Knock it Down: Open Floor Plan 101

2. Find the Load-Bearing Walls

Sometimes the best laid plans aren’t possible, or require extra work to achieve because of the way your home is built. It’s crucial that you don’t take down any load-bearing walls or else it won’t be long before the rest of your home is coming down as well. Typically exterior walls and walls that are located towards the center of the home tend to be load-bearing, but there could be others, too. If you have the original plans from your home, that is the quickest way to determine which walls are load-bearing, but if not, it will require more research.

Most of the evidence as to whether or not a wall is load-bearing is hidden behind the sheetrock of the walls, so you’ll likely need to remove a portion of the sheetrock to determine this for sure, but if you see any beams, you need to be wary of altering the wall and should bring a structural engineer in to help. In many cases it is still possible to remove parts of a load bearing wall, but other supports will need to be put into place to do so. It’s always a good idea to have a licensed professional come in and help you determine what’s safe when you are altering the structure of your home.