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How Can You Tell if a Wall Is Load-Bearing?

Load-bearing walls support the weight of the structure above them. In your home, you have non-load-bearing walls, which are only responsible for holding themselves up and you have load-bearing walls. Non-load-bearing or partition walls can only hold up lightweight items like interior doors, shelves or pictures. If you call a custom home builder to help with a renovation, you may need to know which walls are load-bearing. Fortunately, several clues can tell you whether a wall is load-bearing.

Check the Wall Thickness With a Custom Home Builder

A custom home builder can not only help you with your home renovations but he or she can also provide advice on how to determine a load-bearing wall.

You don’t have to remove the drywall to determine whether a wall can support a lot of weight. First, look at the thickness of the wall. Generally, standard walls are no thicker than six inches, but a load-bearing wall will have thicker studs and be wider than the usual six inches.

Inspect the Ceiling Joists

If you have trouble determining the thickness of the wall, look at the ceiling joists. If the ceiling joists are perpendicular to the wall, the wall is load-bearing. However, if the joists are parallel, they may not be load-bearing.

Remember that walls can still be load-bearing when the joists run parallel. If a wall has two joists running parallel on either side, the beams likely rely on blocking to join them and transfer the load to the wall.

Analyze the Roof Bracing

Go into the attic to check out the roof system. A custom home builder can help you identify the bracing running from the roof’s frame to the wall, the wall is load-bearing. Also, when walls sit on either side of trusses, you can safely assume you’re dealing with a load-bearing wall.

Inspect the Basement

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the attic, check the basement or crawlspace. Find the wall and look at the space beneath it. If another wall is directly behind it, along with other support systems, you most likely have a load-bearing wall.

Consider the Location

When it comes to the location of your walls, walls in the center of the house are more likely to be load-bearing. However, this can also depend on the type of roof system you have.

Sometimes roof trusses are designed to place the total load on the exterior walls. If you’re in doubt, inspect the roof system and the ceiling joist direction. In general, exterior walls are load-bearing.

Analyze Masonry Walls

Do not assume that all masonry walls are load-bearing. Some people believe that because masonry is so strong, it must withstand heavy weight. However, some masonry walls cannot support weight, particularly stone veneers. Stone veneers are decorative and do not affect the structure in any way.

Allow a Custom Home Builder To Help You With Your Renovation

A custom home builder can also help you identify any load-bearing walls within your home. While there are various signs that a wall can support a lot of weight, you should always choose to be safe rather than sorry. When you rely on a professional, you don’t have to worry about accidentally removing a load-bearing wall or hanging too heavy furniture. Contact us today via our website or call us at (919) 542-4457 to find out more about what Horizon Homes can offer.