Is there a way to tell if a wall is load bearing?

I want to open up my basement staircase which is situated between my living room and the front door. Right now it's all enclosed and removing the door to the basement as well as the two walls would open up the space. I'm worried about load bearing walls. How do I tell?

  7 answers
  • Diana Diana on Oct 24, 2017
    Set up a visit with a professional (contractor or architect) because this is as important as designing your home. You don't want to make a mistake trying to predict what is load bearing and what is not... if you have the blueprints to your house, you could take those to a professional who can read them if you don't know how to read them yourself. The blue prints will show whether or not a wall is load bearing.
  • Barbara Baldwin Barbara Baldwin on Oct 24, 2017
    If the upright posts are not removed can a loadbearing wall be opened up?
    • Ken Ken on Oct 24, 2017
      You will need more than the posts at each end of the wall. If you don't mind seeing the studs every 16" it should not be a problem. Drywall adds little in the way of structural strength.
  • Here are a few links for you.

    Generally what you are planning on doing requires a permit, make sure you find out your local building codes. Check your local municipality websites for info.
  • Ebbjdl Ebbjdl on Oct 24, 2017
    Are you going to do this yourself?
  • FL FL on Oct 24, 2017
    I called the Town to have them send someone to let me know which walls were load-bearing. It should be a free service and its why you pay taxes, plus they are professionals.
  • FL FL on Oct 24, 2017
     My late husband wanted to use real brick to line the wall and floors around a woodstove and the weight of the bricks had to be okayed by a guy from TownHall.
  • Sharon Sharon on Oct 24, 2017
    Most Cities don't send out their employees to explain what a load bearing wall is.... they are there to inspect building as it proceeds to the building plan you submit to get a building permit. You will need usually 2 inspections for this project.
    I suggest you have a consult with a construction engineer or a contractor for estimates. Before you hire one, be sure to check them out on the state contractors licensing board to make sure their license is valid, they have no outstanding complaints, have current insurance and worker's comp.