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Old 10-18-2011, 10:27 AM   #1
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taking down a wall and installing a new countertop


hello all... glad to have found this site...

i'm about to (hopefully) embark on my first real project after watching hundreds of hours of diy-network... i'd like to describe it and hopefully get some good feedback from all the experts here...

my folks live in a co-op apt that's at least 60 yrs old...

i'm going to be taking down about 10ft of wall between the living room and kitchen to open up the space completely... actually i'll only be cutting an opening in the wall between the soffit and the base cabinets... i'll be removing the existing laminate countertop and putting a prefab 8'x25.5" granite countertop over the existing "base" cabinet (actually, it's a wall cabinet put on the floor due to the tiny space) and what will be left of the old wall... i'm also going to replace the countertop on the other side of the kitchen where the sink and faucet are and put in an undermount sink and new faucet...

i plan on doing the granite work myself after purchasing two prefab slabs of 8'x25.5"... the sink cutout's gonna be the toughest part i presume... i just need to buy the right tools and attachments...

my main concern, of which i have many, is getting all the permits and approvals...

first, i need authorization from the coop board, then i need authorization from the township... i called the township and they said i need to be licensed to get the permit... how to get around this?

some more notes...
- the wall, according to the coop office is NOT load-bearing (thank goodness)
- there "should" be no electrical or plumbing to do behind the wall since i don't see any receptacles or switches... bad assumption?
- there's a telephone jack which i'll just get rid of since it's not even used...
- i'll also be getting rid of a door frame that's connected to the wall i that want to take down/cut through...

questions:
- do i need to get a permit if want to install a sink on my own?
- should i worry about lead paint or asbestos issues when cutting through this wall?

i'll try to post pictures and diagrams eventually...

thanks...

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Old 10-18-2011, 10:35 AM   #2
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taking down a wall and installing a new countertop


I suspect the permit issue came up because you are not the property owner. In my area, if you do work for someone else, even a relative, you need the proper credentials. A work around that they left open though is...have the home owner get the permit and they "do the work" with you "helping" them. A home owner is allowed to perform work on and in his home around here

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Old 10-18-2011, 12:43 PM   #3
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taking down a wall and installing a new countertop


You also need to know whether the wall is load bearing. If it is, the job just got a whole lot bigger. And since it's a co-op, you probbably don't have access to the floor(s) below. This would be needed to put in the proper support to carry the new load points down to the main supports below your floor.
Being that the building is 60 years old, the floors are probably wood framed.
Do you know how to determine if a wall is load bearing?
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:54 PM   #4
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taking down a wall and installing a new countertop


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You also need to know whether the wall is load bearing. If it is, the job just got a whole lot bigger. And since it's a co-op, you probbably don't have access to the floor(s) below. This would be needed to put in the proper support to carry the new load points down to the main supports below your floor.
Being that the building is 60 years old, the floors are probably wood framed.
Do you know how to determine if a wall is load bearing?
i called the coop office and even brought in a contractor to get an estimate of the work and they both confirmed it's not load-bearing...

i'm assuming the only way to really tell if it's load bearing is to look at the direction of the joists above and/or below and if it's parallel to those joists, then it certainly cannot be load-bearing, but if it's perpendicular, then it might be...

also looking at the top plate, if it's doubled up, then that could be a clue that it's load-bearing...

but really the only way to know is if you look at the original blueprints, right?
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Old 10-18-2011, 02:03 PM   #5
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taking down a wall and installing a new countertop


so here's a rough idea of what i want to do... i pulled these images off of mls and edited it as i don't have the exact apt pictures handy, but you get the idea...

the first photo shows where i want to make the cutout... it includes cutting out the door frame... the green outline is where the countertop is going to be...

in the second photo, it's a shot from the inside of the kitchen... i'm leaving up the rightmost cabinet and i'll be cutting from the edge of the cabinet...

now, i have a general question about replacing the range hood (circled)with an over-the-range microwave... can it be done if there is no outlet in the cabinet above? do i have to somehow splice the microwave's cord and wire it into the old range hood's power connection?

thanks.

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:37 PM   #6
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taking down a wall and installing a new countertop


It should be pretty easy to find out if it's load bearing, but I'm confused why you would ask if both the contractor and co-op office confirmed it was not.
I'm also more then a little impressed that a clerk in the co-op office was so aware of the buildings structure. You don't see that depth of competance too much anymore. You're a lucky man.
The fan. If you don't have enough wire to put an outlet in the cabinet over the new microwave, you need to run a new wire. You can't have hidden junction boxes in the wall. You might get lucky and find the wire comes down from above the cabinets.
What's above your co-op, another apartment?
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:43 PM   #7
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taking down a wall and installing a new countertop


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It should be pretty easy to find out if it's load bearing, but I'm confused why you would ask if both the contractor and co-op office confirmed it was not.
I'm also more then a little impressed that a clerk in the co-op office was so aware of the buildings structure. You don't see that depth of competance too much anymore. You're a lucky man.
The fan. If you don't have enough wire to put an outlet in the cabinet over the new microwave, you need to run a new wire. You can't have hidden junction boxes in the wall. You might get lucky and find the wire comes down from above the cabinets.
What's above your co-op, another apartment?
i'm asking just to triple-check...

there's nobody above the apt, just the roof...

as for putting the microwave in place of the fan, i'm assuming you can't just splice up the plug and connect it to the wires that were connecting the fan, huh?

i guess i'll have to hire an electrician to put in a receptacle in the cabinet directly above the microwave...
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:03 PM   #8
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taking down a wall and installing a new countertop


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i'm asking just to triple-check...

there's nobody above the apt, just the roof...

as for putting the microwave in place of the fan, i'm assuming you can't just splice up the plug and connect it to the wires that were connecting the fan, huh?

i guess i'll have to hire an electrician to put in a receptacle in the cabinet directly above the microwave...
If you have access to the roof, say through a hatch, you can see which way the beams run.
The microwave has a plug you put into a receptacle. If the wire is long enough, you insert the wire you have into a standard outlet/switch box and install an outlet.
I don't know what," just splice up the plug ..." means, but I'm in agreement about the electrician.

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