How to Find Out if a Wall is Load Bearing

Home remodeling can be very challenging, and deciding whether walls can be removed without damage to the ceiling, roof, upstairs living space, or other rooms is a critical decision that should never be made without a lot of thought, planning, and research. This type of project is often best left to the professionals, but some home designers and homeowners have the experience necessary to determine if a wall is load bearing or not. It is essential to learn how to find out if a wall is load bearing in order to know whether or not it would be safe to remove the wall from a particular room.

A load bearing wall supports the weight of the room, so it cannot be safely removed without risking structural damage to the home. In many cases, these walls support an entire section of the room, including the ceiling support, and this can mean massive structural damage to upstairs floors if extreme care is not taken. Here is some advice from the pros regarding how you can tell if a wall is load bearing in a room:

Never assume that a wall is or is not load bearing without talking to an expert first, especially if you have no or only limited remodeling experience!

There is no easy way to determine whether a wall is definitely load bearing or not, and it normally requires some special instruments to answer this question for sure. Although professional contractors become skilled at making this determination, even they often rely on these specialized instruments in order to make the final decision and avoid serious damage to the home or room. It may take some out of your renovation budget, but this decision could save you tens of thousands in the long run if you avoid a massive mistake.

A load bearing wall can sometimes be moved or modified.

Just because a wall is load bearing does not necessarily mean that it cannot be touched, and you can talk to an expert about your ideas for the room. On occasion, the wall can be moved slightly, or removed altogether, with the right addition of supports. In other situations, the wall will be able to be modified, such as by creating a window within the wall, with the right construction, tools, and support. The key is often leaving the wall intact for the most part.

A column or wall within a wall may be the load bearer.

Professionals tell stories about opening a wall, expecting it to be a load bearing wall, only to discover another wall or even a column within the wall acting as the actual support mechanism. When this happens, the plans for the remodeling or renovation could change significantly, including updates on a decision not to remove or modify a wall that you wanted to do something different with. It all depends on what the contractors find when the wall is more closely examined during the planning phase, or sometimes not until the plans are put into motion and work begins.

The Author:

Jessica Ackerman of WallDecorandHomeAccents.com, is an interior designer who illustrates how simple it can be to use wall art for home and Italian iron wall grille.

Photo Credit:  Candybox Images | Dreamstime.com

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