Ashburn, VA

How Much Does It Cost To Knock Down A Wall?

$500 – $2,000 Non-Load-Bearing
$4,000 – $10,000 Load-Bearing

Removing a non-load-bearing wall in a house costs $500 to $2,000 on average. Replacing a load-bearing wall with a support beam costs $4,000 to $10,000. Hiring a structural engineer for load-bearing wall removal calculations runs $300 to $1,000. Creating a kitchen pass-through costs $1,000 to $4,000. Get free estimates from wall removal contractors near you or view our cost guide below.

Cost To Remove A Wall

The average cost to remove a non-load-bearing wall is $500 to $2,000. Removing a load-bearing wall costs $4,000 to $10,000 for a single-story house, and between $9,000 and $15,000 for a multi-story home. Prices depend on the wall size, rerouting utility lines, and if extra support is required.

Cost To Remove A Wall Chart

Cost To Remove a Wall
Wall Type Non Load-Bearing Load-Bearing
Empty Wall $500 – $1,500 $2,000 – $5,000
Wall + Rerouting Utilities $1,500 – $3,500 $4,000 – $10,000
Two-Story Wall / Complex Job $4,000+ $9,000 – $15,000
Kitchen Pass-Through $500 – $1,500 $1,000 – $5,000

Always consult with a structural engineer to ensure the wall removal will not add structural damages to your home. Also, hire a licensed contractor instead of a handyman to ensure they pull the right permits and perform the work to the highest standards.

Benefits to tearing down an internal wall include:

  • Creates an open floor plan and improves traffic flow.
  • Increases your resale value and appeals more to modern buyers.
  • Creates space for bigger furniture, a piano, or a pool table.
  • Makes your residence more accessible for people with disabilities.

Table of Contents

  1. Cost to Remove a Wall
  2. Cost To Remove A Load-Bearing Wall
  3. Cost To Knock Down A Non-Load-Bearing Wall
  4. Cost To Remove An Internal vs. External Wall
  5. Cost Factors To Tear Down A Wall
  6. Average Cost To Move A Wall In A House
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. DIY Wall Removal
  9. Hiring A Wall Removal Contractor
  10. Wall Removal Near Me

Cost To Remove A Load-Bearing Wall

The average cost to remove a load-bearing wall in a single-story home is $4,000 to $10,000 with finishing costs. Removing a two-story load-bearing wall costs between $9,000 and $15,000 on average. A specialist needs to inspect the home before giving an accurate estimate.

Cost To Remove A Load-Bearing Wall Chart

Cost To Remove A Load-Bearing Wall
Type Average Cost
Single-Story Wall $4,000 – $10,000
Two-Story Wall $9,000 – $15,000

Prices depend on the width of the opening, whether there are walls below or above the floor, if additional concrete footings or piers are needed for support, and if you have to open up the ceiling to double or triple up joists to carry the new load.

Costs increase for rerouting utility lines, removing a basement wall that bears more weight, and refinishing the walls, ceilings, and floors of the connecting rooms to match each other.

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Replace Load-Bearing Wall With Beam Cost

Installing a steel beam costs $1,000 to $4,000 on average depending on the wall size, type of beam installed, labor, and the architecture of the house. When replacing a load-bearing wall with a beam, sometimes columns and posts are needed according to the design structure of the home.

A structural engineer must design and size the new beam for the contractors to prevent ceilings from sagging, unlevel floors, or roof collapse. Additional costs apply for permits, inspections, demolishing the old wall, and refinishing.

Load-Bearing Support Beam Cost

A load-bearing support beam costs between $3 and $35 per linear foot, with most homeowners spending $10 to $15 per linear foot. A laminated veneer lumber (LVL) beam costs $60 to $300 on average without installation.

Load-Bearing Support Beam Cost
Type Cost Per Linear Foot
Steel Beam $6 – $24
Wood Beam (Hardwood & Softwood) $5 – $35
Glulam Beam (Engineered Lumber) $6 – $22
LVL Beam (Engineered Lumber) $3 – $12
Poured Concrete Beams $7 – $15

*Prices are for materials only.

Cost To Create A Kitchen Pass-Through or Half-Wall

The average cost to create a kitchen pass-through or half-wall is $1,500 to $3,500 or between $70 and $150 per square foot. Total costs depend on how many utility lines are inside the wall, whether or not the wall is load-bearing, and how large the opening to the living room will be.

Cost To Create A Kitchen Pass-Through

Cost To Create A Kitchen Pass-Through or Half-Wall
Project Average Cost
Non-Load-Bearing $500 – $1,500
Load-Bearing w/ Beam $1,000 – $5,000
Large Load-Bearing w/ Beam $10,000+

*Permits and inspections may add to your overall cost.

Framing a pass-through wall with casing, molding, or paneling trim costs $100 to $200 per opening. Some homeowners install a kitchen island instead of creating a pass-through, which provides more counter space.

Replacing Support Beams In Basement Cost

Replacing a support beam in a basement costs $6,500 to $10,000 on average, depending on the length and material of the beam. Replacing a long basement support beam plus removing more than one basement load-bearing wall costs $20,000 and up.

Support-beams are typically replaced if the wooden brace becomes termite-infested, is rotting due to water leakage, or when it's very old.

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Cost To Knock Down A Non-Load-Bearing Wall

The average cost to remove an internal non-load-bearing wall is $800 to $1,500, which includes demolition, debris removal, patching and hanging drywall, painting, and more. If electrical and plumbing have to be rerouted, knocking down a non-bearing wall costs $1,500 to $3,500 on average.

Cost To Remove A Non-Load-Bearing Wall Chart

Cost To Knock Down A Non-Load-Bearing Wall
Type Average Cost
Demolition Only $100 – $300
Full Removal (Demo, Debris Removal, New Drywall) $800 – $1,500
Full Removal w/ Electrical & Plumbing Rerouting $1,500 – $3,500

In most projects, utility lines are running through the wall. Prices depend on the size of the wall, the amount of utility lines, wall material, and doesn't include permits or inspection fees. Extra costs may apply for texturing, painting, refinishing, baseboards, and flooring.

Consult with demolition contractors near you. View Pros

Cost To Demo A Wall

The average cost to demolish a wall is $100 to $300 or between $0.50 and $1.50 per square foot, depending on if it's made of wooden studs, brick, or concrete. If contractors need to open up additional walls to reroute utilities, the extra drywall removal costs $40 to $200 per wall.

Average Cost To Demo A Wall Chart

Cost To Demolish A Wall
Material Cost Per Square Foot Average Wall
Drywall $0.30 – $0.45 $30 – $65
Plaster $0.45 – $0.75 $45 – $110
Stud Wall $0.65 – $1.30 $60 – $185
Concrete $2.20 – $4.70 $210 – $680
Brick $2.90 – $6.40 $280 – $920

*Prices for demolition only. Does not include disposal, refinishing, patching, or call-out fees.

Contractor Removing Internal Brick Wall With Hammer

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Cost To Remove An Internal vs. External Wall

A structural engineer can remove nearly any interior wall. However, all exterior walls are load-bearing and rarely removed due to potential structural damages to the home.

Knocking down an external wall costs more because it takes large columns, beams, and additional supports. Even for home additions, the external structural walls are typically left in place for support with the addition of a doorway.

Demolition Contractor Using pneumatic Hammer To Remove Internal Wall

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Cost Factors To Tear Down A Wall

The cost to tear down a wall depends on rerouting plumbing and electrical lines, replacing the drywall, repainting, and more. It's not uncommon for unexpected things that may be inside the walls to add 20 percent to your overall cost.

Cost Breakdown To Tear Down A Wall
Item Average Cost
Remove Drywall $200 – $500
Install Temporary Supports $600 – $1,000
Remove Bearing Wall $400 – $600
Cut Framing & Install New Beam $1,000 – $2,000
Install New Drywall & Finish $800 – $1,400
Cut Floor & Install Concrete Footings (Optional) $1,500 – $2,500

*Average load-bearing wall removal job.

The total cost to open up a wall in your house depends on five main things:

  1. Are there electrical outlets, switches, wiring, heating and cooling ducts, or plumbing in the wall that needs to be moved or relocated?
  2. Is your wall load-bearing?
  3. What kind of material is your wall made of?
  4. Are your ceiling beams and foundation currently in good condition, or will they need extra support?
  5. How will you refinish your floors, walls, and ceiling surfaces after removing the wall?

Load-Bearing Wall Removal Calculations

Hiring a structural engineer is required to calculate the type and size of beam needed, and the load the beam must support. They perform a complete analysis of the home’s weight-bearing structure and check if the foundation’s footings for support columns will handle the extra weight once the wall is removed.

When you remove a load-bearing-wall, the weight shifts to other areas in the foundation and can cause severe damage. An inspection is needed before filing for permits or applying for a federal home renovation loan.

Expect to pay an extra $1,000+ to remove walls on a pier and beam foundation instead of a concrete slab foundation, for homes without composite shingle roofing, and for ceilings more than 10 feet high.

Cost of Structural Engineer For Load-Bearing Wall

The cost to hire a structural engineer for a load-bearing wall analysis is $300 to $1,000, depending on the complexity of the project. Structural engineers can custom-design new beams, recommend specific beam sizing's, and prepare detailed drawings for contractors to make structural changes.

Hire a structural engineer before removing your wall. View Pros

Permits & Building Regulations

Building permits cost $75 or more and are required for load-bearing walls. The architect’s fee for a structural engineering schematic costs $500 and up depending on the project.

Licensed contractors will create construction plans and apply for permits to meet building regulations. Most states require a structural engineer and building inspector to check the structure and check for asbestos before issuing permits.

Single vs. Two-Story Wall Removal

A two-story load-bearing wall costs more to remove because they require bigger and stronger beams to support the greater weight loads of the second floor and roof on each wall and post. Some complex two-story load-bearing walls cost $20,000 to $30,000 to remove.

Cost To Hide A Load-Bearing Beam

The average cost to install and recess a steel beam is $170 to $450 per linear foot, or between $2,000 and $8,000, depending on if it needs additional support. Steel beams are the most common choice since they take up less space.

Recessing a beam may not be possible without damaging the floor in the upper room. Also, you won’t be able to recess a beam if it’s too close to the slope of your roof without damaging the roof's structure.

Cheaper options include wrapping the beam in special trim or paneling, or painting the beam the same color as the ceiling.

Plumbing

The average plumber hourly rates are $45 to $150, with a typical service call out fee of $75 or more. The total costs depend on the type, age, and the number of pipes in the wall that need to be removed, rerouted, or replaced.

Structural engineers can assist plumbers in determining the most cost-effective designs for rerouting, and help locate main water lines to avoid accidental damage during demolition.

Electrical

The average electrician hourly rates are $40 to $100 depending on their experience and the job's complexity. Rewiring light switches, outlets, fixtures, and junction boxes are required even if there's no visible outlets or switches in the wall being removed. Additional charges may apply if the wiring inside the walls is outdated or damaged.

Opening walls in older homes may lead to finding outdated electrical wiring, which increases project costs.

New Drywall Installation

New drywall installation costs $1.60 to $2.35 per square foot to patch the exposed areas after the wall is removed. Prices depend on the size of the job, the type of drywall, and structural complexities such as uneven wall surfaces or creating half-walls.

Painting

Professional painters charge $20 to $50 per hour, or between $2 and $6 per square foot on average for interior painting. Extra costs apply for drywall crack repairs or sanding, and painting trim, ceilings, and other features.

Wallpaper Removal & Installation

The average cost to remove wallpaper from adjacent walls is $1 to $2 per square foot depending on if it's painted over or if the glue is difficult to remove. To match the adjoining walls, wallpaper installation costs $3 to $7 per square foot for labor and materials.

Although you can remove it yourself, stripping wallpaper the wrong way takes off the outer layers of drywall causing additional damages.

Re-Adding Texture To Walls

The average cost to texture walls is $1 to $3 per square foot for supplies and labor. Prices depend on the size of the space, the job's complexity, and the prep work required. Leveling the surrounding surface and applying primer before texturing costs extra.

Installing New Cabinets And Countertops

Installing cabinets cost $100 to $300 per linear foot when creating a kitchen pass-through between rooms. The cost to install countertops on a half-wall is $25 to $100 per square foot, depending on the material and labor costs.

Contractors charge $15 to $20 per linear foot to move and reinstall basic wall cabinets to another wall in your home.

Flooring

After taking down a wall, getting the two floors to match in both connecting rooms can be challenging and may require new flooring. The average cost to replace flooring is $6 to $10 per square foot, depending on the type of material and labor costs.

Additional Expenses

Taking out a wall can include unexpected expenses according to the condition and age of your home.

  • Asbestos, Mold, and Mildew – Inspectors check for mold and asbestos in the walls before construction starts to avoid health risks. The average cost of asbestos removal is $20 to $65 per square foot.
  • Termite Damage – Termites or other pests may be found inside your walls. The average cost of termite treatment is $330 to $815, in addition to replacing any wood framing and beams.
  • Lead Paint – If your walls contain lead paint, it's hazardous and requires careful disposal and cleanup procedures. Lead paint testing costs $25 for DIY, and $300 to hire an inspector.
  • Debris Removal – Removing a wall creates a lot of debris that needs disposal. Dumpster rental prices range from $279 to $487 per week, including delivery and pickup.
  • Foundation Support – Redirecting the weight load from a wall to one or two posts may require extra foundation support. Contractors may add new posts in the basement or crawl space, or add stronger footings underneath the foundation.

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Average Cost To Move A Wall In A House

Contractors don't recommend moving a wall in your house due to higher risks of structural damage. You'll have to demolish the first wall, then pay to build another. The average cost to frame and build a new wall is $900 to $2,500, depending on the size and if it's a load-bearing wall.

Hire a wall removal professional near you. View Pros

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Load-Bearing Wall?

A load-bearing wall or bearing wall is an essential structural support that bears the weight for all elements above the wall. Removing a load-bearing wall improperly can cause severe damage like cracks in the foundation and ceiling collapse.

Taking out a load-bearing wall requires replacing it with a beam, and sometimes additional posts or columns beneath it. A structural engineer is needed to inspect your property, check the foundation, and calculate how much the foundation can hold.

Other Terms You Need To Know

  • Studs are wall-frame planks made of wood that form the backbone of a wall. They are covered with drywall or other wall-finishing materials.
  • Joists are the parallel planks of the wood frame that run horizontally above the ceiling panels to provide a stable base for floors and ceilings. The ends of joists rest on exterior walls.
  • Beams are thicker and larger than joists and bear most of the weight of floors, ceilings, and the roof. Beams are the planks that support joists in your home’s frame. They can run perpendicular to the home’s joists.
  • Headers are a type of beam that runs across the top of doors, windows, and similar wall openings.

How Do I Know If My Wall Is Load-Bearing?

Exterior walls are always load-bearing. The home's blueprints indicate which internal walls are load-bearing. Also, most walls in the center of your home are usually load-bearing. Hire a structural engineer to evaluate the structure to be sure.

Indications that a wall is load-bearing:

  • The wall is thicker than 6 inches.
  • A steel beam is in the basement right below the wall.
  • The wall is located in the center of the building, which supports most of the roof's weight.
  • The wall runs parallel to the top joint, where the two slopes of your roof meet.
  • The wall runs perpendicular to the floor joists.
  • You have spliced joists that join together on top of the wall in your attic.

When Am I Not Able To Take Down A Wall?

You can’t remove a wall if the wall contains important plumbing lines or HVAC lines that can’t be relocated anywhere else in the house. If you don’t have a basement, it's challenging to reroute plumbing and HVAC lines on the first floor.

With creative planning, structural engineers and contractors will find a compromise to get the additional open space needed, regardless if the walls are load-bearing or not.

When Is The Best Time To Remove A Load-Bearing Wall?

The best time to remove a load-bearing wall is in the summer or fall with sunny and dry weather. Removing a load-bearing wall takes two weeks and requires opening all the doors and windows for better ventilation.

What Type of Support Beam Do I Need?

A structural engineer will recommend the right beam for you by calculating how much weight your beam needs to support and how much space your building design allows for the beam. The four main types of support beams are:

Types of Support Beams
Type Description
Engineered Lumber
  • Engineered Wood or is multiple layers of wood bonded together with extra-strong phenol-based glues, making it stronger than standard lumber.
  • Types of engineered lumber include Glulam (Glued Laminated Timber), and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), and other structural composite lumber.
Wood Beams
  • Softwood lumber is usually the cheapest and often bears the least weight of all the beams. It comes from spruce, hemlock, pine, fir, and cedar trees.
  • Hardwood is stronger and comes from trees like oak, maple, hickory, walnut, mahogany or teak.
Steel Beams
  • Are either I-shaped or H-shaped.
  • Best for extra-long ceiling supports and recessed ceiling beams because they’re the strongest and take up the least space.
  • The heaviest type of beam, with the highest shipping and installation costs.
Concrete Beams
  • Poured Concrete beams typically have rebar inside them for extra strength.
  • For additional soundproofing, you can order “ICF” beams, or insulated concrete forms with insulation foam hiding the steel rebar frame and concrete inside it.

How Much Does It Cost To Remove A Stud Wall?

The cost to remove an empty, non-load-bearing wooden stud wall is $100 to $300 on average, whereas demolishing a bearing-wall runs $400 to $600 for material disposal and new plastering. Prices are for demo only. Extra costs apply for installing a new support beam, moving utility lines, and refinishing.

How Long Does It Take To Remove A Load-Bearing Wall?

Removing a load-bearing wall and replacing it with a beam takes 2 weeks in total. Wall removal includes material delivery, relocating service lines, demolition, installing an LVL support beam, framing, and refinishing the walls, floors, and ceilings.

How Much Does It Cost to Widen or Knock Doorway Through a Wall?

The cost to widen or knock a doorway through a wall is $500 to $2,500 depending on if it's a load-bearing or curtain wall. Pricing includes cutting a new opening, installing a new wider header, framing, and hanging a new door.

Do Bungalows Have Load-Bearing Walls?

Yes, bungalows always have load-bearing walls because you cannot support a roof on any building without any load-bearing walls. All exterior walls bear the roof’s weight plus a central wall in the bungalow holds up the roof’s ridge.

Still have questions? Ask a wall removal pro. View Pros

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DIY Wall Removal

DIY wall removal for a non-load-bearing wall costs $100 to $500 on average for labor and materials. Before grabbing a sledgehammer or pneumatic hammer, make sure there are no electrical, HVAC, or plumbing service lines in the walls that require the help of a licensed expert.

DIY wall removal doesn't save money on materials, inspections, or rerouting plumbing and electrical lines. Although, you can save money by doing prep work, some demolition, and refinishing work yourself.

First, check the local laws to see if you need a structural engineer’s approval or other building inspections before you start. Never attempt to remove a load-bearing wall yourself. For your safety, local laws require you to hire a certified contractor and structural engineer to remove a load-bearing wall.

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Hiring A Wall Removal Contractor

Wall removal projects require various experts such as structural engineers, architects, remodeling contractors, plumbers, and electricians. Load-bearing wall removal contractors will evaluate the project and offer ideas for your design vision.

Hiring a general contractor to coordinate the entire project costs more but saves you time from finding and managing individual contractors for each service.

Contractors need to inspect your wall in-person to identify if the wall is load-bearing and provide a proper estimate. Be sure to get at least 3 free estimates from professionals who meet the following criteria:

  • Are highly rated on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Are licensed, insured, and bonded.
  • Have knowledge of local building codes and permit laws.
  • Have been in business for at least five years.
  • Offer a written, transferable structural warranty on any work completed.
  • Use materials that have been spec'd by a licensed structural engineer.
  • Provide excellent communication from your first phone call or e-mail.
  • Provides written documentation detailing their plans.
  • Has a list of several references you can call.

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