Load Bearing Walls : Everything you Need to Know about Them
Every house has load bearing walls that support the building's entire structure. Since working on them can be very dangerous for both your house and your personal safety, here are a few important things you should know about load bearing walls before you start renovating your house.
The importance of load bearing walls
Load bearing walls make up the most important part of a house's structure. They support the roof, the floor and the other walls. Therefore, only professionals can safely work to remove or to modify them. For instance, if you want to demolish a load bearing wall, they will have to add extra support beams so to complete the project without affecting the building's integrity.
Afterwards, to avoid future problems, they will find a way to solidify the structure of the house. In some cases, this will be done by building another load bearing wall in another part of the house. When building a new room or a house extension, they will add at least one steel or wood beam to support the house's different components.
How to identify a load bearing wall
Although at times it can be hard to identify a load bearing wall, there are a few signs that could help you recognize them. First, these types of walls are usually very thick when compared to other walls. Another trick is to knock on the wall. If the sound is hollow, chances are it's not a load bearing wall. It's also good to know that in general, floor joists near load bearing walls tend to be perpendicular.
Last but not least, all the outside walls of a house are usually bearing walls. If a wall contains all the characteristics that were mentioned in this paragraph, it is probably a load bearing wall. However, you should always get a second opinion from a professional.
Removing a load bearing wall
If you decide to take the risk to remove a load bearing wall by yourself, your house could fall down after only a few knocks using a hammer or another strong tool. Since vibrations are so detrimental to load bearing walls, you should never underestimate renovations involving these types of structural elements.
That's why if you're planning to remove a load bearing wall, it's so important to hire a structural engineer or an architect to properly plan out the wall removal proceedings. Once you have the plans in hand, a general contractor will usually be able to complete the job.
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