Bearing Wall Kitchen

Canyon Rim Kitchen begging for a new life

Canyon Rim Kitchen begging for a new life

Here was my own (Contractor’s) kitchen, when I bought my house in 1997. It had been remodeled previously in the early/mid 1960's. Note the wonderful warm yellow laminate countertops and backsplash. The dark walnut stained cabinets have Morrocan style pulls, echoed in the vinyl floor pattern. Heh, heh, I hope yours isn't as bad as this! You see my workspace in it's entirety (well, almost, there was 2' over the dishwasher, too). After considered thought, I applied a great kitchen remodeling re-design that required moving a bearing wall supporting the roof. Tip: don't consider moving a bearing wall unless you have to. Then, consult experts. Let’s see what was involved to bring this home, built in 1947, up to date. (See sample remodel plans for more details, David Taylor Kitchen, in the "See for Yourself" menu.)

Canyon Rim Kitchen Remodel attic with roof bracing

Canyon Rim Kitchen Remodel attic with roof bracing

Perhaps your kitchen remodeling can be most efficiently accomplished by interior space reconfiguration, not by adding on. Moving a bearing wall readily comes to everyone's mind. There's some key things to consider in moving a bearing wall, especially where roof snow loads in my area can exceed 2 feet from a single storm. When I first moved into the home, I had to jack up, reinforce, and support brace three or four long jack rafters and the valley hip (the white 2x4s barely visible in the far background) that had cracked and badly sagged. So, with peace of mind for house integrity being the desired result, this design was engineered from a new basement concrete footing up to the new reinforced roof. The original kitchen wall was located where you can just see a new doubled 2x8 beam, to the left of the microlams. The 13' beam carries the 2x6 kitchen ceiling joists and ceiling gyp-lath load from above with metal connector twist straps to the joists. I had hoped that would be enough, but some intermittent roof rafter braces down to the original bearing wall needed "to be picked up" to continue roof support. My engineer proclaimed the entire roof framing inadequate: this remedy was the result. I know this isn't overkill: it's been a relief to know the roof is strong, given the three or four times I've seen surprising Canyon Rim lake effect snow on the roof. The 2x6 midspan roof braces are borne by a built-up doubled 2x12 microlam beam spanning the 13' length of the removed bearing wall, and better support the undersized 2x4 roof rafters. A 2x12 microlam can far exceed the span and load capacity of a regular 2x12. (The metal vent pipe in the foreground is from the water heater in the basement; the black ABS pipe is the kitchen sink vent.) The ceiling was re-insulated after the microwave was vented thru the roof, when I had finished gingerly walking around up there in the attic, balancing on ceiling joists to not fall though the ceiling gyplath.

Canyon Rim Kitchen Remodel framing wired plumbed

Canyon Rim Kitchen Remodel framing wired plumbed

Sometimes kitchen remodeling is best accomplished by starting over. Well, in this case, almost starting over - the house was still standing after the demolition you see (and remains standing today, ho, ho). Walls were stripped of gyplath and the subfloor sheathing was removed to easily relocate plumbing and electrical/phone, including that for the new kitchen island. Rough plumbing by Emergency Plumbing Service, rough electrical by Cornerstones Electrical. The subfloor was buttoned up with 3/4 plywood sheathing and then 3/8 plywood tile underlayment glued and screwed, making for a very solid and stiff floor with no squeaks. I readied for sheetrock and a lot of plastering by the very capable crew, Kelly McKean Drywall. I kept ceiling gyplath intact to prevent an insulation removal blizzard, however, the ceiling finish was plastered quite thickly to correct out of level.  The old bearing wall position is profiled by the gyplath void in the ceiling. Two beams in the attic transfer roof and ceiling loads by a 4x6 post (left of photo) to a new basement 24"x24"x12" concrete spot footing cut into the existing concrete slab floor, and the built-up 2x10 header and kingstuds for the new recessed wall pantry rough opening down to the existing stairway concrete footing. Wall framing was carefully laid out for cabinet backing, microwave location, and living room wall alcoves.

New Canyon Rim Kitchen Remodel

New Canyon Rim Kitchen Remodel 

Here's results of the kitchen remodeling seen from the dining area, where a partition wall was removed. The island cabinets are cherry, the wall cabinets are maple, fabricated by Cabinet World, installed by the Contractor. The appliances- microwave, smooth top slide-in stove, and refrigerator/icemaker are by GE, supplied by Sure Appliance. Executive Chef sink and Clairette pull-down spray faucet are by Kohler, supplied by Ferguson Plumbing. Juparana Columbo Gold granite countertops were fabricated and installed by Intermountain Stone and Marble. The tiled floor is 16"x16" Durango Gold travertine stone, supplied by Caffall Tile, installed by the Contractor. Leftover floor travertine pieces were cut to 4"x4" and used for the backsplash, with some granite accents. This layout makes an incredibly efficient work triangle, with sink, stove/microwave, and refrigerator just steps away.

New Bearing Wall living room view

Here's the same wall from the living room perspective. Although the living room width was reduced by over two feet, there's still plenty of space there. The two built-in alcoves are highlighted by halogen lighting.

New Canyon Rim Kitchen Remodel bay window seat and wine rack

New Canyon Rim Kitchen Remodel bay window seat and wine rack

From the dining area, here's a good view of the bay window seat, made with storage drawer cabinets underneath for support. To the left is a large wall pantry. On the right, the glass display cabinet and integral wine rack add interest to the kitchen. The sink and faucet are easily accessed from the wine rack and cabinets, essentially making a wet bar. The kitchen is wired for sound with suspended Klipsch speakers. Everyone likes to be in the kitchen for a party, and there's plenty of seating behind the island and at the bay window seat, while the host operates at the very efficient work triangle. Price range for a similar project: $50,000 - $70,000.

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04-22-10  Lead Paint  On April 22, 2010, Earth Day, new Environmental Protection Agency and Utah requirements regarding lead paint are in effect that affect most home remodeling projects. Roughly 79 million American homes constructed before 1978 are subject to the Lead Renovation, Repair and Repainting Rule. In an effort to reduce lead paint exposure, the EPA has issued this safety rule for work that disturbs over three square feet, virtually any potentially contaminated lead painted surfaces.  Lead dust exposure is now recognized as a very hazardous health risk to children, and hazardous to pregnant women, workers and other adults, causing permanent damage. Any subject renovations must be performed by Lead Safety Certified Renovation Firms. David Taylor Remodeling is proud to announce completed EPA training as a Lead Safety Certified Renovator. For more information on the EPA rule, please visit

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