As many of us are either choosing to stay put or are unable to move, improving is becoming the new moving, it is possible to upgrade without needing to uproot and move. If your house isn’t working for you, it’s time to make it work harder and think about changing your house layout.
Adding or removing stud walls can transform a room and change your house layout, from opening up an area, to screening other areas off, to creating whole new rooms: your 3 bedroom house could become a 4 bedroom house, or your 3 reception rooms could become a contemporary open plan living space. The possibilities are endless and all it takes is a bit of imagination.
Image from: House to Home
Many people become nervous when home improvements become structural, but knocking a few walls down is far easier than moving house. As long as you have a reliable, quality builder, changing the layout of your home shouldn’t be a difficult or long winded project.
When it comes to structural changes a higher competency of DIY is required, you need to know your walls, so it is best to get an expert in – someone who is in the know when it comes to building regulations.
Changing your house layout
As all walls look the same the first thing you need to establish is whether the wall is load bearing, this will affect how easy or how difficult it is to remove. Load bearing walls are the structural elements of a house which transfer a load between two points and down to the foundations. Removing a load bearing wall, without proper structural support to replace it, can prove disastrous not only short term, but – that is if it remains standing – if/when you decide to sell it in the future.
There may be electric and plumbing structures hiding in the wall, ensure you have had it properly checked out before you take a sledge hammer to it. To make sure your home improvement dream can become a reality and to ensure that you can sleep properly at night, after removing the wall, have a structural engineer inspector take a look. An inspection will cost a few hundred pounds, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can reduce this cost by removing the dry wall or plaster yourself.
Types of wall
Stud partition wall: Made from a timber frame and overlaid with plaster board, these are non-load bearing walls which are easy to remove and ‘make good’.
Partition Wall: Typically a few inches thick and made from brick or blocks, these walls maybe load bearing and will therefore need to be checked, prior to any work being carried out. Providing the walls aren’t load bearing they are relatively easy to remove, but it’s a messy process and areas will need to be plastered to create a finished look.
External Wall: Also made from brick or blocks, externals walls are about double the thickness of internal walls and are more often than not load bearing. If you home improvement plans involve altering an external wall, consulting a structural engineer is essential. Removing or altering external walls is not an easy job, it requires heavy machinery and expertise.
Load bearing wall: If your wall does turn out to be load bearing, you project isn’t necessarily impossible, more difficult and more expensive yes, but probably not impossible. Load bearing beams can be added to provide structural support in place of a wall, this is a job for the processionals, the size of the beam will need to be calculated to ensure it is strong enough to provide adequate support.
Removing a load bearing wall cost from about £2,000.
Adding partition stud walls is a quick and easy way to break up an open plan space or create extra rooms. If the layout of your house isn’t working for you, partition stud walls can transform the flow of your house and how you live in it. If you front door opens straight into the kitchen, a partition can draw you into the living space, or a partition in an open plan living space can help separate a more relaxed TV area from a more formal dinning area without loosing the open plan feel completely.
Installing a partition wall involves more skill than removing one, you need to work out in which direction the ceiling joists run so studs can be attached correctly – it is best to employ a builder.
A 3m x 4m x 2.4m wall will cost around £200 for the materials, plus labour.
Things to remember
Ensure you have adequate insurance that covers you for accidental damage – if someone drills through a pipe make sure you’re covered. It’s also worth remembering that structural changes to a house, particulaly those that result in the creation of a new room, can affect your buildings insurance, keep in touch with your insurance company to make sure you don’t become under insured.
Structural jobs are usually best left to the experts. Structural DIY mistakes are costly to rectify and for peace of mind if you are removing a wall, it’s always good to know how your house is being held up.
If you want to modify your home, add or remove a few walls, post your job for free and we will put you in contact with up to 3 quality, local tradesmen who will provide you with quotes for your project. Review their ratings online and select your preferred tradesman.