Installing Beams in your Basement
LESLIE: Robin in Utah needs some help with a basement remodel. What’s going on in your project?
ROBIN: Well, my husband and I are planning on finishing (ph) our basement. We have a rambler home …
ROBIN: … and we’re currently – we have about a 20-foot section of wall that I want to remove so that I can open up the basement a little bit. And I was wondering if it’s possible to put a beam because it’s a load-bearing wall.
TOM: You can pretty much remove any load-bearing wall and replace it with a beam if you have the money. It’s very expensive and fairly complex to do that. I mean look, we can lift houses off foundations if we need to; we certainly can take a wall out and replace it with a structural member like a beam. But it’s pretty complicated because it depends on how much weight that particular section is holding but generally the process is that you have to support the section of the house that you’re disassembling the load-bearing wall. So that means building temporary walls on either side of the load-bearing wall; then you disassemble that load-bearing wall and you replace it with an appropriately-sized beam and that size would be determined by an architect or an engineer in specing out how much weight it has to support. And then you put the whole thing back together; you take out the temporary walls and you’re good to go.
If you do it all correctly, it stays in place without your house falling down around you. But it’s a pretty complicated project, so it’s really going to be important for you to want to pick up that additional space to do this.