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How To Remove A Load Bearing Wall & Install a Beam

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Today, I’m sharing how to remove a load bearing wall in a kitchen that Jim is currently renovating. Removing a load bearing wall will require installing a support beam in attic in order to support the structural integrity of your home.

This split level fixer upper is about to be welcomed into the modern era and I can’t wait to see the kitchen wall between the dining room and living room removed! We are also vaulting the ceiling which will also help drastically transform this older home.

open kitchen living room layout split level house with vaulted ceilings
how to remove a load bearing wall

How To Remove A Load Bearing Wall And Install A Hidden Beam

It’s crucial to add a support beam when removing any wall to ensure the stability and strength of the house.

Ideally, concealing the support beam in the attic is the optimal solution for a clean and polished finish.

How to Add An LVL Support Beam

Adding an LVL architectural beam is how you support a load bearing wall if you want to remove such wall. 

Just a side note before we get started:

Identifying and removing a load bearing wall is for a licensed professional contractor and not a DIY homeowner project. Hire a professional (if you are local to central Massachusetts you can hire Jim!) and check with your local building department for building permit requirements. 

What is a Load Bearing Wall?

The load bearing wall below is the wall between the kitchen, dining room and living room.

A load bearing wall is what supports the weight above the wall.

1970s split level house kitchen wall with dining room and living room
hiring someone who knows how to remove a load bearing wall is one of the best ways to modernize a home

You do not want to remove a load bearing wall without replacing it with a load bearing support beam that will support the weight of the roof.

You will risk your roof caving in if you do!

Be sure to check with your local building department for permit information prior to work.

Removing A Load Bearing Wall Before And After

Here is a picture of the side hutch wall most of the facing wall removed.

adding a LVL beam to a load bearing wall split level house kitchen
removing this load bearing wall completely transformed the kitchen and living room

Temporary Support Wall

As you can see above, we left the 2×4 framed wall which is a load bearing wall as a “temporary wall” until we got the new LVL support beams installed. You will need to build temporary walls as structural elements until the LVLs are completeley installed.  

Here is a picture of the ceiling after we removed the load bearing wall (the wall that separates the kitchen from the dining and living room) and removed the ceiling in order to create a cathedral ceiling.

LVL load bearing beam, open ceiling with strapping, cathedral kitchen, living room

Installing a load bearing beam up in the ceiling is what allowed us to open up the space and remove the walls.

You can see the two LVL beams above the strapping pieces directly below the roof.

Here is a quick look at the fully remodeled kitchen. You can find a full tour of this kitchen by visiting, best split level kitchen remodel before and after blog post.

split level kitchen remodel with island and vaulted ceiling
I love how the kitchen and living room look now that the load bearing wall has been removed

How Do You Install LVL Support Beam

Here are the details about how to remove a load bearing wall and how we installed the load bearing support beam. 

Getting the support beam into the house was a challenge as length of the beam was 20 feet long and very heavy they pulled it in through the window. 

man pulling LVL beam through a window
adding the LVL beam to support the house once the load bearing wall was removed

All kidding aside, this is not a DIY project, not only do you need to hire a professional contractor but you need to do your research and make sure they are licensed and have experience removing a load bearing wall. 

Once the support beam was in the house, they used support braces to assist in keeping the beam in place.

adding a LVL beam to a load bearing wall split level house kitchen

How Expensive Is It To Remove A Load-Bearing Wall?

We added two LVL support beams that were fastened together with lag bolts.

The two LVL beams were approximately $285 each which Jim picked up at our local lumber yard. 

adding a LVL beam to a load bearing wall split level house kitchen
how to remove a load bearing wall

The support beam is fastened to support posts at each end of the house that continue down to the foundation.

LVLsupport beam for load bearing wall attached to support brace in ceiling
support LVL beam now supports the structure of the house and is hidden in the attic

The two LVL support beams up top are fastened together with lag bolts.

LVL support beam on support post at peak of roof

When adding a support beam to a load bearing wall, you will need a design plan from a structural engineer with calculations to submit to the town for their records.

This type of project will most likely require a permit from your town.

Be sure to check your town building requirements.

If you are hiring a licensed contractor, they should know all of the town requirements.

Open cathedral ceiling with LVL support beam

The architect/engineer drawing up your plans will measure the existing house conditions and calculate the load requirements for the beam in order to size the LVLs required.

The engineer will use a load bearing beam calculator to determine your materials needed.

Keep in mind, the cost of the LVL support beam materials will not be your only cost. The cost of the LVLs will be determined by the size calculated based on the weight of the structure.

Once the support beams were installed, they removed the temporary wall frame and bracing.

cathedral ceiling with strapping
if you look closely you will see the lvl support beam hidden under the ceiling strapping

Overall, this project would have cost between $3500 and $5550 depending on the scope, architect costs and your licensed contractor. Obviously Jim and his crew did the work so that saved us on the labor, which is the most expensive part of the job.

The strapping (the long skinny pieces of wood running along the ceiling) are to attach the white planks that we have coming. 

LVL load bearing beam, open ceiling with strapping, cathedral kitchen, living room

Yes!! The ceiling will not be sheetrock, it will be country style white planks! 

The next step is to do the electrical wiring and insulate. 

Looking to see all of the home remodeling projects we did in this split level home? See them in order below.

Split Level Home Renovation Series

Be sure to check out last weeks post to see the kitchen load bearing wall before we tore it down. The 1970’s kitchen was pretty scary! 

Disclosure: This post is for demonstrative purposes only. Identifying and removing a load bearing wall is for a licensed professional and not a DIY homeowner project. Hire a professional and check with your local building department for the necessary permits and requirements.

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

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