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How to remove a load bearing wall


Removing a load bearing wall

This is a tricky DIY job so make sure you're prepared!


Here's what you have to do or at least be prepared to do in order to remove a load-bearing wall.

1. You must determine if your wall is a load-bearing or non-load bearing wall. Consult an expert's advice before removing any wall.
2. Important preparation work, because load-bearing walls carry the weight of your home, you will need to set up scaffold boards that run to ceiling height, on both sides of the wall before you start removing the wall.

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When placing the scaffold boards do so in such a way that they run across several floor joists in order that the load which they will be carrying is spread over a wide area, the floor joists run at the opposite direction to the flooring.

If your floor cannot carry the weight or shows signs of strain, you will need to install props on your floor foundation. This usually requires lifting up your floorboards and placing the scaffold boards on the foundation.

Terminology; Needles are steel support poles/pins placed through small holes in the wall and alighned with the top of each prop on opposite sides of the wall, a rough guide is 4 props and 2 needles.

3. In some cases, you'll need to use needles on jacks directly above the props. Needles will need to be fitted through the walls if this is a brickwork project.
4. To fit needles through the wall, mark where you want the needles to go on the wall. Cut away the plaster and chisel a hole.
5. Position props on scaffold boards under each needle with a distance of no more than 500mm or 600mm (2 ft) from the wall.
6. Start working from the top, hack off the plaster with a hammer.
7. Once the plaster is cleared and the brickwork is exposed, work from the top to cut out the brickwork by chopping down with a bolster, dont go crazy trying to get the holes formed by knocking out in large chuncks.

When removing a load-bearing wall, you must replace it with a permanent header or posts strong enough to carry the weight. You can also install a beam instead of a header.

8. Installing a beam, see more blog advice at "Fitting a supporting Beam"

    a) Set up a work platform. You will need this work platform to lift your beam up to the top of the opening.
    b) Measure the space that will be required to fit the beam and padstones.
    c) Be sure to remove two or three courses of bricks from the far sides below the ceiling joists; this is where you need to fit the padstones for your beam.
    d) Bed padstones in mortar at the top ends of the wall opening.
    e) Lift and fit the beam in place.
    f) Fill any holes or gaps with pieces of slate and mortar. You can also rebuild missing brickwork by applying a bed of mortar and fill the gap with new bricks.
    g) Let it set for 2 days. Remove the props and needles, and fill in the holes.

9. At this stage, you can use a brick-cutting saw to remove the rest of the brickwork. Stop when you reach the last course below the floorboards.


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