Knocking Down Internal Walls | Abbey Partnership
Knocking through internal walls is a popular way to create a spacious, open-plan living area. But it’s important to do it safely, or you could jeopardise the structural integrity of your property. Here we’ll walk you through the process of knocking down internal walls, from the initial planning stage all the way through to the finishing touches.
Why knock through as part of a home renovation?
Knocking down an internal wall separating two rooms could transform those rooms into a large, airy open space. Knocking through is a popular way for home renovators to create an open plan kitchen diner downstairs, or even a large master bedroom from two smaller rooms. This can add value to your property, as well as making it a nicer place to live.
Will I need planning permission to knock through an internal wall?
In most cases, knocking down an internal wall is classified as a permitted development right, meaning that you don’t need to apply for planning permission.
However, there may be other rules and regulations that apply:
- Even if you don’t need planning permission, you might be required to get Building Regulations approval. This is likely if your internal wall is currently providing protection in case of fire, and is often the case in a loft conversion.
- Getting a Building Control certificate to show that the work has been properly carried out may be important when it comes to selling your property.
- Listed buildings cannot be altered without listed building consent from your local council. Even if permission is granted, you may be restricted in the methods and materials you can use to carry out the alteration.
Is it a load-bearing wall?
To protect the structural integrity of your home (and avoid your house falling down!), it’s essential to consult a structural engineer before knocking down any internal wall. A load bearing wall provides vital support to other parts of the building, and getting rid of it could be dangerous. Some internal walls may also be connected to party walls, which means your neighbours could potentially be affected by their removal.
It is still possible to knock down a load-bearing wall, but this is likely to cost significantly more, and be a lengthier process. You’ll need professional help to support the structure both while the wall is being removed and afterwards. You’ll also need a Building Warrant granted by a structural engineer and verified by an architect, to ensure that your project meets all up-to-date building regulations.
Getting the work done
Knocking down an internal wall is as messy and disruptive as you might imagine. So choose a time when your family can make themselves scarce! Cover everything in dust sheets and remove any valuable or fragile objects.
If your wall isn’t load bearing, it is possible to knock down the wall yourself, but we’d recommend calling in the professionals. If the work is being undertaken as part of a home extension or other renovation project, your builders will incorporate it into the rest of the project. Make sure you check their credentials to ensure that all the requisite rules and regulations are being followed.
Making the space your own
Knocking down an internal wall is a great opportunity to transform the whole look and feel of your living area. You may decide to redecorate the (now larger) room to reflect its new function – and your design choices will be influenced by many factors, including a potential increase in the amount of natural light coming into the room.
Here are some things to consider:
- Light switches and plug sockets – If your internal wall previously housed these, you’ll need to think about relocating them on other walls.
- Furniture – Arranging your furniture to create different zones within your open plan space is sometimes known as broken plan living. You could use shelves, seating and other types of furniture to create a defined layout in your new space.
- Flooring – You might decide to unify your new open plan space with consistent flooring throughout. (Or you could opt for different flooring for different areas, to subtly delineate the space).
Contact us for a quote
Could we be the best match to help you with your house extension or loft conversion project? There’s no harm in finding out. Contact us on 0330 108 8838 to arrange a site visit today.
Knocking down walls and remodelling indoors
28 January 2020
11 November 2021
6 minute read
If you’re thinking of remodelling inside your house or flat, there are a few things to know before you start bashing down the walls.
A lot of older buildings weren’t configured with maximising space in mind, so you tend to get a lot of needless walls boxing things in. But removing them can fully transform your living space.
For instance, you might be considering a more open-plan kitchen and living area.
Where food is cooked was traditionally removed from the main living areas. But cooking is an increasingly social activity, and in newer builds, the kitchen is frequently married to the living room. And the trend in modern buildings leans heavily towards more open spaces generally.
But if you live in an older building, you might be thinking it’s time to get handy with the sledgehammer.
Here are the main things to keep in mind before you start swinging.
Is the internal wall load-bearing?
First off, you need to establish if the wall you’re thinking of demolishing is a solid structural wall, or just a partition or ‘stud’ wall.
Sanjay Nairi, CEO of Refurb-It-All – which is a member of the Federation of Master Builders – has some advice for the best way to proceed.
“First of all, give the wall a tap. If there’s a dull sound, it’s likely to be solid. But a hollow sound is an indicator of a stud wall.
“This isn’t necessarily conclusive though. For example, a plywood stud wall may not sound hollow.
“So next check upstairs to see if anything is resting on the wall. If there’s a solid wall in line with it upstairs, or joists resting on it in the attic, that also suggests that the wall downstairs is load-bearing.”
Consulting floorplans should also give you a better idea of whether it should be removed or not.
If in any doubt, it’s best to defer to your builder or structural engineer. They should be able to quickly identify how best to proceed.
Speaking of which, you can read about how to find a reliable tradesperson here.
Should I remove a stud wall myself?
This will largely depend on the complexity of the job, and how handy you are.
If you’re 100% sure that the wall is a stud wall, then you have the option of removing it yourself if you’re confident with your DIY skills.
However, this can be further complicated if there’s pipes or wiring in the wall. It’s best to remove the plasterboard and expose the inside of the wall before concluding whether to demolish it yourself.
If there are any electric sockets or radiators that need to be rerouted or removed, you’ll definitely want to get a pro in.
The wall is load-bearing. Do I need planning permission or a structural engineer?
If a wall is load-bearing, it doesn’t mean it can’t be at least partly removed. However, you’ll certainly want to consult a professional rather than attempting it yourself.
Removing internal walls doesn’t usually require planning permission, but altering a structural wall is likely to require buildings regulations approval.
In this case, you’ll need to get a structural engineer to examine the property and produce a report before building can proceed. This tends to cost around £200-300. Which may not seem cheap for a call-out and piece of paper, but is a good price for the peace of mind that everything’s not going to come crashing down.
Removing a structural wall usually requires beams to be installed, otherwise known as reinforced steel joists (RSJ). So costs begin to stack up, but at least discovering that a wall is load-bearing doesn’t mean you’re out of options.
Other things to consider
Reconfiguring your internal space comes with a few additional considerations. And you probably won’t be surprised to learn that they’re likely to have an effect on the overall cost:
- Will radiators be affected? If so, budget around £250 for installation, or £150 for moving an existing radiator
- Will you need to remove or add electrical points or light switches? This is likely to cost in the region of a couple of hundred pounds, depending on how far the wiring needs to go. If you’re adding new sockets, it’s not a bad idea to add USB charging points while you’re at it
- Will it affect the floor? Sometimes floorboards may have to be taken up. And you may need the floor levelled with screed, or a step put in if the height of the floor on each side doesn’t match.
In addition, although you’re under no obligation to do so, it’s nice to tell your neighbours if you’re having work done. Particularly if there’s going to be noise, and tradespeople with equipment frequently accessing the building.
Do I need to tell my insurer before I start remodelling work?
Don’t forget to tell your insurer before you do any building work or renovation including:
- internal changes (although you don’t need to let us know about routine maintenance or decoration)
- stud wall alterations
- load-bearing wall alterations
Renovating your home can be a big job, don’t forget that there can be lots of space to be found in the garage too!
If you could do with some extra cash to fund your project, see how an Admiral Home Improvement Loan could help.
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Which walls can be demolished? Demolition of walls – required information
- Interior decoration
- How to demolish a load-bearing wall or partition
The problem of an ordinary apartment, small footage, or the dream of an open kitchen are the reasons why we decide to tear down the walls. It is possible to carry out the demolition of partitions without any problems, but the demolition of a load-bearing wall is already a more complicated operation.
- How to prepare?
- What formalities must be observed?
- Can I demolish the walls myself?
Before we start demolishing the walls, we need to carefully analyze which of them are worth and generally can be removed.
In construction, two types of internal partitions are distinguished:
- load-bearing walls that play an auxiliary role and transfer the load of the building to its foundation
- partitions that divide the interior into separate rooms.
Unauthorized demolition of walls can be disastrous.
You can find out whether a particular wall is a load-bearing wall or a partition wall in your housing or house plans. Partitions, as a rule, are marked with strokes, creating a kind of lattice, load-bearing walls – with a thick oblique and slanted lines. We can also do a simple “thickness test”
Removing a load-bearing wall: what to remember?
The demolition of a load-bearing wall is surrounded by many formalities.
First of all, it is necessary to obtain the opinion of the designer or architect.
A specialist will tell us that your open interior plans have a chance of being realized. It is possible that communications pass through the wall of the structure, for example, ventilation for several floors. In such a situation, the elimination of the septum is not an option.
If demolition of the wall is possible, the architect will draw up a so-called project for the reconstruction and demolition of the load-bearing wall.
Then you need to get permission from the city administration.
Removing a partition: basic rules
Removing a partition in a panel house is much easier, but this does not mean that we can carry out work without prior preparation. Also in this case, the designer should be consulted to eliminate risks and make sure that the wall does not take on part of the load from the load-bearing partitions.
If these formalities are not taken care of, self-will can result in serious consequences – destruction or cracks in the ceiling.
If we live in a high-rise or apartment building, we must inform our neighbors in advance that we intend to demolish the walls and, if necessary, obtain their consent in writing.
How to demolish a load-bearing wall or partition?
The demolition of walls is a very serious intervention in architecture, so careful preparation is essential here.
The first step is to clean the room where the work is to be carried out.
If possible, move the furniture to other rooms, or carefully cover them with thick construction film and tape. The floor also requires protection, in this case a thick protective film is purchased.
In an upstairs apartment with access to a large window or balcony, consider tearing down the wall in time, renting a special sleeve or trash can. Disposing of garbage in buckets – especially for large walls … Will be a very tedious and time-consuming task. The staircase will also be in a deplorable state.
You might think that demolition of walls is a task that we can handle ourselves, or maybe it’s better to hire a professional team to do it. Theoretically, we have enough strength, an impact hammer, a circular saw and a perforator (we select tools for the type of wall), in practice, however, the destruction of walls can be quite demanding and even dangerous for a person without certain skills and experience.
What’s more, in the case of a load-bearing wall, improper demolition can lead to very serious legal and financial consequences!
Start of repair work
Repair work begins with the media shutdown.
We break separate fragments of the wall, and disassemble it in parts. A minimum of two people are required to carry out the work. One of them should stand on a stable support, and with the help of a suitable device adapted to the thickness of the wall, break off fragments of the partition, and the partner should support and receive the fragments. It is necessary to carry out the demolition in such a way that they do not appear, but are separated from the wall.
Having planned the demolition of a load-bearing wall or partition, we will analyze whether the enlarged room will be functional and whether it will fulfill all the requirements and hopes.
Example , due to the use of gas equipment (in the case of a room connected to the kitchen) or in relation to daylight. Maybe it’s better to implement the idea just to increase the opening?
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Internal bearing walls
Internal load-bearing walls
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- Internal bearing walls
In low-rise and cottage construction, the internal load-bearing wall not only divides the house into separate rooms, but also performs the function of a “skeleton”, providing the building with mechanical strength. And although there is no need to protect it from environmental influences, the load-bearing wall in the house also needs sound and heat insulation.
According to the rules, the external and internal load-bearing structures are made of the same material and must rest on the same foundation. Accordingly, in most typical projects of monolithic-frame houses, this is a monolithic load-bearing wall. Bearing walls of buildings using polystyrene concrete are 10 times warmer and 1.5 times thinner than reinforced concrete. For their construction, a solution of polystyrene concrete grades D500 and D600 is used.
During the construction of a low-rise building using polystyrene concrete, polystyrene concrete blocks will also become the material of the internal load-bearing walls.
Polystyrene concrete block interior walls
The material has unique properties that it transmits to structures built from it. Thus, internal load-bearing walls made of polystyrene concrete block have a number of advantages:
• Lower final cost per 1 m² of wall;
• do not require additional insulation;
• Impact noise reduction index – 46 dB;
• due to the correct geometry of the block, the surface is ready for fine finishing;
• thanks to the elasticity of the material, cracks are excluded;
• Through holes for utility lines are made quickly and effortlessly.
When choosing a project for building a house, we try to foresee everything to the smallest detail: the number of rooms, their area and location are laid down at the design stage. However, over time, the needs of the residents may change, and it becomes necessary to re-plan.
It is important to remember that damage, structural changes, partial or complete dismantling of internal load-bearing walls can lead to negative consequences. The integrity of the building may be violated, or it will completely collapse. Demolition of the load-bearing wall is prohibited! It is also strictly forbidden to transfer them.
It is also not allowed to gouge load-bearing walls in order to avoid damaging the reinforcement and violating the load-bearing capacity of the wall.
• move a doorway in the load-bearing wall of the house;
• drilling for installing dowels and other fasteners;
• drilling through holes of small diameter (for installation of ventilation, plumbing and sewerage).
The redevelopment of load-bearing walls must be carried out in accordance with the redevelopment project agreed with the author of the house (Article 26 of the Housing Code of the Russian Federation).