-flowing open space, or whether you want to partially open up the wall. If you take down the whole wall, you then have to coordinate the flooring and ceiling. Leaving the wall partially up allows you to create a bar area or window and  allows you to maintain separate ceilings and floors.

To decide between these two options, you may want to consult a general contractor so that your are certain how to proceed. Whichever way you decide, you can be assured that the enlarged living space will definitely improve the traffic flow and communication in your home.

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