Asked on Nov 26, 2012

Can I make an island with an opening in a load bearing wall?

Janet Flannery
by Janet Flannery
I have a relatively small kitchen........I think it is about 12x14. There is no natural light and I hate that. I want to add an island and place something like this facing out to the LR. The LR wall is loadbearing. Is this possible?
  10 answers
  • Taking a load bearing wall and opening it up can be done. However it must be engineered professionally to assure the load path goes into the footings placed in the ground. The size of beam, distance between each support column and the cost can all be determined by a structural engineer. It all boils down to how much money you want to spend and if the cost of the renovation does not exceed the value of the home.
  • Janet Flannery Janet Flannery on Nov 27, 2012
    Thank you so much for your response. I was hoping it wouldn't be that big of a problem. I have a huge farmhouse with an afterthought of a kitchen. Thanks again.
  • As Woodbridge says, it can be done. But you also must consider other things for the overall cost. What's in that wall? Are there electric lines or duct work or plumbing pipes in there. Moving or dealing with these items must all be considered when setting up a budget for this project. Take a look above and/or below if possible to give you an idea of what you might have to deal with. This will give you a better overall picture of the project. Good luck.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Nov 27, 2012
    Nearly anything is just comes down to time and money. An example I often use with clients is ...yes you can build a two car garage underneath an Olympic pool in the back yard...but its is easier and cheaper to stick it on the side of the house. Your biggest concern will be what is located below. Tho photo you posted has columns of some type...with a beam...whether or not these are structural is a bit of a guess. You could install a beam below the level of the ceiling and have a pair of columns which would take the load and not require a huge amount of demo in the the kitchen / living room. But these columns must have support below. There is also the trick of supporting every thing "during" the constriction phase as these new elements are configured.
  • Janet, Where are you located?
  • You can often size the columns to accommodate pipes and wires. In my kitchen, when I opened a wall I wanted to remove, I found a gas pipe and electrical wires. These hollow tapered columns are where the pipes and wires are running between the floors:
  • Janet Flannery Janet Flannery on Nov 27, 2012
    Middlebourne,WV. In the wall is a couple of electric outlets and phone line, below the floor is a crawl space and I think they used pillars to hold up the floor. Probably n a rock bed, as there is a large elevated landing in the LR where they couldn't remove a boulder, so just covered it up. Above is the second story and part of the main house (over 100 yrs old).
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Nov 27, 2012
    @Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry Really Nice! Why did you taper the columns? As a design element or for some other reason?
  • Yes! You can design around some LVL beams as columns or other meaningful design features. We have done this before when we removed an offending pantry!
  • It is not really that big of a problem, depending on what you have and your point of view - DIY vs PRO. With photos of elements and more info re foundation, cellar or crawl or slab, and what is above, we could say more. BTW Brian is a top notch guy all the way