Is it load bearing?
A load bearing wall is a wall that is supporting a structural load in your home. It may be difficult for a professional to determine whether or not a wall is load bearing with all the variables involved. Some quick ways to tell if it is load bearing are if it is parallel over a beam in the basement, floor joist cross over the wall in order to support them, etc. It is best to have an engineer tell you whether or not it is OK to remove a wall. Any time you remove a load bearing wall you need a building permit.
It's not load bearing, so it's no problem to remove?
Many non-load bearing walls are used to hide plumbing, heating vents and electrical. It may be difficult to relocate these things. It may cost more than what it would cost to remove a load-bearing wall with out these item hidden inside. You may need to install columns and bulkheads to hide them. Check in the basement to see where these things are going through the floor above to help determine what may be hidden.
Is it easier to just cut an opening in the load bearing wall?
Sometimes cutting an opening is almost as much work as removing it. You still need the proper support for the structure to be safe.
Other things to consider
You may have to upgrade areas below the load-bearing wall to help support the new load. Bigger columns in the basement on bigger footings. This may be a lot of extra work if your basement is finished. You may need to add columns in places where there isn't one now.
Wall removal can be a good DIY project but always consult a structural engineer before you start and get a building permit. Doing this will protect you if you have issues in the future.
By Brent Darlington