How much does it cost to remove a load bearing wall?
There’s no better way to transform a space than removing a load bearing wall. In fact, the cost of knocking down a load bearing wall may be less than you think, and it can even be completed in as little as two days.
From creating a light and airy open plan layout, to building an extension, or even turning two small rooms in to one that’s right for you, removing a load bearing wall massively expands the design opportunities for your home.
Below, we’ve researched the cost to remove load bearing walls along with our top tips on how to save money.
|Load bearing wall removal costs||Unit||Cost +VAT (low range)||Cost +VAT (high range)||Average cost|
|Single doorway (approx. 1m)||Per project||-||-||£1,250|
|Double doorway (approx. 2m)||Per project||-||-||£1,500|
|Large open plan (around 4m)||Per project||-||-||£1,750|
|Rolled steel joist (RSJ) – material cost||Per project||£800||£950||£875|
|Lintel Beams (concrete)||Per lintel||£7||£400||£203|
|Lintel Beams (steel)||Per lintel||£8||£1,050||£529|
|Knocking through kitchen and dining room||Per project||£1,200|
Average cost of removing a load bearing wall
The most commonly removed walls are those between the kitchen, dining room and living room, as well as external walls for conservatories. On average, prices range from £1,250 to £1,750 to remove the wall and £800-£950 to install suitable supports.
To help you price this job we spoke to Bob Branscombe (MRICS and MCIOB qualified), who has 34 years in the industry with Branscombe Consulting. He provided us with estimated, average prices for load bearing wall removal.
What is a load bearing wall?
Load bearing walls support the floor or roof above, whilst non-load bearing walls only support themselves. While external walls are usually load bearing, identifying an internal load bearing wall isn’t as simple as knocking on it and checking for a hollow sound. Even partial walls can contain microlam beams that make them load bearing.
The best way to identify a load bearing wall is with a structural engineer or professional builder.
What does removing a load bearing wall involve?
Prior to removing a wall you should have it inspected by a builder or structural engineer to identify any electrical or plumbing issues and whether the wall is load bearing. Engineers and builders cost approximately £200 per visit.
Once you’ve agreed to go ahead then the space should be cleared of any furniture or decorations and a dust screen put up (trust us when we say, dust gets everywhere!). Then, any electrics should be disconnected and plumbing such as radiators should be removed.
With both rooms now cleared a temporary support can be installed to prop up the masonry above the room. An opening will be cut, where padstones and a supporting beam will be fitted – typically a rolled steel joist (RSJ). The RSJ will either be recessed into the ceiling for a seamless transition between the rooms, or protrude into the room, which can be a design feature in and of itself.
The wall is then knocked down and the temporary supports are taken out. You’re now left with the new opening and the RSJ which is dry packed and covered. Lastly, the waste is removed and any dust extracted.
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What factors affect the cost of knocking down a load bearing wall?
Your load bearing wall removal cost will depend on the size of the job and the quality of the contractor you use to complete the work. A single doorway sized space (approx. 1m) can cost around £1,250; a double doorway sized space (approx. 2m) around £1,500; and a larger open plan space (around 4m) around £1,750.
There’s also the cost of the supporting structures. RSJ’s cost around £800-£950, whilst lintels (to support doors and windows) range from £7-£400 for concrete lintels and £8-£1,050 for steel lintels.
Waste removal is typically included in the price quoted but if not then it will cost around £200 to remove any waste.
How long does it take to remove a load bearing wall?
All in all, it usually takes around 2 to 3 days to remove a load bearing wall, a remarkably quick time when you consider the huge positive change it can bring to your home. The first two days will usually be spent installing the RSJ, removing the existing wall and taking away any waste. Then plaster and finishing can be done on the next day. Additional days will be required for any electrical or plumbing work.
How much does it cost to replace a load bearing wall?
If you change your mind or later want to change the layout then you can replace the internal load bearing wall that has been removed with a stud partition wall. This is the cheapest solution as the load is already being borne by the RSJ.
To replace a load bearing wall costs around £100-£150 per sqm.
Adding a new door costs around £70.
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Knocking through kitchen and dining room cost
One excellent project to really open up the space in a home is to remove the load bearing wall between a kitchen and dining room. This means you can entertain your guests whilst cooking for them, or feel part of family conversations whilst cooking a meal. You can even rearrange your kitchen to take advantage of the space, adding a kitchen island or breakfast bar.
Knocking through the kitchen and dining room wall costs more than some other projects due to the extra risk of pipework, plumbing and electrics that will need to be rerouted. On average, removing the wall between a kitchen and dining room costs £1,200.
Do I need planning permission to remove a load bearing wall?
No, planning permission is not required, unless you live in a listed building. You may need to apply for a building notice from your local council or a private building control body. This will also give you the reassurance that all fire regulations will still be adhered to.
Once the work is complete it’s highly recommended you apply for a completion certificate from the building control body. This will make it easier to sell the property and will give you piece of mind that all work has been properly certified. A completion certificate costs around £250-£450.
If the load bearing wall to be removed is adjacent to a party wall (a shared wall with a neighbour), then the RSJ will need to be placed within this wall. As this wall is also owned by your neighbour, you’ll need their agreement to do this. Therefore, a party wall agreement will be required.
Arranging a party wall agreement costs around £100. This can rise to over £1,000 if they refuse and both parties are in dissent, requiring structural engineers to reach an agreement on the works. Once works are completed, if your neighbours’ home is impacted you will need to fix it at your own expense as well. It’s important to have photos taken of both sides of the party wall in order to avoid any disputes.
Additional costs to consider
With the wall removed the remaining costs include any work done to make good the space. This could include levelling out the floor and ceiling where the two rooms meet, fixing any sagging ceilings, replacing flooring and any other decorating work.
If you removed a radiator, or no longer feel the existing radiators are enough to heat the space it costs around £300 for a new radiator to be installed, with new pipework adding to the cost. Moving light switches and sockets will cost an additional £150-£250.
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Key takeaways for calculating load bearing wall removal costs
- Removing a load bearing wall is a great way to open up a space or create new spaces with an extension.
- It’s not easy to tell whether a wall is loading bearing, so be sure to consult with a specialist.
- The main costs are to knock down the wall and to install an RSJ to support the masonry above.
- Building notices, party wall agreements and completion certificates may be needed.
- Moving radiators and plugs, as well as any decorating and plastering will also add to the cost.
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