An open floor plan is one of the best ways to take advantage of limited indoor space. It also means you will have to make sure you don’t accidentally knock down important support structures. In this blog, kitchen remodeling company Bella Kitchen & Design discusses how to identify load-bearing walls before you start making your remodeling plans.
What Are Load-Bearing Walls?
There are two types of walls within an indoor space: partition walls, which can be taken out without affecting the entire structure, and load-bearing walls, which support the floor or roof structure above it. Any part of a load-bearing wall that is removed must be replaced with a similar structural support. Not doing so could cause parts of the structural components above it to crash and collapse.
How to Identify Load Bearing Walls
Your local interior remodeler knows more than just installing countertops and kitchen cabinets. If you’re not sure whether a wall is a load-bearing one, your best bet is to consult with a remodeler. You may notice some of the following indicators of a load-bearing wall:
- It’s Perpendicular to Joists — Most types of load-bearing walls are built perpendicular to joists, which means a wall that’s parallel to joists can be taken out. There are some exceptions, such as when the wall is aligned directly under a single joist.
- Exterior Walls — Exterior walls are walls that separate the indoor space from the outdoors. As part of the house’s perimeter, it’s almost always load-bearing. Support beams, also known as headers, span the top of windows and doors. Exterior walls with very large windows typically have
- Masonry Walls — Masonry walls are generally load-bearing, except when used on certain parts of the exterior walls. Look out for any component that has the word “veneer” on it: as the name suggests, it’s installed on the surface, and is not made to carry any kind of load.
- Underlying Support Structures — A first-floor wall may be supported by another wall or supporting pier, beam, or column in the basement or crawl space.
If you’re not sure whether or not you should take out a wall for your upcoming remodeling project, it is best to consult your local remodeler.