It is easy to walk into a new house and say, "We'll knock down that wall and that wall and that wall." It is, unfortunately, near impossible to detect the load bearing walls by simply looking at them. Removing a load bearing wall is possible but requires very specific steps to maintain the structural integrity of the building.
Our project this week involved removing a bearing wall in preparation for a kitchen and main floor renovation. Some of the demolition was already completed, and you can see that the bearing wall that we were working on was down to the studs and the beam in the dining room is visible.
As you see below, the temporary walls were covered in plastic, and negative airflow was set up to clear the dust from the work area. Then it was time to remove the plaster where we needed access to the joists around the beam.
Next the bearing wall and beam were removed, and the space was cleaned. The insulation was pulled back from the work area, and electrical wiring was shifted out of the way. Then the joists were cut to accommodate the new beam, which was cut to the proper length and threaded gracefully through the house and into position. Structural hangers and new posts were added since the load had to be carried all the way to the basement. Finally, the temporary walls were removed and the new beam was put into service.