Removing a load bearing wall

This is a tricky DIY job so make sure you’re prepared!

Level of difficulty

Level 3: Advanced

Things you’ll need

Scaffold boards
Needles on jacks
Chisel
Club hammer
Bolster
Padstones
Mortar
Beam
Tape measure
Brick-cutting saw

The steps to follow

1. Determine if your wall is a load-bearing or non-load bearing wall. Consult an expert’s advice before removing any wall
2. Because load-bearing walls carry the weight of your home, you will need to set up scaffold boards that run to ceiling height, on both sides of the wall before you start removing the wall

Note: 
If your floor cannot carry the weight or shows signs of springing, you will need to install props on your floor foundation. This usually requires lifting up your floorboards.

3. In some cases, you’ll need to use needles on jacks directly above the props. Needles will need to be fitted through the walls if this is a brickwork project
4. To fit needles through the wall, mark where you want the needles to go on the wall. Cut away the plaster and chisel a hole
5. Position props on scaffold boards under each needle with a distance of no more than 60cm (2 ft) from the wall
6. Start working from the top, hack off the plaster with a club hammer
7. Once the plaster is cleared and the brickwork is exposed, work from the top to cut out the brickwork by chopping down with a bolster

Note: When removing a load-bearing wall, you must replace it with a permanent header or posts strong enough to carry the weight. You can also install a beam instead of a header.

8. Installing a beam
a) Set up a work platform. You will need this work platform to lift your beam up to the top of the opening
b) Measure the space that will be required to fit the beam and padstones
c) Be sure to remove two or three courses of bricks from the far sides below the ceiling joists; this is where you need to fit the padstones for your beam
d) Bed padstones in mortar at the top ends of the wall opening
e) Lift and fit the beam in place
f) Fill any holes or gaps with pieces of slate and mortar. You can also rebuild missing brickwork by applying a bed of mortar and fill the gap with new bricks
g) Let it set for 2 days. Remove the props and needles, and fill in the holes
9. At this stage, you can use a brick-cutting saw to remove the rest of the brickwork. Stop when you reach the last course below the floorboards

Please note that all our DIY guides and ‘Expert answers’ advice have been written strictly for reference only. Rated People do not accept any liability for any damage caused to an individual, property or anything else as a result of following our DIY guides and using our ‘Expert answers’ advice.

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