By Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Media Services
Do It Yourself or Not?
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
To find more space in a house, consider redefining the space you have by removing a wall and creating one large room out of two. This is a frequent solution empty-nesters use when the kids' bedrooms are empty and the walls come down to create a master suite. When a larger or additional bathroom is needed, the found space is created by removing a wall to expand into an adjoining room.
This works when the wall being removed is a partition, not a bearing wall that that carries a structural load. A partition wall only divides space in the interior of a house, but a bearing wall in the interior is one that encloses an opening or is in line over the posts and girders in the crawl space or basement.
Before you consider removing a wall, consult with a general contractor, engineer or architect to determine if it can be removed without damaging the structure of the house. To determine if a wall is non-bearing, look in the attic for exposed joists or in the basement at the rafters. If they run parallel to the wall you want to remove -- it isn't a bearing wall.
A contractor will charge $413 to remove a 10-wide-by-8-foot high non-bearing interior wall between two rooms and remove the debris. Removal of the material is a key factor to consider because if you do it yourself, you have to rent a 20-yard roll off container or dumpster, which will cost at least $260.
The job will take the better part of a day to complete, and for your work, you'll pocket a 37 percent saving. Be particularly careful removing electrical receptacles and outlets in the wall. If there's any doubt, hire an electrician to find and remove them. To remove the wall material, including wallboard and woodwork, you'll need a framing and sledge hammer, hand sledge, pry bar and shop vac. Wear leather gloves, a hat, dust mask and eye protection.
To find more DIY project costs, and to post comments and questions, visit http://www.diyornot.com and http://www.m.diyornot.com on smartphones.
Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved
$413 -- $260 -- 7.6 -- 11.0 -- $153 -- 37 Percent
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