How To Know If A Wall Is Load-Bearing

Remodeling a home can be exciting and stressful all at the same time. You want more space or only a new look, but you have no clue where to begin. Then again, maybe you’ve decided exactly what you want to add or remove to give your home a new look you desire, but it involves a wall that will need to be removed.

Removing a wall is not as simple as grabbing a sledgehammer and knocking the wall down. If you have refurbishing plans that include removing or modifying a wall, you must deduce whether the wall is load-bearing or not. Any portion of a load-bearing wall removed is to be restored with a robust structural beam or column to hold the exact weight that the wall did.

What Is a Load-Bearing Wall?

Load-bearing walls support the burden of ground or roof structure with the ability to bear a large amount of weight. On the other hand, a partition wall carries only its weight.

While you should consult with a professional contractor to determine what category the wall you want to remove falls into, you can make the initial checks yourself.

There are several indicators you can test to get an initial clue. You can do it without peeling off any of the drywall.

A Partial Wall

If the wall is partial, wherein it doesn’t go all the way to an adjacent wall, it’s highly likely not to be a load-bearing wall. For instance, the carpenter may have put in a microlam beam to extend across space and hold up the roof load.

Therefore, you should not speculate that a partial wall is a non-load-bearing wall.

Exterior Walls

Outer walls form the border of a house. Exterior walls are most often load-bearing. All the windows and door sections usually have beams in the walls and running across the top. There are stakes on both sides of the openings to balance the beams.

The likelihood of an outer wall not bearing load is slim to none, at least not an entire section. While it is likely that someone may have done it, it makes that house structurally weak and could cost the homeowner a fortune to renovate.

Frequently, homes that seem to have no supporting external walls have steel or wooden columns intertwined between the windows which are important to consider when removing a wall.

Since window glass and the outer view take visual priority, it is understandable to overlook the fact that regular-sized beams are in position.

Masonry Walls

masonry wall can seem to be load-bearing as these walks are durable and made of extremely tough construction material. However, a masonry wall can also be non-load-bearing.

The location of the wall can point you to its load-bearing capability, especially if it’s an exterior wall. A category of masonry named manufactured stone veneer is not created to support loads, which is great to know when removing a wall.

It is built for decorative purposes and is therefore lightweight. Any pressure could send it falling apart. Foundation walls, on the other hand,  are generally made of naturally load-bearing masonry materials, as their central role is to support the weight of the house.

A Temporary Wall

If you’re lucky enough, the wall you want to remove is temporary. A temporary wall is a non-load-bearing wall or bears only its weight. It is similar to an inner wall, but with modifications:

You have no electrical or plumbing issues to worry about and can be extracted with only slight damage that can be readily fixed. A temporary wall is constructed on the floor, then raised into place.

Remember, the only reason for testing each wall is to give you an idea of whether it should be moved but do not try removing a wall yourself but instead, call a professional builder to undertake that project.

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