How can I tell what is & isn't a load bearing wall?

  9 answers
  • Doris Byrd Doris Byrd on Sep 18, 2017
    it's a load bearing wall and the outside walls are ALWAYS load bearing . others it depends on where it is and if you have a 2 story house

  • Rae Rae on Sep 18, 2017
    Hi Trish. First, please understand I am not being judgmental, I just want to let you know that the correct term is "load bearing wall." This is a wall that supports the main weight of the home, and will severely compromise the safety and strength of your home if removed or not properly reinforced. That said, you can easily know which interior walls are load bearing by looking at your roof on the outside of your house. Pay attention to the direction that the peak of your roof runs. Any interior walls that run in the same direction of the peak of your roof are load bearing. Walls that run in the opposite direction are not load bearing. Hope this helps! Best wishes on your project!
    • B. Enne B. Enne on Sep 18, 2017
      I'm sorry, but that is not always true. I found out that I had a load bearing wall in the opposite direction. Granted it is rare but it can happen. It can be based on how the beams run in your basement too. A wall above it is probably load bearing.
      If in doubt hire an expert, because sometimes even they make mistakes until the wall is opened up...there are often surprises. I believe in DIY, and saving a buck, but a structural engineer or inspector can save you lots of money in the long run.
      Also, load-bearing walls is not the only issue...wiring, vents, plumbing sometimes shouldn't be moved, not to mention asbestos around old pipes.
  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on Sep 18, 2017
    Here is an excellent explanation on load bearing walls:
  • Shirley Gilleland Shirley Gilleland on Sep 18, 2017
    You have the wrong word here. The word is load, not low. It is a load bearing wall if it supports other overhead structures. See if there are any other walls support overhead loads, because all walls don't but there is always one or two that do support overhead weights. I hope this helps.
  • Alyssa Alyssa on Sep 18, 2017
    First, is it an exterior wall, or was it an exterior wall before an addition was made to the house? Exterior walls are almost always load-bearing. Second, if you have a basement, can you see your home's beams (the metal, timber or multi-plank structures supported by posts)? Any wall above and running in the same direction as the beam is typically load-bearing. Third, can you see floor joists, either looking up from the basement or looking down from the attic? If it's a load bearing wall, the joists should run perpendicular to it. Fourth, if you have a multi-story home, is there nothing (no wall, no column, no beam) directly above the wall on the next floor? If there's nothing above it but air, it's NOT load-bearing. And one final clue: load-bearing walls usually run in the same direction as the ridge of your roof.
  • Katherine Katherine on Sep 18, 2017
    its actually called a "load bearing" wall. It means that it is a wall that sustains the weight of something above it , such as an upstairs or a room or another floor. If you remove a load bearing wall , with out knowing if it is load bearing , you could have things come crashing down on you !!
  • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Sep 18, 2017
    Hello Trish :) My nephew went to college to be an architect and through him I learned the stuff that is in this first video I am posting for you to watch. I have another few videos for you to see too. Just make sure that you go to the city or county and get the licenses you need to do the work BEFORE you begin --- it's for your own safety ;)
    Now learning while looking at the way the walls in a typical house run:
    Watch this video beofre making a doorway larger or removing a wall:
    and NOW a video on how to remove a weight bearing wall:
    Well that's about all I have to offer about this, but I can tell you what my nephew told me about trying to do this as an amateur DIYer:
    Thanks for coming toHOMETALK for ansswers ;)

  • PJ Wise PJ Wise on Sep 18, 2017

    Knowing what a load-bearing wall is could save you many problems. This is because a load-bearing wall carries and distributes parts of the house upon it. Accidentally knocking down a load-bearing wall without the proper support can cause injury or death as the structure may collapse.

    Load-bearing walls are tricky to find. There are a few steps you can take to help you narrow down your search.
    • The outside walls are always considered load-bearing walls. Not only do they help support any other stories but they are the main support for the roof.
    • In the basement you should look for any kind of concrete footers and grinders. This is a good signal that the beam directly above them is load bearing.
    • Interior walls that happen to be perpendicular to the rafters are also load-bearing walls.
    • Another good sign that the wall is load bearing is if there is a support beam above the wall or a wall below it.
    • Finally you can always check the building plans of your home to see which are load-bearing walls.
    Load-bearing Wall Suggestions
    With a load-bearing wall being so important you should never start remodeling before knowing which walls are load-bearing. If you can’t figure out which walls are load-bearing make sure to call a contractor or a structural engineer before you start your work.
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