Making Space by Knocking Down a Partition
LESLIE: Jan in Utah needs some help in the kitchen. What can we do for you?
JAN: Oh, hi. I have a kitchen that is divided from my dining room and there is a small – there is a three-foot wall that kind of sticks out and divides it. We wanted to take that down and just extend our cabinets into the dining room and then move things around. But I don’t know how to tell if that’s a bearing wall or not.
TOM: So it’s a three-foot wall that kind of juts out and sort of forms the end for the kitchen cabinets now?
TOM: I would say not likely, Leslie. I think it sounds more like a partition wall.
LESLIE: Is the rule if they run parallel to the front of your house then it’s generally a load-bearing wall or am I totally making that up?
TOM: Yeah, that’s right and this sounds perpendicular. If it’s parallel to the front and the back of the house, chances are higher that it’s a load-bearing wall. This sounds like a wall that was simply installed to give …
LESLIE: To finish a space.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Sort of finish off that end. We can’t tell you for sure, Jan, without seeing it but it doesn’t sound like it’s a bearing wall.
JAN: Yeah, I was just concerned. Somebody told me it wasn’t but then I keep thinking if that wall continued through the dining area, it would continue right down my garage; where the garage and the house are divided.
TOM: Well, Jan, are you going to do this yourself or are you going to have a carpenter do it for you?
JAN: (chuckling) Well, we were thinking of doing it ourselves. We watch too much TV (Tom and Leslie chuckle) and all the home improvement shows.
LESLIE: I mean it may be that there’s a header above this partition wall that is indeed load-bearing, but I doubt that this three-foot section itself is holding up your home.
JAN: OK. Yeah, OK. Well, and I did have somebody that had done some construction say, “No, that’s not, that’s not,” and I was just a little nervous so …
LESLIE: For peace of mind, Jan, you can always get an engineer in and ask the very same question.
JAN: Yeah, yeah. Either that or I can go find the guy that built the house. I think I know his name but (Leslie and Jan chuckle) …
TOM: Alright. Well, if he’s still around you can ask that question.
JAN: I’m not quite sure where he is but thank you so much. I just wasn’t sure if there is a telltale sign or not.
TOM: Well, I think the only telltale sign we can say is if it’s perpendicular to the exterior wall and it’s just finishing off the end of that cabinet, it probably is not a bearing wall.
JAN: Great. Thank you so much.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Jan, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.