Recognizing a Load-Bearing Wall

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated January 20, 2017)

There are all kinds of reasons as to why you may want to knock down a wall or two in your home. However, if you accidentally knock out a load-bearing wall you can easily find yourself in a world of hurt. Load bearing walls are designed to hold the weight and stress of a building or home. If that support is removed, it only makes sense that the over time your home could very easily be susceptible to cracks, damage and warping. Recognizing a load-bearing wall before you begin doing your demolition can help you avoid all of these issues.

  • Don't touch the exterior. A good rule of thumb is that exterior walls are going to be load bearing. The reason that this is a safe bet is that in just about every design the exterior walls are designed to hold the weight of the roof. If you do plan on doing any type of work on the exterior walls that requires you to move sections of it, be sure that you apply some additional support before you do the work.
  • Foundations are a good indicator. Go down to your basement and take a look to see if you can find the foundations, any concrete footers, or girders. If you do, look up. Any wall that is located above these items should be considered load bearing.
  • Look at the rafters. See if you can find any rafters in your home, and look for any walls that may be underneath them. Of those walls that are underneath, those that run perpendicular to the rafters are going to be load bearing. It is usually done this way to help spread the weight of the roof out a bit more than just on the exterior walls.
  • Support beams. Take a close look at the wall you are wondering about and see if there is a support beam either above it or below it. If there is, you may be faced with a load-bearing wall, so you should proceed with caution.
  • Look at the plans. If you can, take a look at the original plans for your home. These plans should have all load bearing walls clearly marked and should be easily identifiable. If you are involved directly with the construction, then ask the contractor to point out the load bearing walls to you.

Keep in mind that these are just guidelines for recognizing a load bearing wall. If you are not sure whether you have correctly identified the wall, or would like a second opinion, then you need to have a professional come and take a look at it for you.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Buying Cars at Auction

Auctions can offer you the best possible deal on a vehicle. Here are some tips for you to be able to make your next trip ...

Discover More

Garden Lighting

Garden lighting is a great way to add just the right accent to any landscape scheme. But there is more to great lighting ...

Discover More

Emergency Radiator Repairs

Have you ever been driving down the road, and all of a sudden your engine temperature spikes? When that happens, chances ...

Discover More

Cordless, Compact, and Powerful! DeWalt's 18-volt drill-driver kit packs a big punch in a small package, with a powerful high-performance motor tucked away inside a compact design. A great addition to the tool chest of any professional or DIYer! Check out DeWalt 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Finishing Drywall

Just because you have hung your drywall doesn't mean that you are finished. Finishing drywall is a completely different ...

Discover More

Building a Glass Block Wall

For those who would like to add something of a modern element to their homes, then what better way to do it than with a ...

Discover More

Hanging Pictures with Style

Everyone can hang pictures on their wall, but not everyone can do it with style. Surprisingly hanging pictures with style ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)