Designing a floor plan around open concept is a huge thing right now. When our clients approach us about a home renovation project, open concept is one of the biggest requests.
Those owners who bought homes that were built in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, where the typical layout is a poorly thought out maze of hallways, a kitchen with a small door and a small window and closed off dining rooms where you can place grandma’s dining suite complete with buffet, but never use, are driving the trend to open everything up.
As mentioned, we have had many requests for the removal of walls to open up living areas and kitchens and our team has become very proficient at the job.
HOWEVER, some of these walls are more difficult to remove than just swinging a sledge hammer at them, like you may see on T.V.
In many cases they are load-bearing walls, meaning they hold up the structure of what is above them; a second story or roof. This type of work is not for the do-it-yourselfer.
In this case, you need to retain a contractor who can identify this. They should have access to a structural engineer who specializes in residential construction. They together, can plan out the approach and prepare the correct drawings for the building permit.
The other issue, is that many of these walls contain heat system duct work, electrical and plumbing. This complicates the matter, because you will need to reroute the duct work and electrical or relocate the plumbing. In most cases you can’t simply eliminate them. Matching flooring or deciding if a new floor is required, are other considerations.
My advice is to give careful thought to wall removal, and make sure you use a contractor qualified to take the project on. Open concept living is a trend that fits today’s lifestyles, but it needs to be done correctly and safely.