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A Look At Repositioning Partition And Load-Bearing Walls

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Opening up or moving a wall might be a top priority when you renovate your home. You may want to make your kitchen bigger or combine two rooms to make a great room.

Tearing out walls can be dangerous work if you're working on a load-bearing wall. You may want a contractor to reposition the wall for you. Here's a look at the difference between partition walls and load-bearing walls and how a contractor might go about the wall repositioning process.

How Partition And Load-Bearing Walls Differ

Some walls in your home are partition walls. Their purpose is only to divide space and create rooms. Other walls are load-bearing. These actually hold up the ceiling. Before you proceed with moving or knocking down a wall, call a contractor to identify the type of wall you want to have moved.

If it's a partition wall, you may be able to do the work yourself. If it's a load-bearing wall, consider hiring a contractor so your ceiling doesn't collapse in the process.

How A Partition Wall Is Moved

Wall repositioning for a partition wall isn't as dangerous since it doesn't support the ceiling. The contractor can just knock the wall down and then put a new wall where you want it without regard for the footing or ceiling joists. If you're handy, you might do this work yourself to save money.

If you hire a contractor to move the wall, you'll pay much less to move a partition wall than you will to move a load-bearing wall. For that reason, find out what type of wall you're dealing with before you get too far along with your renovation plans.

How A Load-Bearing Wall Might Be Moved

The wall repositioning steps for a load-bearing wall are different because the ceiling has to be supported at all times. You can't just knock the wall down or the ceiling might come down with it. The contractor might start by putting up temporary walls on each side of the wall that's to come down.

The temporary walls provide support once the load-bearing wall is down. The contractor can then install posts and beams where the old wall was to support the ceiling. Once they're in place, the temporary walls are torn down and you can place a partition wall where you want it or you can leave the space open.

Another option is to move the load-bearing wall. However, your contractor has two important things to consider. One is the concrete footing under the wall and the other is the joists that rest on top of the wall. The ceiling joists overlap and the wall has to be positioned in the area of the overlap. If the joists are too short, one might need to be replaced with a longer board. However, the contractor is limited in how far the wall can be moved and still support the ceiling properly.

A load-bearing wall rests on a footer so the weight of your house can be transferred to the ground. There is limited space to move the wall on the footer too, and the contractor might need to add a new footer. This adds to the cost of the wall repositioning project.

Wall repositioning is a complex process, and if your home has more than one level, there are even more things for the contractor to consider since load-bearing walls are usually placed on top of each other. However, walls can be moved or taken out completely as long as it's done by a professional with the skills and knowledge to do it safely. Having the extra space you need makes the process worthwhile.