While winter winds howl outside, it’s a great time to cozy up to the fireplace and contemplate our home improvement plans for the upcoming year. If you’re in an older home with a separate, closed off kitchen, you may be thinking of removing a wall to enlarge the space and create a more open floor plan into an eating area. Here are a few considerations to take before picking up that sledge hammer:
Before You Demo…
First, you’ll want to decide on the intended use for the new opening. Do you just want a pass-through window with a small counter, or do you envision a large countertop with seating to use as a breakfast area? Or maybe you want to remove the entire wall space and expand the kitchen into an adjoining space.
Load Bearing Walls: While much of a wall removal can be done by the homeowner, it’s imperative to have a kitchen remodeling contractor inspect the wall first to determine if it is load bearing or not. Basically, this means the wall may be essential for holding up your house! While it is still possible to remove a load bearing wall without your upstairs becoming your downstairs, the support must be replaced in some way, such as by installing a large beam going across the new opening (which is best left to the professionals).
Non-Load Bearing Walls: When you are absolutely sure that your wall is not load bearing, you can save some money on your kitchen remodeling by doing some of the demo yourself. Use a sledge hammer and crowbar to remove the drywall or plaster, and then carefully cut through the wall studs with a saw.
Moving/Capping Off Utilities
Since there may be utility lines within the wall running to electrical outlets or phone jacks, they’ll need to be capped off or moved to a different location. Consult with an electrician before any demolition takes place, or with a plumber if there are water pipes in the area.
Finding Alternate Storage
One disadvantage of removing a kitchen wall is that you often lose some of your overhead kitchen cabinets, thus losing essential storage space. If you have high ceilings, you may be able to install some smaller overhead cabinets above the counter area. Another idea is to install a deeper or wider counter space so that you can fit another row of lower cabinets on the opposite side.
For more information on removing a wall during kitchen remodeling, call or visit your local home improvement contractor.