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Old 09-17-2011, 02:35 PM   #1
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Removing load bearing walls


I just closed on a condo in Sacramento. I had plans to open up the space but have just been told all 3 walls that I wanted to remove are load bearing. I am so disappointed. What can I expect to pay for each wall? One is 12 feet, the other two are about 10 ft. I can live with some posts. What is the least expensive way to do it. Can most licensed contractors do this right and if they are only doing this job how long should it take?

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Old 09-17-2011, 02:39 PM   #2
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Removing load bearing walls


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I just closed on a condo in Sacramento. I had plans to open up the space but have just been told all 3 walls that I wanted to remove are load bearing. I am so disappointed. What can I expect to pay for each wall? One is 12 feet, the other two are about 10 ft. I can live with some posts. What is the least expensive way to do it. Can most licensed contractors do this right and if they are only doing this job how long should it take?
Call a licensed and insured contractor and ask them how much it would cost to do the job and get the required permits and inspections. That is the ONLY way you can get an idea of how much time it will take and how much it will cost.

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Old 09-19-2011, 11:55 AM   #3
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Removing load bearing walls


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I just closed on a condo in Sacramento. I had plans to open up the space but have just been told all 3 walls that I wanted to remove are load bearing. I am so disappointed. What can I expect to pay for each wall? One is 12 feet, the other two are about 10 ft. I can live with some posts. What is the least expensive way to do it. Can most licensed contractors do this right and if they are only doing this job how long should it take?
Are you sure that your homeowners association allows you to do structural modifications? It seems to me that they wouldn't, especially since your load bearing walls may be holding up the unit above you.

If you are allowed to do the work, any professional contractor should be able to do it fairly quick. I widened an opening in a load bearing wall in my house and it took two days (and I'm no professional). I had to move an AC register and relocate some electrical work too. The two days did not include the finish work and repair to the plaster.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:17 PM   #4
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Removing load bearing walls


Yes, it's permitted. It's only one story. Thanks for your response regarding time. Any idea what is a reasonable price for one wall.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:48 PM   #5
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I have no idea what it would cost; I do all my work myself and don't pay contractors.

However, the permit itself will be a couple hundred dollars but the material should be really cheap. The price could also vary based on what utilities are inside the wall and if the foundation needs to be modified for the change in load path.

Just call a contractor - unless you are wanting to try the work yourself. This is a DIY forum
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:50 PM   #6
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:32 PM   #7
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Removing load bearing walls


What's wrong with this picture? Opinions being offered on the possible cost of materials to open up load bearing walls in a condominium. No photographs, no drawings, no idea of the loads. Suggestions that a contractor can simply price and build the project.

This is absurd. Step one is to determine that the work is permitted under the condominimum regulations. Once that is done, you get either an engineer or architect to design the project. Since the work is almost certainly going to impact other units in the building, this is not a good DIY project. The engineer or architect will put together plans for the project, and you can then bid it. Speculating on cost of materials, permit costs, or any other costs at this point is worthless.
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
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What's wrong with this picture? Opinions being offered on the possible cost of materials to open up load bearing walls in a condominium. No photographs, no drawings, no idea of the loads. Suggestions that a contractor can simply price and build the project.

This is absurd. Step one is to determine that the work is permitted under the condominimum regulations. Once that is done, you get either an engineer or architect to design the project. Since the work is almost certainly going to impact other units in the building, this is not a good DIY project. The engineer or architect will put together plans for the project, and you can then bid it. Speculating on cost of materials, permit costs, or any other costs at this point is worthless.
This is the most accurate and sensible thing I've read yet about this. If you bypass these steps you could end up in a huge legal mess. You cannot modify structure without proper permits, you will have to submit engineered drawings to the board for approval and then most likely be required to use the necessary contractors they approve of. May get a greater return on your project by leaving the walls in place and opting for better quality finishes and flooring.
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:46 PM   #9
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I hope no one else intends to insert themselves into my original question. It is apparent that the last three did not read or understand my original post. I already established that it was permitted. I also indicated that I intended to contact a licensed contractor when I asked if most liscensed contractors would be capable of doing this job. I never indicated that I was trying to bypass codes and common sense!
I don' know why some of you assumed I was planning to do the work myself. I was simply wanting some idea of how big of a job it would be so I wouldn't be blindsided when I met with contractors. Some of you need to calm down before you respond to questions while assuming too much and calling them absurd. I did however learn something. This is not a good place to get some friendly feedback if you don't already know the answer to your own question.
I won't be coming here anymore for neighborly help.
But thanks to you who did respond in an appropriate manner
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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Removing load bearing walls


Digle (if you are still around), don't take this the wrong way, but your lack of knowledge of what could be involved in answering your question led to the vague answers you got. No one from afar can judge the loads on the walls, how you want it finished, what the layout is, what the foundation would need to be (what kind of soil, is there a basement, etc), on so on. THe answers you got were the right ones you just didn't know enough (nothing wrong with not knowing something) to understand why the answers were right.
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:13 PM   #11
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But the last three commenters were right.
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:28 PM   #12
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Digle, it's not as simple as "I want that wall down." You have to look at the entire load path, top to bottom. It's impossible for anyone to answer without a design and contractor prices range from town to town.
I don't think you need to hire engineer as any seasoned contractor should be able tell you what's involved. A simple as a beam should be able to be spec'ed at the lumber yard.
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Old 09-25-2011, 03:43 AM   #13
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Removing load bearing walls


without seeing pics and the structural drawings of the building, it is impossible for someone on the net to tell how how much/how long, or if this would even be a viable option. And keep in mind it may be quick to have a crew come in and do the framing, however then all the finishing work will have to be done as well. Also what are the chances you will have to move electrical/plumbing/HVAC from 1 or more of these walls? these things can add to the cost considerably.

you will have point loads that are transferred from the roof to the foundation. So it is not just a matter of taking down walls and throwing up beams, you have to make sure the load is carried down.

Talk to a general contractor who will take care of the permits, plans and inspections, and will get the job done.

The least expensive route may be a bit of a compromise, open up 1 wall instead of attempting to completely restructure your entire condo.

Last edited by chrisBC; 09-25-2011 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:26 AM   #14
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Removing load bearing walls


I am saying this in a mild manner so you will know I am not being aggressive. You have come to a DIY site asking for bids and time estimates. This advice would be best answered in the "Contractor's Forum" but I doubt it would be because it is impossible to see what is loading your wall. Is it rafters, is it ceiling joists, is it a beam from another load? You see our point, you have not told us enough information and you still want us to do a bid for you and an estimate of time which is impossible with the amount of information you have provided. Sorry we couldn't help you.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:36 AM   #15
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Removing load bearing walls


Being that you have it permitted then you have plans on what to do so the hard part is done right. Why don't post the plans so everyone can see what you are talking about. You may get a better response.

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