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non-supporting wall

(12 Posts)
Caterpillar0 Tue 06-Aug-13 15:09:58

we've got a builder coming over to assess what, if anything, they can do with the miserable arch

poocatcherchampion Tue 06-Aug-13 07:30:05

agree it is almost certainly supporting. why don't you get a couple of builders round to have a look at it then you know one way or another whether it is feasible?

Caterpillar0 Mon 05-Aug-13 23:18:38

Eek. Sounds right though. We'll just have to be imaginative with the space then
Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge

lalalonglegs Mon 05-Aug-13 22:57:49

So typical Victorian terrace with front parlour/back parlour and a long narrow corridor to a rear kitchen? The wall you are talking about is nearly always load-bearing so there definitely should be some support in there. The wall that is slightly bigger I'm guessing is on the hallway side of the room and is wider because it allows for the rear reception to bend inwards around the staircase. A foot is about normal for a nib, maybe a little bit on the narrow side - it is a bit of wall that juts out to allow the beam/support to rest securely on it. That support is holding up a lot of the floor joists on the storey above. Without building a bigger support into the party wall, there's not going to be a lot you can do.

Caterpillar0 Mon 05-Aug-13 22:43:05

This floor plan is similar to ours

exactly the same entrance, hall way and 2 reception rooms lay out on the ground floor. So if the wall between the 2 receptions here is supporting, ours would be too I guess. What do you think? we have an arch where they have the separating wall

Our ground floor is only different to this in that we don't have a dining room at the back, just a larger kitchen. First floor is the same, except we have a separate shower and loo and no utility room

Caterpillar0 Mon 05-Aug-13 22:21:03

Unfortunately I don't have a floor plan and the property pictures don't show the arch.
it is a Victorian terrace. Front door, hall to stairs and kitchen at the back. Off the hall are two smallish receptions (13'7 x 10'6 and 10'2 x 8'8), separated by an arch, which hangs down about a foot and a half. The sides of the arch (what I called quarter walls, for lack of technical terminology) are less than two feet (one is about a foot, then other a bit bigger).
It's all a bit awkward. It does seem like a lot of wall for a beam. Does the beam just go over the top or can it come down the sides too?

thanks for advising, btw. Much appreciated!

lalalonglegs Mon 05-Aug-13 22:11:00

It probably is cut back as far as it can be - if there is a beam in there. What is the layout of the house and which two rooms is the arch between? You can usually have a good stab at working out if the wall that has been opened up is supporting by looking at a floorplan.

Assuming that there is support lurking in there, whoever opened up the wall probably put in as small a joist/steel as possible to keep costs down so if you do want to make the opening wider you (again) probably will need to put in a longer/larger form of support. You'd need a builder for that (and a structural engineer and building control regularisation).

Did the current owners put the arch in - can you ask them what's in there? Can you do a building regs search to see if whoever did put it in applied for regularisation and put in plans or something that you can see on a website? Alternatively, you can get beam detectors that you pass over plasterboard which beep when they come to stud uprights or bits of wall - they might give you an idea what's in there...

Caterpillar0 Mon 05-Aug-13 21:53:59

Makes sense.
and would explain why this weird arch exists at all

If we just want to cut the wall back as far as possible (don't want to get involved with too much structural stuff as budget is tight), who would we be getting to do it? a plasterer? ordinary home decorator
(I'm about to start out on a steep learning curve of home decoration - at the mo I'm pretty ignorant)

lalalonglegs Mon 05-Aug-13 21:35:29

There's probably going to be a nib in there somewhere (a bit of wall that juts out that holds up the joist or steel that is supporting the ceiling) so you might end up with less annoying sticky out bits but there will probably be some unless you are prepared to pay for a new support to be built into the walls remaining walls which will mean paying a structural engineer, getting building control involved and, if the house is attached and one of the walls is shared, may mean party wall agreements...

The reason the arch sounds hollow could be that it is just decorative but it is probably because the arch has been build out around the nib walls rather than fixed directly onto them.

Caterpillar0 Mon 05-Aug-13 21:16:05

lala yeah we were wondering about that - that there may be some supporting beam somewhere in the arch. It all feels very hollow, even the top bit.
If there is a beam in there and it was high up, do you think it would still be possible to cut the wall back further? I mean, with beams, is everything around them decorative? the quarter walls are really annoying

lalalonglegs Mon 05-Aug-13 20:43:30

If it is a non-supporting wall, you can knock it down yourself in an hour or two - the things that end up costing money is making good the ceiling (which might not be exactly the same height in both rooms) and the floor where the timbers to create the stud have been nailed in - not a problem in your case and replastering the remaining walls if removing the wall causes any damage. You may also have to sort out the electrics so that the lights can be operated from the same switch.

Tbh, I'd be surprised if the arch is non-supporting as it would be a bigger job to create a decorative arch than to knock the wall out entirely. I suspect that parts of the arch may be hollow but it is basically hiding whatever support is needed to keep the ceiling up.

Caterpillar0 Mon 05-Aug-13 20:02:25

how do you go about knocking out a non-supporting wall? and how much might it cost, approx?

we're buying a house with two small reception rooms, separated by an arch. The wall (really two quarter walls) sound hollow and we'd like to get rid of it to make one big room.

I have no idea how big a job this is. We want to do the floors too (wood mainly, tiles in kitchen). I'm kind of hoping the same team can do the lot.

any advice or experiences gratefully received...

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