Commence Kitchen Remodel

Last weekend Mr. G and I kicked it into high gear demolition mode. We decided that we had lived in the house long enough the way it was. {One week that is.} So we took out our plans, hit up Lowes, and went to town! If you’re wondering if you could do a kitchen remodel on your home, we hope you’re encouraged by this series of posts!

Kitchen Remodel Part OneKitchen Remodel Plan: Remove the ghetttooo ceiling light fixture and the wall separating the kitchen from the entry room. {Pre-removal Mr. G was 98% the wall was not load bearing and decided he would learn more once everything was exposed.}

The Tools:

Drill, hammer, crow bar, reciprocating saw, gigantic muscles.

dewalt reciprocating saw

We also invested in/had ready:

-Contractor grade garbage bags
-Shop Vac
-Protective eye wear (first mistake I made: buying the cheapest ones. They sucked. LUCKILY we live 3 min from Lowes. So within 20 min I had made two trips. I wont say whether or not I drove the one block distance…)
-Face Masks
-Gloves
-Broom

Here’s what the wall with its two so very {in}convenient pocket doors looked like before.

Kitchen Wall Pre Demo

Here is the dark, low ghetto ceiling kitchen before.

The Process:Take the hammer and power into the wall, pull drywall to the ground. Repeat! We found it was better for clean up if you cold pull larger chunks of drywall off at a time. But it was still fun to see it fly across the room {with your SAFETY GEAR ON PEOPLE!}

**NOTE** If you are hammering away anywhere near an outlet, on your side of the wall or the other, for goodness’ sake turn off ALL the house’s power. And be careful not to hammer into the cords.

After the wall was mostly removed we decided to take off the cabinets. Using the drill we unscrewed all the screws and wiggled/pried the cabinet ceiling trim off. then we took the rest of the dry wall down, leaving the frame up.

WALLA!

Kitchen Wall Removal

All that with a hammer, crow bar and incredible muscles.

The next day we challenged the kitchen ceiling light fixture. Please note that when we removed the halogen lights there were burn marks on the ceiling!! Yikes! No bueno. So if you have halogen lights on your ceiling double check they are properly encased. Using the saw, we were able to easily remove the beams that had dropped the ceiling down 9 darkening inches. We also removed more side cabinets where I plan on having open shelves.

Grossest part? As we removed the drywall from the ceiling there was a different pitter-pat sound of falling materials.. Mouse droppings. EWWW. We soon found the hole from the ceiling into the attic.

mouse hole

No mouse sightings {yet..} and the droppings didn’t seem fresh, so I Shop Vacced the ‘crap’ out of the remaining drywall before tearing them down. With all of that removed now look at the difference in the kitchen!

Kitchen Remodel Part 1

Maybe without the end in mind it just looks like a dump space to you, but we already LOVE IT. (mouse hole and all?) The natural light from both sides of the house can now flirt in the middle and the ceiling feels 10 feet tall!

Now for the question many of you have been thinking from the beginning.. “He’s only >>98%<< sure the wall isn’t load bearing?” You’re right, it’s an all or nothing question/result. And, because he is awesome, he will share below some of the best resources and reasoning he found to make the final call.

 // In the words of Mr. G //

 There are a lot of variables that go into determining if a wall is load bearing. I am only going to focus on our circumstances for the time being.

-The wall in question is perpendicular to the trusses. This is often a sign that the wall may be load bearing. It is very rare that a wall parallel to the trusses is load bearing.

-The wall in question had two pocket doors in it, so there were only four studs in the middle of the wall that reached from floor to ceiling. Two of these studs had gaps between the top of the stud and bottom of the “beam.” This makes it very unlikely that the wall would be load bearing on only two 2×4 studs.

-The “beam” at the top of the wall is made up of 2x4s stacked flat two high. The beam is not one solid piece, but instead many short 2x4s nailed together. This makes it unlikely that it is bearing any weight.

-In our case the top of the wall is flush with the bottom of the trusses in the attic. I was hoping that there would be a gap. This would have made it very easy to determine that there was no load on the wall.

-In the crawlspace there is no foundation or supports directly under the wall in question. This is another indicator that it may not be load bearing.

These things add up to make it unlikely that the wall is load bearing. However, there was one more thing that gave me the confidence to cut the studs without consulting with a structural engineer. The roof is made up of fink trusses. Trusses are designed to span the width of the house without any need for interior walls. If the roof was made up of joists or rafters it would be practically a guarantee that the interior walls are load bearing. Here is a link to a helpful look at different types of trusses:

http://www.locketruss.com/roofspan.pdf

That being said, I spent a lot of time doing research. However, I was able to find out enough information on the subject online to make a confident decision. If you have ANY doubt, contact a structural engineer.

// End Profound Words of Mr. G //

In the next few days we will be deciding what to do with the electrical. Unfortunately it runs from the ceiling down and not the other way around. Our microwave currently resides in a floor cabinet using that outlet. The options are to maneuver those wire up, through the attic, out of the attic, under the house, and through new holes in the floor // OR // Move the microwave somewhere else. Option #2 is sounding mighty fine.

Keep an eye out for Kitchen Remodel//Part 2 where we’ll be moving cabinets, fixing the backsplash, choosing counters, and maybe replacing the sink and oven range hood!

I love questions and comments so have at!

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