Breaking a load-bearing wall is not a simple operation. Indeed, unlike a simple partition, the load-bearing wall supports the structure of your home and ensures the right balance. The slightest change can impact the strength of your home. To make your project of depositing a load-bearing wall a success, our experts will provide you with advice and support you in the various essential steps to follow.
What is a load-bearing wall? How to recognize it?
A load-bearing wall is the wall on which all the loads of the dwelling rest. It supports and maintains the roof, the framework and the ground in order to prevent a collapse of the house and to preserve its stability and solidity. Touching this load-bearing wall impacts the balance of the entire house, even for a small breakthrough. Before getting started, it is therefore essential to prepare your project and make the right calculations.
The load-bearing wall is easily distinguished from a simple partition. To determine if a wall is load-bearing, look at several elements.
- If the wall supports the frame, the floor, another wall or the front of your house, it is load-bearing.
- A load-bearing wall is thicker than a partition, that is to say greater than 15 cm.
- Load-bearing walls are identified by knocking on their surface, especially in older houses where all the walls are relatively thick. A load-bearing wall emits a thud, while a simple partition emits a hollow sound. Be careful, however, a load-bearing wall covered with multiple layers of plaster may emit a hollow sound.
What steps should be taken to break a load-bearing wall?
Breaking a load-bearing wall cannot be decided overnight; it is indeed necessary to carry out preliminary administrative procedures, because this type of work affects the structure of a house and is likely to compromise its stability and balance.
To break a load-bearing wall, you must obtain a certificate of feasibility by calling on an architect.
If you own your home, you don’t need to get approval from your neighborhood. However, you will need to apply for a building permit to the town hall planning services of your municipality.
On the other hand, if you are a co-owner of your home, you cannot carry out this type of work as you see fit. You must obtain the agreement of your co-ownership manager. For this, you will need to seek the advice of a technical study office, the architect of the property and a masonry company. Your project must be validated at a General Meeting of co-ownership, either in its ordinary annual form, or in an extraordinary form that you will initiate at any time of the year (the latter being generally at your expense).
In the case of a party wall, in a house or in an apartment, it is advisable to have a contradictory inventory drawn up through a bailiff. This procedure makes it possible to identify any previous damage before the start of the work. Indeed, in his absence, an unscrupulous neighbor can take advantage of your work to have certain previous defects repaired within his home.
Who to contact to break a load-bearing wall and at what cost?
The importance of a load-bearing wall in the balance of the home implies that any action taken against it cannot be undertaken without the intervention of a professional. Here are some tips for doing the right canvassing.
Call on an architect and a Technical Studies Office (BET)
Soliciting the services of an architect and a structural or demolition technical design office is the essential first step of your project. Indeed, these professional experts are the only ones authorized to advise you and inform you about the feasibility of your opening and its repercussions.
Thanks to their precise structural calculations based on the plans of your house and on a visual study, they will direct you to the possibilities available to you. They will be able to advise you on the type, size and exact location of the opening to be made in the load-bearing wall and they will assess the precise points requiring the installation of lintels and props to ensure the good maintenance of the whole. of your home for the duration of the work.
Contact a masonry company
For this type of work, it is essential to have recourse to the services of a company recognized for its know-how and its experience in the deposit of load-bearing walls. This type of work compromises the overall strength and stability of your home; they cannot therefore be entrusted to any masonry company, at the risk of causing significant damage to the structure of your home. So turn to a company that has ten-year demolition insurance and check the validity of this insurance by contacting the company mentioned on the copy of the insurance policy that the professional will have given you.
Select the best companies to carry out your work and have at least three different quotes made so that you can compare offers and services. Do not hesitate to negotiate for a better price, but we recommend that you do not make your choice based on the price, at the expense of quality. The consequences of poorly carried out work will cost you much more than the services of a load-bearing wall deposition professional.
What budget and what timeframe should you expect to break down a load-bearing wall?
There are four main stages in a load-bearing wall deposit project.
- The structural study of the project: this stage, which can last from two to four weeks on average, will cost you between 1,300 and 2,000 euros approximately. It includes the phase of surveys, feasibility study and dimensioning of the reinforcement (between 700 and 1,200 euros) and the phase of execution plans (between 200 and 500 euros).
- The prior declaration of work: this step can take a month to be validated.
- Validation at the General Assembly: if your project must be validated at the General Assembly, allow additional time. This is variable; it depends on the date on which the Annual Ordinary Meeting is held or on your possible initiative to call an Extraordinary Meeting.
- Carrying out the work: this last stage lasts on average between three and five weeks. Plan a budget of 4,000 to 8,000 euros for the opening of your load-bearing wall, including demolition, installation of IPN and masonry. The price varies according to the type of opening chosen, its dimensions and the technique of underpinning.
Obviously, you will have to add to this overall cost varying between 5,300 euros and 10,000 euros the price of your future fittings.
How to proceed with the opening of a load-bearing wall?
The opening of a load-bearing wall itself requires several specific steps relating to the quality of the wall. Indeed, if breaking a partition is simple, attacking a load-bearing wall can upset the balance of the entire house.
Step 1: installation of the IPN lintel
The IPN lintel is a small metal steel beam intended to support the weight of the floors above the load-bearing wall. It preserves the balance that it provided within the house, from the frame to the ground. However, it is not appropriate to install just any lintel; its dimensions must be calculated by the Technical Studies Office (BET) which is involved in your project. For optimum stability, the lintel should protrude 20 cm at each end. After the installation of this lintel, it is sealed in the walls with concrete to strengthen its holding role.
Step 2: drilling the load-bearing wall
To remove or break a load-bearing wall, the masonry company generally uses a grinder, but sometimes a sledgehammer, depending on the thickness and constitution of the wall. The advantage of the grinder is that it limits the risk of destabilizing the IPN lintel and guarantees greater care of the finishes.
Even if we speak of “breaking” a wall, it is in fact a “cut” in the framework of a load-bearing wall, because of its fragility. It is first opened just below the lintel before being gradually broken from top to bottom.
Step 3: installing the props
Props are metal pieces intended to support the load-bearing wall or lintel. Their positioning limits the risk of the floor falling during construction.