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WWYD - kitchen wall removal with pics

(21 Posts)
Loueytb3 Tue 13-Mar-18 16:43:20

We are about to complete on a house and want to take down the wall between the kitchen and dining room. We managed to get a structural engineer in to look at it and it unexpectedly turned out to be a more complicated wall than anticipated (see pics).

We have just had drawings back from the structural engineer. Basically we can remove the whole wall, but it will require a 5m steel beam, a vertical steel beam and potentially digging out/increasing some foundations to make sure they are supportive enough for the weight. Builder has done a rough cost for removing the entire wall, which is likely to be £8-10k. He's already quoted £15k to remove the whole wall (on the initial assumption that it was not weight bearing) and do a load of other work including new ceilings (as they are at different heights) spotlights, electrics for the kitchen, removing kitchen and floor, moving a couple of radiators, plastering and decorating. So basically it's likely to be £25k to remove the whole wall. And then the cost of the kitchen on top of that. My step-dad is a retired civil engineer and is worried that we may be causing all sorts of problems because we are potentially affecting external walls. Builder has said its technically do-able but complicated.

The alternative is to remove only the section of wall that is non-load bearing (see option A) which would probably mean having to redesign the kitchen.

We are going to be there (hopefully) for a very long time. I don't want to regret our decision a few years down the line. We have the money (although it would mean not being able to do something else) but I think we are concerned about the potential risks. I have no experience of major structural work such as this and nor does DH. The builder builds houses as well as doing renovations, he comes highly recommended but we haven't used him before. We are planning to meet him next week as they need to do some further investigating on the wall and will quiz him then and get a feel for whether he is comfortable with the plan.

WWYD? And if you have any experience in going through similar work I would be very interested to hear how it went (good and bad).

NurseryFightClub Tue 13-Mar-18 17:00:00

How big is the jutting out bit, could it be used to put tall cupboards up to or is it wider than 600mm? Otherwise where are windows, how do you envisage using the room currently, could you still zone it as you have in mind?

GingerAndPrickles Tue 13-Mar-18 17:04:00

I’d say with the work you already have planned the additional work to accommodate the vertical steel won’t make a huge difference in terms of disruption - since you’re already having the ceilings down and floors up, and that’s most of the disruption associated with this type of job. Clearly though it’s cost and time you had not anticipated. We had something similar done recently, the digging out and increasing foundations sounded worse than it was in practice - a cube of concrete poured beneath floor level. I can’t comment on the risks of the work other than to say that’s the structural engineer’s responsibility, surely they’re recommending a scheme that is guaranteed to support the existing structure? And my experience tends to suggest that between them and building control the eventual scheme is more likely to be over-engineered than it is to be in any way risky.

Angryosaurus Tue 13-Mar-18 21:05:25

I can't zoom in to see any of the detail writing. I'm not sure which side is kitchen either. But I would 100% only take out the non structural element of the wall. You will easily be able to work around it with a good kitchen designer, it's not too intrusive

Loueytb3 Tue 13-Mar-18 21:36:26

Angryosaurus - the kitchen is on the right.

Ginger - it's good to hear that the foundations were only small - that is one of my concerns. We won't be living there while the work is going on. I'm sure the engineer is proposing a scheme that will work but it's whether the builder can safely do the work that is bothering me.

Nursery - what do you mean by the jutting out bit? The bit of wall that will be left? I think it's 1.7m (roughly).

JoJoSM2 Wed 14-Mar-18 18:31:24

I think you should just go with the plan that you find most appealing (fully open-plan?) as you're planning to stay there for a long time. I'm surprised that it would cost an extra 10k to do the bit of extra work, though. Given that the floors will be up anyway, seems more than steep for the extra work required.

Other than that, steel beams it what generally happens with extensions and knocking walls down. It's not a big deal for professionals to do it.

Loueytb3 Thu 15-Mar-18 09:03:58

JoJo - I think it's in part because of the size of the beam. Builder says the large one is going to cost 2k. We need another vertical one as well and then he will have to cut off the existing ones that are in the wall. I can see it's a fair amount of work. He did just give us a rough estimate so it may be less.

We had an updated kitchen plan last night with the weight bearing part of the wall put back in. It just looks odd to me (ignore the opening as I don't think we could do that in any event)

mum2015 Thu 15-Mar-18 09:50:07

Might look better without island or by rotating island by 90degree.
Which tool are you using to design kitchen?
We too are trying to remove a jutted part if existing wall, though it is smaller and between living and dining area. Still waiting for structural engineers input on that.

mum2015 Thu 15-Mar-18 09:53:23

Something like this for island

veuveo Thu 15-Mar-18 10:01:40

I'm in v similar position.
Think I'm just going for an opening.
With your kitchen design I would use that 1.7m for more cabinets. Maybe the fridge?

veuveo Thu 15-Mar-18 10:02:10

What kitchen planner are you using btw?

Feezles Thu 15-Mar-18 10:06:54

Is that a window in the remaining wall?

Doublechocolatetiffin Thu 15-Mar-18 10:12:06

Personally I’d remove the wall entirely, I agree it looks a bit odd with half a wall left in.

We took out the side of our house when we renovated, our architects had to talk to a few structural engineers to get one who would be happy to design it such that we didn’t have pillars for support. We had a huuugggee beam put in, it was 8.6m long and rested on the 18th century walls on either side. We had to have the foundations built up on one side as they weren’t sufficient, but really despite costing a bit, it wasn’t that complex work. They just dig a big hole under the wall and pour in a whole load of concrete.

Taking down the wall was interesting, loads and loads of acrow props to hold the side of the house up whilst the manoeuvred the beam into place. To be fair I think the most complex part was actually getting the beam in as it was so big and heavy and they could get a crane in. They had to hire specialist lifting equipment to get it up there.

The resultant room though is absolutely amazing and absolutely worth the cost of the work. I think a 5m beam is big but not uncommon, I wouldn’t be put off doing that work by the complexity of it.

JoJoSM2 Thu 15-Mar-18 10:19:35

If you were to keep the wall, you'd need to work with it like it's part of the space - the current plan just looks like a wall in the way. I think it would look more intentional if you carried on with the kitchen units along there or had some shelves instead of the hatch etc.

We wanted a semi open plan kitchen and on the kitchen side of the wall there's a cupboard + TV, and on the other side of the wall there's a sofa.

And a side note, steel beams really don't cost 2k. I refurb properties quite often and have ordered beams myself on occasion - even the 5m mother of all beams (really thick) wouldn't even come to £500 with vat included. And pouring foundations is cheap as chips. Neither of the jobs takes that long. So the builder is being very generous to himself with the pricing. Do ask for a proper breakdown of the quote.

FluffyWuffy100 Thu 15-Mar-18 10:28:17

Remove it all given it’s not a cost deal breaker for you.

It will give a much nicer space.

veuveo Thu 15-Mar-18 10:39:31

If you remove it all, have you got a picture for that? How does the kitchen end?

Angryosaurus Thu 15-Mar-18 10:47:16

I don’t think it looks odd just needs a better kitchen design. I actually prefer not being able to see all of the kitchen mess when I’m eating at the dining table anyway!

Loueytb3 Thu 15-Mar-18 11:08:49

These are the pics of the original kitchen plan with the whole wall removed.

Loueytb3 Thu 15-Mar-18 11:18:31

JoJo - that's useful to know. He has provided a proper breakdown of the costs for the earlier quote. To be fair, I did ask him for a rough and ready estimate so that we had an idea of the additional costs. We are in the SE so labour costs etc generally high. I agree we would need to work the wall into the plan somehow. My gut is telling me to remove the entire wall sod the money

Doublechocolate - I'm glad increasing the foundations isn't actually as bad as it sounds.

Feezles - kitchen designer put an opening in there to see what we thought, but if we leave the wall, there won't be an opening in it so it could be used for units.


Feezles Thu 15-Mar-18 11:32:43

Well, it definitely looks better without the wall. However, if you decided you preferred to keep it and avoid the risk/extra cost/extra upheaval, I would also ditch the wall cupboard right next to it (because it looks a bit shoe-horned in), and make a feature of it - a mural, a giant blackboard, a living wall - something like that. Otherwise, it looks like you're just trying to pretend it isn't there, and I never think that works well.

EleanorRobinson Thu 15-Mar-18 18:20:51

My last house had no end of structural problems from having loadbearing walls taken out in the seventies. There was a massive beam, but it then caused problems with loading of other walls and lots of cracks elsewhere. You just can’t know what problems you are setting yourself up for down the line. Tread cautiously is my advice.

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