One of the first things on any property developer’s to-do list is a rearrangement of the interior walls. Knocking through rooms to create large open plan areas can maximise available space in a property and makes the property considerably more attractive to potential tenants or buyers. What do you need to know about interior structures and taking down walls?
Load-Bearing and Load-Free
The first distinction to make is between load-bearing and load-free walls. Anything that is load-bearing is supporting a structure above it (such as a second storey or attic) and is crucial to the integrity of your property. Load-free walls are much easier to take down and are usually made of thinner materials with only a minimal layer of insulation and you can usually be flexible about where you replace these. Never take down a load-bearing wall yourself – always consult a builder or structural engineer – the consequences of taking down the wrong wall are severe.
Wires and pipes
Another concern when taking down walls is that electrical wires and pipes are concealed in them and if you’re planning to take down a large section of wall then you’ll need to rewire some electrics or perhaps divert some plumbing. This is not too much of a problem in itself but you will have to call in professionals. If you need your property to be empty during any electrical or plumbing work, you’ll need to take out unoccupied property insurance.
You have a number of options when it comes to finishing any new walls and in higher end properties you’ll probably want some quality plastering and a good few coats of paint. Don’t overlook cheaper options for lower end properties, though, things like plasterboard might be unsightly but it is much easier and much cheaper to repair than chipped or damaged paintwork.
Taking out or putting in new walls really is the key to transforming a property but you are restricted as to what you can do. It’s best to consult professionals before undertaking any structural work and perhaps even think about talking your plans through with an estate agent or property adviser – they will really help you add value to your let.