Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How-To Tell if a Wall is Load Bearing

Although DIYing is always a cheaper solution than hiring a contractor, BUT and a big BUT, DIYers sometimes don't always know what they are doing! Am I right? Luckily we have an excellent resources at our fingertips. One of those is One Project Closer.

Today, I'm linking to a great article by One Project Closer on How-To Tell if a Wall is Load Bearing:

They write:

We’d like to stress that it is important to accurately assess whether a wall is load bearing before you remove it. Contact a structural engineer and get an assessment.

Remember, even walls that were not originally load bearing could become load bearing if other walls are removed–so this is a sophisticated analysis.

Here are some basic steps you can take to determine if a wall is load bearing. None of these are universally true; however, so the structural assessment is key.


Signs a wall is load bearing:

  • The wall is an exterior wall of the house.
  • The wall used to be exterior walls but have been made interior by an addition.
  • The wall is built above a steel beam. If you look in the basement of your home and can see one or more beams holding up the structure, it is likely that the walls built on top of these beams on the first floor are holding up the second floor.
  • The wall is perpendicular to the floor joists, especially if it is close to the support beams.
  • The wall has a larger wood top frame member (e.g. two 2×4s or larger, instead of just one 2×4 top plate).
  • Doorways or openings in the wall have large headers supporting the gap over the door.

Signs a wall is not load bearing:

  • The wall runs parallel to the floor joists.
  • The wall is a half wall.
  • The wall doesn’t have a mechanism to transfer weight to the structure below.
For the rest of the article, visit One Project Closer's website!

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