cost of taking down a load bearing wall

roxy2007March 16, 2010

Does anyone know if this is a reasonable charge for the following work?

$4,000 to

remove the wall

put in new steel beam (approx 17'in length)

dig new footing in basement

Thank you!

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You have to take your area into consideration, but I was quoted $3k in NJ to:

remove wall
create wooden header (about 12' ft long)
create reinforcements in attic to facilitate removal of a second load bearing wall (no demo, we will DIY that)

The price jumped to $5k if I didn't want a header for the first wall as well.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 4:11PM
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I thought the $4000 estimate sounded pretty reasonable, assuming it included the cost of the steel beam.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 4:18PM
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Hi Tracie.erin, I'm in NJ too. At first if we were able to use a wooden beam, we were qouted a lotless, but we wouldn't have needed to dig a new footing....but becuase the span is over 9ft, the architect said we need to use a steel the contractor said that the steel beam itself is very expensive and now having to dig a new footing and rent equipment to lift the steel beam will increase the cost to $4k. I just wanted to make sure it was a reasonable increase... because I didn't think it would be $3k more...

But, looks like it's not too bad?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 4:30PM
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I think that's reasonable. I live in CT and we have been quoted $4,500 to remove a load bearing wall with a steel beam without a header. I believe that we are paying a bit extra because this work is being done by our kitchen design/build company. I think their costs are marked up because they coordinate and oversee each step of the kitchen renovation - it all adds up, but I'm hoping it will be worth it for me in the end.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 4:46PM
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hi numbersjunkie, yes it does include the steel beam.
hi motherof3, thanks so much for your response.

I'm starting to feel better about this, just wanted to make sure the large increase sounded reasonable and from all of your responses...sounds like it is.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 5:15PM
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I was charged $400 to install a 20ft pair of flush 2x12 LVLs in the second floor of a raised ranch to replace a 20ft long load bearing wall. I did the sheet rock demo. The guy did an excellent job and he was done by noon.

I live in Hyde Park, NY. That contracter is a God sent, he's amazing what he can do in so little time and with such care to the details. He's actually the only one that I'll let touch my house after going through lots of contractors that just want to finish and get paid. Anyway, I digress.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 9:17AM
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Thanks padola....can I assume that was suppose to be $4,000? if not...please send your guy over! : )

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 5:25PM
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I also live in a raised ranch and we are removing a 12' span. The architect called for a pair of 2 X 12s in addition to a steel beam. Since we are doing the work ourselves I started to shop for the steel beam. I got a price of $500 but my husband knows I can do better so don't let the contractor convince you that it is the price of the beam that is causing his price to be so high. I can almost guarentee you that he isn't paying anywhere near $500 for the piece.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 11:26PM
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Load bearing walls depend on so many things. Floor load, Roof AND floor load, roof load only? Length of beam, span of load?

In my last house, had a laminated beam put in for about $1500.00 in 2001. The steel beam in the basement was a LOT more but I can't recall how much.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 12:12PM
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$4000 to take a freakin tree down here. One day. All you can do is get multiple estimates and make sure they are qualified, or change your plans. They have us over a barrel.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Thu, Aug 29, 13 at 14:27

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 1:51PM
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We did a similar project during our kitchen renovation. We opted to go with what many in the industry refer to as a super 8, this is a steel I beam that is pre-packed with wood and sits flush with most ceilings between the 1st and 2nd floor in two story houses. Fortunately we did not need to dig a new footing as our beam ran parallel to a foundation wall. Something important to make sure of is that the new steel beam is supported by steel columns down to the new footing. This is minimum code in a lot of areas and always a good idea. As for the price yes that does appear to be reasonable. You may be able to get cheaper quotes but you will also find more expensive ones. It is not overly complicated but there is a lot that goes into sizing beams like this such as different loads, deflection, bearing resistance in addition to others. As I am sure you already know in a project like this you want to make sure whoever is doing the work has a solid reputation. I sized the beam myself however still paid an architect $150 dollars to come out and size the beam as well. The architect confirmed the beam size but also gave us a spec sheet drawing stamped with his licensure information as a seal of approval. For us this additional piece of mind was worth it.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 3:12PM
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I met with one of the guys today - he was so insulting to me over the phone but I thought, okay - if your'e going to be such an ass - come over and let me pick your brain. I am another of the raised ranch people (oh so common in the NE.) Since I last posted I learned that the steel beam the architect called for was overkill, since there is already a steel beam supporting the load bearing wall directly beneath the12' span I am looking to open.

He mentioned 2, maybe 3 LDLs. I am not doing an open concept as many do, I am moving a wall for a particular idea the architect gave me, which I ran with when I designed the new kitchen, formal dining room area. When I mentioned this to Mr Arrogance, he told me that the architect had no right to make any suggestions on design - "after all what do they know". It will be interesting to see what numbers he comes back with.

Meanwhile I have calls in to other guys.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 11:23PM
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The contractors same words could be used against him. In general contractors build architects design and come up with a plan. Many contractors prefer working with what I believe you are referring to which are LVL beams or laminated veneered lumber. The steel beam very well could be overkill however this is not something that should be underestimated or cut close. When an architect specs a beam they tend to over estimate due to liability and licensure concerns. Often times the difference in price between the steel beam and the LVL's isn't overwhelming. For instance in the case I referenced above the steel beam was approximately 300 dollars more. Generally if somebody is this unpleasant before they get a job it doesn't get any better throughout the process but who knows maybe he had a bad day. You are doing the right thing by getting two more guys come in and look at the job. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 7:29AM
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Our job is a little bigger but we were quoted $4500 by our first contractor to remove a load-bearing interior wall, remove the door and two windows from the rear brick wall of the house, and put in a steel header for the rear wall and reinforce the joists with steel plates. I was pleasantly surprised by the number. I'm in NYC.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 8:14AM
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I agree SaltLife. I am certain that the architect was pushing the limits for his liability protection. My husband owned a mfg plant for 20+ years and that was the first thing out of his mouth - it was overkill as you mentioned.

The architect was hired to work on a 2 story 24 x 18 addition. He did whole house drawings for both stories, which was when he gave me the idea for the kitchen. He made it clear that he was not a KD but threw it out for me to consider when I got to that point and did a very "simple" rendering of what he was referring to. And I have been tweaking it to the point that works for me.

But I still need that supporting wall "opened" 12'. Husband knows what needs to be done and is capable of doing so with reluctant help from my adult (still living at home) sons, but at 62 with a bad back, that ain't happening - he is not a good patient! We shall see on the numbers. I'll let you know.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Mr arrogance called with his quote - $1900 - two guys, two days he claims. BS in my eyes especially in light of what padola said. Meanwhile I have calls in to 4 other contractor/carpenters. Three are from referrals. I have scheduled appts that they do not show for. Some call to say they can't make it and reschedule, but then they are just no shows. So I guess I start again on Monday, calling more. I know this is not a huge money making job, but I would think there would be someone out there looking to make a fast buck. I would do all the sheetrock demo as padola did, so they can be on their way quicker.

I want to scream. This is worse than reno with your spouse!!!!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:03PM
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Hang in there...Our circumstances were a lot like yours. Wet got quotes ranging from 1800 to 5500 for a similar job. We too were going to do this portion of the job ourselves but time constraints as well as a few other factors caused us to decide against it. Better Header is a company located here on Long Island that manufactures a wide range of beams that are used all over the country. Tomorrow morning you should call and speak to Dominick the number is (631) 242-1975. Please be forewarned that he can be a little rough around the edges especially if they are busy but he is an honest man who knows his stuff. Explain your situation to him such as contractors wanting to use different beams, quotes that are very different and some of the measurements for your house with regards to the beam. If you don't have something he needs simply call him back when you do. He will be able to tell you what beam you need and you will be able to call a distributor in your area to get a price for just the beam. A little more leg work but it gave us a third party source outside of architects and contractors so that we could compare apples to apples as far as what beam we were using and what the material would cost. If you have any questions or just need to vent don't hesitate to let us know!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 8:15AM
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