One of the most common questions I receive from my clients when looking at condos, townhouses or houses in Langley, Cloverdale and Fleetwood is whether or not a wall is load bearing and can be removed. For most this is a question most people have no idea how to answer on their own but very important. Most older homes that will be needing some renovations will typically be somewhat cramped without too much open space, as floorplans were designed much different years ago than they are today. Its always safest to hire a contractor or consultant who is educated in these matters if your looking to remodel or create a more open space in your home however this article could be quite useful to you DIY’s out there willing to take on such projects on your own.
#1 – Look in the Basement
The first and best place to begin looking is the lowest part of the home, in the basement. If there isn’t a basement, start at the concrete pad.
#2 – Check all the Walls
Check for all walls that sit on the foundation walls. They will support the weight of the roof and are load bearing walls. This includes any of the exterior walls that rest on the foundation sill is considered a load bearing structure.
#3 – Look at the First Floor
*When in the basement, look up at the first floor joists. Find the walls that run parallel to those joists as they are not typically load bearing walls.*
#4 – Look at the Center of the House
The first and second floors of the home, townhouse, or condo, find any wall that sits comparatively in the center of the house and parallel above the center basement beam. Those are most likely load bearing walls.
#5 – Look for Perpendicular Walls
Commonly, any wall that is placed perpendicular to floor joists will be load bearing, while those that lay parallel to floor joists are not.
#6 – Look at the Posts or Columns
Another easy clue to load bearing walls are those that end in large posts or columns. Many columns may look to be decorative or to add design, but it may very well help support the weight of other walls and portions of the roof or home above.
#7 – Talk to a Pro
If you have any doubt at all as to which walls in your home are load bearing walls, consult with a professional prior to modifying your existing structure. Modifying or moving a load bearing wall without proper bracing can cause not only structural damage and collapsing wall events, but can be fatal to those inside the home.
Please feel free to leave a comment below or if you have ever had to remove a load bearing wall in the past with your good, bad or funny experiences with it. Or if you can recommend a great contractor or individual who would like to assist in such rents feel free to advertise your contact below!