Understanding the importance of load bearing walls

[] Load bearing walls are important elements of concrete buildings as they support the entire structure and direct the weight to the foundation below it

Those who are get their home constructed or remodel their existing home, should know certain important elements of the concrete structure, which plays a huge role in ensuring structural strength of the building. One of these very important elements, is the load bearing wall.

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What are load bearing walls?

The wall that supports the weight of a floor or a roof structure above, is called a load-bearing wall. They are named so, because they bear the load and support the weight of the structure. A load-bearing wall conducts its weight to a foundation structure below it. If you are considering remodelling, you should consult with an architect, structural engineer or professionals, to confirm whether a wall is a load-bearing or non-load bearing.

Load bearing walls

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How to identify a load-bearing wall?

If you want to identify load-bearing walls in your home, the following may help:

  • Usually, exterior walls are load bearing and if there is any new addition involved, where some exterior walls look like interior walls, they are almost certainly still load-bearing.
  • In a house with an unfinished basement or one where the walls are easily accessible, finding the beams (this is most likely to be a metal I-beam or a multi-board wood beam) can indicate where the weight of the house is resting. Walls directly above such beams and walls above such walls, are likely to be load-bearing.
  • A load-bearing wall will often be at a right angle to the floor joists. A wall that appears to be holding up an intersection of joists at any point, is likely a load-bearing wall, as well.

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Can you remove load bearing walls?

Load bearing walls can be removed from the structure but only under the guidance of professionals. Removing a load-bearing wall on your own can damage your home’s structure considerably.

Tearing down a load-bearing wall needs a lot of planning and is more difficult than tearing down a partition wall. Load bearing walls have essentials like pipes and wires, which complicate the process of removing the wall, apart from its structural importance. Consequently, in addition to an engineer, you may also need to hire an electrician or a plumber. If you intend to remove a load-bearing wall on an upper floor, you may need to make modifications to the structure of the floor below it, to continue the load path to the foundation.

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If you live in a cooperative society, you may need special permission from multiple authorities, including the local municipal corporation, to remove the load-bearing wall. For this, you would have to submit the architectural plan, map and layout with your application. A structural engineer may visit your structure to review your request.

Also, before tearing down your load-bearing wall, it must be braced with temporary supports, such as beams or support walls, to stop your home from collapsing when the wall is removed.

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How do you know what a load bearing wall is?

You may need to hire a professional to identify the load-bearing wall. Additionally, you may consider the points mentioned in this article to identify one.

What happens if you remove a load bearing wall?

If a load-bearing wall is removed without supervision from experts, the structure may collapse.

How is a load bearing wall constructed?

In large buildings, load-bearing walls are generally constructed using bricks, concrete or blocks.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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