Removing a split level kitchen wall can transform the space in your home. It gives the kitchen a better flow and allows you to make the most of your home. Split level homes tend to feel like they have a few too many internal walls, blocking rooms off from each other. This is why many homeowners have decided to open up their kitchen by removing a wall. The way to do this largely depends on whether the wall is load-bearing or not.
A split level kitchen wall removal is a fantastic way to open up your kitchen. If the wall is load-bearing it is going to be a more challenging task as these walls are part of your home’s structure so cannot be removed without planning and the installation of a new support.
Is It A Good Idea To Open Up A Split Level Kitchen?
If you love family time and entertaining in your home then you will benefit from a more open layout in your kitchen area. Many people decide to open out their split level kitchen and install a large island instead, offering additional worktop and seating space. Below are some factors to consider when deciding whether to open up your split level kitchen.
Is It A Load-Bearing Wall?
If the wall you want to remove is load-bearing it is going to considerably increase the cost of the project. It will also increase the amount of tasks needed to complete the job as you will need to install a new beam to hold the load in place of the wall.
What’s Inside the Wall?
Are there pipes, wiring, ducts etc. running up into the wall from the basement. If the wall has plumbing, wiring or heat ducts inside it, it is going to add to the workload. Consider if these are things you will be comfortable (or able) to relocate. Common pipes/lines inside walls include air ducts, water pipes, waste and vent lines, gas pipes and wiring.
Planning Permission/Building Regulations/Permits
Before getting started on a big renovation project that involves removing a split level wall, find out what building regulations and permissions are relevant to your project. This is going to vary depending on where you live and what you are changing. You may have to apply for a permit to make the changes. Another thing you might have to do is have a structural engineer approve your plans. This may be an extra expense but when it comes to altering the structure of your home, a professional’s opinion is certainly worth it.
Will opening up the kitchen involve repositioning switches, sockets, radiators, etc.? Factor in all the costs of relocating these items.
Time It Takes To Complete
In addition to the logistics of removing the wall, consider the time it will take. Removing an internal wall will take at least a couple of days until the area is cleared, cleaned and decorated. The time it takes in total will largely depend on your available time and experience level.
Don’t forget you may have to patch or replace the flooring so the “new” patch of floor blends in. If you are installing an island then this won’t be necessary but if you plan to leave the space completely open, don’t forget about the floor. Take a look at the current flooring in both rooms and figure out how you will make the floor flow between them and what you will need to achieve this.
Better Use of Space
We understand that opening up the kitchen has huge appeal, particularly in split level homes. One of the biggest benefits is the space is creates. Removing a wall can make the room feel much more spacious and gives you the opportunity to make the most of your kitchen. You can use the space how you want, allowing you to make better use of the area.
Improved Natural Light
Another big benefit is the improved lighting created by taking away a wall. Opening up the kitchen will make the area feel lighter, it gives natural light the opportunity to flow throughout the space. There will be less shadows and the rooms will naturally feel bigger because of this.
Sometimes the wall between the kitchen and living room/dining room disrupts the overall flow and feel of the rooms. This can make even decent sized rooms feel cramped. By opening them up you can create connections between the rooms that make better use of the square footage in your home. With the rooms connected in this way dinner parties and family meals will feel more communal and inviting.
Things You Will Need To Remove Split Level Kitchen Wall
This is a big job that produces big results. As long as you have the time, the tools and the go-ahead from a professional this job can be done and dusted in just a few days.
- Plastic tarp
- Protective goggles
- Pry bar
- Plastic bins/bags
- Steel or veneer lumber structural support beam (size and shape should be determined by a professional)
Removing Load Bearing Wall Between Kitchen And Living Room In 6 Easy Steps
Removing a load bearing wall is a large task that requires you to install a new structure to support the load. If not carried out properly, removing a load bearing wall is dangerous and can lead to your walls or roof falling in. Seek professional advice and recommendations throughout the planning process, particularly when you are determining the requirements for the support structure.
Step 1. Apply For A Permit (if applicable)
Before you do anything, find out the local rules and regulations. Firstly, you may need to apply for a permit to remove a load-bearing wall. Secondly, you may need to get a structural engineer to approve your renovation plans. This is important both for safety and for meeting local requirements.
Step 2. Build A Temporary Support Wall
How you do this will depend on how you decide to handle the removal of the load bearing wall. The easiest way to create a suitable support is to build a wall of plywood and 2x4s. Line this up with the joists/ beams that the load-bearing wall supports. This is the way we recommend doing it as building a support wall like this is one of the best ways to ensure your home’s structure is supported when the original wall is removed. This means you can fully remove the wall and then install your structural support rather than needing to complete the project bit by bit.
Step 3. Protect the Floor
Now you are ready to begin taking down the wall. Lay the plastic tarp on the floor on both sides of the wall. This is more about making the clean up process easier rather than protecting the floor but it’s always good to keep mess contained. Depending on the flooring type, the tarp can help protect it from scratches and damage too.
Step 4. Remove the Wall Framing
First, remove the framing of the wall using a pry bar. This is not easy so consider getting a friend to help you and prepare to use plenty of elbow grease.
Step 5. Remove the Rest of the Wall
Next, use the hammer or sledgehammer to remove the rest of the wall. This is going to be messy so be prepared for lots of bags full of debris and lots of sweeping.
Step 6. Install A Steel Structural Beam
Now place a steel beam to carry the load that the wall used to support. It doesn’t have to be steel, it could be strong veneer lumber or something similar. Use both vertical and horizontal joists and use joist hangers to combine them. This will help the beam handle a larger load. The size and material of the support beam should be decided on with the help of a professional. They will be able to determine the exact requirements needed for the beam to support the load without the wall.
Frequently Asked Questions
Considering removing an internal wall in your home? We have answered common questions below to help you.
How much does it cost to knock down a wall between kitchen and dining room?
There are a number of factors that impact the cost of knocking down an internal wall. As a rough guide, removing a load-bearing wall will cost between $1,000 – $3,000 while removing a non-load-bearing wall will cost between $300 – $1,000. If your home has more than one level, the cost will increase to between $3,000 – $10,000.
How do you tell if a wall is load bearing in a split level?
Take a look at the blueprints, if the wall has “S” then it is structural. It’s best to get a structural engineer or architect to have a look and tell you which walls are load bearing. Generally, the walls that are parallel to the above floor joists are not load bearing, but walls that run at a 90-degree angle to the above joists are load bearing. It cannot be assumed that a partial wall is not load-bearing as there could be a beam inside that carries load. Always get a professional to confirm which walls are load bearing.
Do split level homes have load bearing walls?
Yes. If you’re not sure which walls are load bearing the location of the wall to the floor joists above can give you an indication (walls running parallel to the above wall joists are not usually load bearing). However, a structural engineer can come to your home and tell you which walls are load bearing.
Removing an internal wall can be quick and easy if the wall is not load-bearing but it becomes considerably more complicated and expensive if it is. Removing a load-bearing wall can cost thousands of dollars but you can remove it yourself providing you follow the relevant requirements and apply for the necessary permits. We recommend getting a professional’s opinion before you get started to ensure what you plan to do is safe and appropriate. Removing a wall can make a huge difference to the light, space and flow of your home and creates a much more welcoming space for family time and dinner parties.