Recent kitchen/dining room trends favor a more “open” design concept. At Ouellette Engineering, we often get these requests. One simple way to change your floorplan to an open design is to take out the wall in between the kitchen and dining room. If you decide to go that route, you must first determine how to make that happen; from a structural integrity standpoint.
In these situations, the question you might ask is: “Can I take the wall out between my kitchen and dining room?” But what you actually need to determine first is: “Is the wall I want to remove carrying a load?” or “Is the wall I want to remove a ‘load-bearing’ wall?” It’s also important to find out if you can remove the wall safely.
The first thing to determine is what is above the wall you want to remove. Is there a 2nd floor? Are the floor joists parallel or perpendicular to the wall? Is there attic space above the wall? Does it have engineered trusses in the attic space? Is the roof stick-framed?
The next step is to determine what is below the wall you want to remove. In the crawlspace, are the beams and footings aligned with the wall which suggests it is load-bearing? All these things factor into determining whether or not it is a load-bearing or partition wall.
If it is a partition wall with engineered trusses above it, can I remove it without engineering approval? The answer is: maybe. Sometimes you will get sagging, or cracks that you didn’t have before. Sometimes you will get settlement – but it may be structurally adequate. However, some partition walls still require a structural engineering sign-off.
If it is a bearing wall, can have it removed? Yes, but we will need to replace the bearing wall with an adequately sized beam, posts, and footings that are designed to support the snow/occupancy load and the weight of the materials. With all bearing wall removal projects, we will help engineer a solution.
One of our specialties is expertly evaluating walls for potential removal. We’re happy to help with your next wall-removal project, be it small or large.