This month in our remodeling series we look to open things up some more. A great way to do that is with a structural opening, which allows one to enlarge existing rooms or change the functionality of a room by opening walls. With professional help from a remodeling contractor like S&A Construction, Inc. of the Wichita, KS, one can turn two small rooms into a one big one including kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms areas.
Load Bearing Vs Non-Load Bearing
How a home was constructed will dictate which of the interior walls are structural, load bearing and which are not. A structural wall is a wall that carries the weight of a home from the roof, all the way down to the foundation. The weight being transferred at any given point in the home is called a "load", thus a “load bearing” wall. For load bearing walls, it is critical that they must first be properly supported before creating any opening.
Types of Support
Depending on the width of an opening, proper support of a load bearing wall can be accomplished with conventional lumber, engineered beams such as a Weyerhaeuser’s Microlam or Paralam, or even an I-beam.
These openings can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on how large the opening needs to be. If the opening is wider than 12 feet, it is always recommended to obtain a structural engineer's report. In fact, some municipalities even require it if the opening is wide enough. This is to ensure that the load is properly supported and the opening will not cause future settling or structural failure.
The photos below shows in progress a structural opening being made with an I-beam installed to create a large entertainment room/bar/card room. When the home was built, the wall was required to support the home based on the design on the main floor trusses. Now these trusses are properly supported by the I-beam so the two rooms can be almost completely opened to one another. Having large open rooms typically is more desirable and adds value to the home.
Looking to open your home’s space up in the Wichita, KS area?
At S&A Construction, we can help you with your remodeling projects including those that need a structural opening in order to free up your home’s space. If you are in the Wichita Kansas area, feel free to give us a call or e-mail for a free remodeling quote any time.
As always, let us know if you have any questions, other ideas, or comments!