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Expanding Your Kitchen But Worried About Removing Walls? What You Should Know First

by Kyle Carpenter

If your home was constructed in the 1950s, 60s, or 70s, you may find yourself dealing with a kitchen that's just a bit too small to fit your family's needs, along with a walled-off dining area that has become a repository for random papers, toys, or other items. Removing this wall to create an open space can enhance the feel of your entire dining area, but you may feel that removing entire walls and changing your home's "footprint" feels beyond your DIY abilities.

Read on to learn more about some of the factors you'll want to consider when breaking out an interior wall, as well as a few things you may want to consider in redesigning your new kitchen and dining space.

How can you determine if the wall you want to remove is load-bearing?

The thought of tearing out a kitchen wall can be an intimidating one. However, this project is within the skill set of the handy homeowner as long as a few precautions are put into place.

First, you'll need to determine whether the wall you want to remove is load-bearing. Removing a load-bearing wall without properly shoring up the other walls could impact the structural integrity of your home and put you in violation of local building codes; in some cases, you may even be prevented from selling your home until these issues are corrected.

If this wall does happen to be load-bearing, you shouldn't despair, but you may need to enlist the help of a demolition contractor to ensure that proper reinforcements are made to the other supporting walls so that these walls can still support the weight of your home.

Spotting a load-bearing wall can be fairly simple in homes with basements—you'll need only to go to your basement, look up, and see which walls interact with your home's foundation. Exterior walls are nearly always load-bearing, as they connect to both the foundation and the roof, and walls that are supported by vertical poles, posts, or beams in your basement are also usually load-bearing. If your basement is finished and these poles or beams have been walled over, it's usually safe to assume that the upstairs walls that run parallel to your basement walls are load-bearing as well.

If your home has a crawl space instead, you should still be able to see which walls are supported by the foundation, but you may need to crawl into this area with a flashlight or head lamp to be certain you've spotted all the necessary supports. 

What should you keep in mind when creating an open kitchen and dining space?

Even if you're not planning to make many underlying changes to your kitchen during this process, it can often make sense to evaluate the "flow" of your kitchen and how your new space will tie in.

For example, if your appliances are clustered in one corner of your kitchen and blocked from your new dining area by a lengthy counter, you may find that dodging this counter each time you're bringing food to or from the dining table becomes tedious. Instead, installing a central island or counter that runs parallel to the outer wall can be a good way to free up central floor space and give this area a more open and inviting feel.

By that same token, you'll want to take energy efficiency into account. Placing your refrigerator or chest freezer next to hot appliances like an oven or dishwasher can force both to work harder than they need to, causing your electricity bill to skyrocket. Separating these appliances with plenty of counter space can ensure that each is working to its peak capacity without draining electricity in the process.  

To learn more and receive more assistance, contact companies like Garrett Concrete Cutting, Coring & Sawing Inc - Chino.