Can you remove a support wall that leads into the homes addition (the wall in question was originally a exterior wall)

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Posted by: from Perdue
3/13/2014 at 2:34:07 PM

Two story home built in 1920s. An addition was built off the rear exterior of original home. I would like to remove or partially remove this one time exterior wall to open up that separates the addition from the original home.

What are some things I need to be aware of and what would the cost involved be?

The wall in question is aprox 10 feet long and currently only has a door way between the original home and the addition.

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Daryl from Ridgewater Homes Ltd in Delta
Date/Time3/13/2014 at 3:53:30 PM


Anything is possible, just depends on how much money you want to spend.


Ridgewater Homes

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Date/Time3/13/2014 at 4:18:50 PM

Hi Brad,

Couple of questions:

1. Do you know who did this renovations? If yes then they should have some old drawings or copy of it. Study with experienced Contractor and Engineer.

2. If not then check with city if the permit was taken then they can give you a copy of the work done - may be with a fee.

3. If point 1 and 2 does not work then call New Structural designer, and an experienced contractor to check what was done, to get an exact idea of what it is now and work accordingly. Any guess work could be a very costly mistake in situation like this.

Cost of Engineer for a site visit for something like this would be any where from $ 450 and up if we are getting the job confirmed we built in the total cost for our peace of mind.

Hope this helps.

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Rodney from PGCrenovations in Cambridge
Date/Time3/13/2014 at 7:54:58 PM

Hi Brian,

1- To do this legally, you must first obtain blue prints to your house from the city, they will give u a copy (fees involved) and from there you will find out if a permit was taken out on the addition. If there was no permit taken out then you will have a can of worm to deal with.

2- Depending on what city you live in will depend on the hard ship thats about to come, because in order to get a permit to open up this wall, you will definitely have to provide them with current building plans for your home. If the plans the city provides to u is different from whats they have, they might want to come and inspect the addition that was put on before issuing anymore permits.

3- Please note that building inspectors are there to protect the home owner from work not properly done. Before you get further into removing this wall u should first go to the city and obtain a copy of your plans. Keep us posted so we can further advise you.

The picture below shows u a rough idea of what needs to be done.

Can you remove a support wall that leads into the homes addition (the wall in question was originally a exterior wall)
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Date/Time3/13/2014 at 8:23:27 PM

All exterior walls should be assumed to be load-bearing unless proven otherwise. The following will discuss what is known as a "drop beam" which would be dropped lower than the ceiling level.

There are three main considerations that affect the ability to remove a portion of load-bearing wall.

First determine the weight above the 10 foot length of wall planned to be removed. By referring to standard span tables, and assuming this new beam would support a roof and a ceiling and one-story above, as well as an average snow load of 42 psf (pounds per square foot) or 2.0 kPa (kilopascals), we find that two 2 x 12's put together into a beam will only allow for a span of approximately 8 1/2 feet. This is not enough for the desired 10 foot span. Since 3 - 2 x 12's nailed together to form a beam will not fit in a standard 2 x 4 wall then the use of an engineered beam needs to be considered in this case.

Second ensure a foundation of this age can support a weight which was normally supported along 10 feet of wall (420 square inches), and will now be supported by two post that are made up of 3 - 2 x 4's each (15.75 x 2 = 31.5 square inches). By concentrating all the weight onto 2 posts we are creating "point loads" below these posts. A qualified professional or engineer can assist with this determination.

Third evaluate any electrical / plumbing / mechanical systems that will need to be rerouted once the wall is opened. It would be wise to remove the drywall to expose the existing framing, and call the relevant trade to discuss required rerouting.

When removing large spans such as this it is imperative to properly support the overhead weight during the process. Consult with your local building officials and an engineer who can properly calculate the weight above, and determine the best way to transfer this weight to the foundation below.

Alair Homes - North Vancouver

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Date/Time3/13/2014 at 9:57:08 PM

Hire a reputable contractor in your area that can walk you through the process of getting it done properly and legally. They can help you to explore your options, but at the end of the day your budget will dictate how much and what you can do.

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Date/Time3/13/2014 at 10:09:04 PM

I can't give an estimate without seeing what needs to be done.

It sounds like it will be no problem, probably take a day, or less; and if you could have the area around the wall cleared for a safe work area, that's probably all you'd have to do.

Art & Gord

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Date/Time3/14/2014 at 7:08:22 AM

Hi Brian,

Yes, it is possible to remove the wall. The cost would be determined by which way we would remove the wall. It also depends on how the addition was attached to the house.

Do you have pictures? The could give me a better idea on the cost of removal and replacement.



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Date/Time3/14/2014 at 9:27:05 AM

Hi Brian,

I agree with Brian from FC Construction. Based on the description of your home and what you want to do finding a reputable contractor in your area is probably the best way to proceed. They will be able to lead you through the process and give more accurate quotes after seeing your particular circumstances.

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