How can I know if a wall is load bearing or not?

We want to take down this wall to open a room up.Ive been told there is a tag inside it.Do any of you hometalkers know what to look for??? A yellow tag, red, etc. or is it just the way the wall sits in the lay out of the home? My house is a L shape and has no basement.3 br 2 bath, 1400 sq ft.Most big walls run north and south only.the main hallway is in the middle of the house. I wish I could get you a pic. any q's i'll answer to give more description.THX :)
  4 answers
  • 3po3 3po3 on May 02, 2012
    You can make an educated guess by looking at the framing from below the flooring or above the ceiling, but I would consult a structural engineer on this one. Not worth the risk. Get the peace of mind of a professional, on-site assessment.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 02, 2012
    Another thing to consider is what may be inside the wall....pipe chases and wiring are the most common. Wiring is much easier to move...but the project needs to be looked at with a "global: long term plan.
  • Bearing walls run from the basement to the attic and in your case from the slab footings hidden under the cement floor or crawl space to the attic. These walls typically run at right angles to the floor or ceiling joists. Nothing to do with tags, tape or colors. The walls that typically are bearing are those that run down the middle of a ranch style, such as hallways etc. If you have access to the attic, and your home is framed with truss framing, (these are 2x4 W shaped framing members) there are load bearing areas if they cover a long span. An engineer should be brought in to determine the load bearing areas of these items however., If you have traditional stick framing in the attic, look for where the ceiling joists overlap each other. That is an indication of were the load is being rested upon. If you cannot figure out the load bearing walls, I would suggest that you get assistance in the removal and re-framing of the wall opening to a point in which you can take over comfortably. As opening a wall is not as simple as one would think. What about wires, pipes, heating ducts, etc. The few extra bucks spent with a professional helping you open the wall will be well spent saving you all sorts of issues in the future if something goes wrong. Also I would suggest that you get a permit to do this project. Quite often people do this type of work and do it well, only to find out when they go to sell in the future, the inspector suggests that permit information be provided for this job. If you have no permit, you risk issues with the closing as some areas will require you to open the wall so they can see the framing that was done. Also if there is any loss due to a fire or structural collapse and no permits were taken. Your insurance company will not pay out for the loss and drop you.
  • Debi53 Debi53 on Apr 21, 2016
    Please get a contractor to check whether or not a wall is load bearing. I have renovated many houses both for myself and as a business, and I always get a contractor to check this. Even if it is loadbearing, you can still take the wall out by replacing the support beam and/or using a decorative column to support the wall. If it is not load bearing, go for it. If it is load bearing, still go for it, just replace the support.
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