What You Need to Know Before You Start!

Thinking of doing some renovations? It’s springtime! This time of year, the weather is beautiful and many people decide to take on home improvement projects. Your home is your castle and the largest asset you have.  It should reflect who you are and look the way you want it to look. At Southeast Engineers, we completely agree that changing a home to more reflect your needs is a great idea! However, it is important to remember that some changes may affect the structural integrity of your house. Over the years, we have met with many homeowners looking to make changes. We can help!

When you think about “opening up your floor plan” or completely redesigning your home, you need to be aware that load bearing walls are in your home. A load-bearing wall is exactly what it sounds like. It is a wall that supports some weight in the house. All of the walls on the outside of the house are load bearing, but there are also walls on the inside of the house that are load bearing. If you simply remove a load bearing wall, you have effectively destabilized your home.

Additionally, in a traditional house with no basement or exposed beams, it can be very hard to identify which walls are load bearing. If you have the original plans for the house, you may be able to identify them yourself. Otherwise, it is best to call in a professional to determine where the load bearing walls are located.

If it turns out that the wall you want to remove is a load bearing wall, your renovation is not dead in the water. There are ways to go about it. Southeast Engineers has worked with many clients to not only determine which walls are load bearing but also design a plan so that the homeowner can still achieve the renovation of their dreams.  

Stabilizing the area with an appropriately sized beam to distribute the load onto adjacent columns or walls is the most common course of action. Southeast Engineers can determine the beam size that can both stabilize the load and accommodate your renovation plan. This gives the homeowner the new floor plan they want while still maintaining the structural integrity of the house.  

Often, our redesign clients come to us once they have already started the renovation. They have already paid deposit fees to contractors when the contractor realizes they are about to remove a load bearing wall. This can not only drag out the time the house is under renovation but depending on how far along the contractor is, might also require them to repair some of the work already installed. This all adds to the cost of the project and can be avoided by consulting Southeast Engineers beforehand.

Southeast Engineers are proud to offer our clients onsite assessments to diagnose problems, make cost-effective repairs and provide expert advice.  Consultations start at $500. Call us at (225) 295-1880 or visit us online before you get started on your spring projects.