Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Load Bearing Wall?

Simple projects do not require permits, but what about cutting a hole in the wall to make a pass through to the kitchen or living room or to change the existing space? That depends.

Can you be sure that the area you are planning to cut has no wires running through it? Slicing through your own phone, internet, or power cords sure would make your face red and be inconvenient!

Also, is the wall load bearing? What's a load bearing wall, anyhow? We asked the Natural Handyman, who had much to say on load bearing walls, and why doing anything to them is going to give rise to the need for a permit.

Look at the structure of the house and ask the following questions:
  1. Is there a significant load above, such a built-up (multi-board) carrying beam or another wall? Is there a full floor above it, or just an empty attic?
  2. If you can view the joists in the attic, is the wall parallel or perpendicular to them? Generally, load bearing walls are perpendicular to the joists they support. If two separate floor joists or ceiling joists intersect over a wall, that wall should be considered load bearing.
  3. Is it an outside wall? You should consider all outside walls load bearing. If the house has been remodeled, a former outside wall could now be an inside wall. Examine the foundation to find these "stealth" outside walls.
  4. Look at the beams and posts in the basement. In multi-floor dwellings, posts and beams in the basement indicate bearing walls above them, even up two floors. Be aware that these multi-floor bearing walls may not be directly above each other.
  5. In complex, large homes, the basement can be a jungle of carrying beams and posts, crisscrossed and interlocked. Careful inspection is necessary to determine how this maze of beams supports the house, and its effect on the walls above.
If you have any doubts about the strength or loading status of the wall, GET PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE! You may even be able to get your local town building inspector to stop by and take a look around!

No comments:

Post a Comment