by Gail Browser
Are you not interested in moving, or are you unable to move, but are ready to make some major changes to your home’s floor plans?. Perhaps you are looking to make better use of or open up some space, add a skylight or bay window, or lay a heavy stone floor? If so, your remodeling project may require some structural alterations to your original architectural house plans.
• Walls may be either bearing (i.e., holding the weight of the ceiling and/or second-story walls), or non-bearing. If you’re taking out all or part of a load-bearing wall, you’re going to need to “bridge” it with a sturdy beam and posts. Non-bearing, or partition, walls can usually be taken out without too many problems—unless you have pipes or electric wires routed through them.
• Doors and windows require special framing; the size of the header depends on the width of the opening and your local building codes. Skylights may often require similar cuts through ceiling joists and/or rafters.
• If you are planning a vaulted or cathedral ceiling instead of ceiling covering and joists, you’ll probably need a few beams to maintain structural integrity.
• Hardwood, ceramic tile, or stone floors require a quite stiff underlying structure. The solution is to beef up the floor joists and/or add additional plywood or particle-board sub-flooring on top before laying the floor.
Consider Your Goals
If you are remodeling in order to sell (and you should always take your home’s future potential for value when remodeling, not just your needs at the present moment) it is important to remember that buyers are going to be the most interested in the amount of space the house has, and in the condition of bathrooms and kitchens.
There is no question that you will get the most “bang for your buck” if you focus on these areas during the course of a remodel. You can add value to your home very easily by adding a new room or adding granite countertops to your bathrooms and kitchen. These details impress home buyers and have a strong connotation of lasting value.
When remodeling, take a strong look at the original floor plans for the home, no matter how small the project. Placement of a bay window or a skylight will make a huge difference in the cost, depending on whether you are going to have to add additional beams and joists to bear the load of a wall or joist that you are taking out.
Knowing when to do it yourself and when to call in a licensed, experienced professional is crucial to getting any home improvement job done right the first time you try. Otherwise, the cash you hope to save could get sucked into a money pit you created by your insisting you can do, what you can’t.
Many home improvement projects can be done alone or by you and your partner on the weekends, but if the remodeling involves serious changes to the original floor plan, seriously consider consulting with a professional to ensure that you aren’t creating more damage than value!