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7 Tips to determine if a wall is load bearing

Ritika Tiwari Ritika Tiwari
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While reforming a house or eliminating its divisional elements, you must study whether the structure is a partition or you are facing a loading wall. This issue is especially important when the reform or rehabilitation to be carried out is in an old building or a rural house. These architectural typologies most commonly count on a load-bearing construction. The load wall of a building is that which provides structural support. However, many houses or buildings collapse due to without permit reforms and lack of appropriate technical advice.

Fortunately, today these types of actions are more legally controlled. We are also becoming aware of the dangers that come from skipping the rules or not resorting to professional help while carrying out a rehabilitation project. Therefore, before intervening on a vertical element in a dwelling, it is essential to consult a sound technician. It will assure you about the walls that have a bearing capacity and the ones that do not. If you want more information on how to tell if it is a load-bearing wall, then you must continue reading.

1. Location

A crucial detail to know while understanding a wall is its position inside the house. It is a significant indication of whether the wall is load bearing or not. The most common type of loading structures or supporting elements are the facade walls of the house. These walls are also particularly useful as thermal and acoustic insulation. If you are an experienced observer, then this is a visible tip. The bearing capacity of the rest of walls will be determined by the distance between them and the facade. It can also be defined by its relation to other structural elements, such as the direction of the beams, for example.

2. Load walls in a multi-storey

If the building has several floors, it could be handy to observe the position of the walls that we think are serving as a structural support on its different levels. To find out which walls of the house are loaded, it is best to start from bottom to top. It is usually in these buildings that the walls have a smaller thickness as they ascend in height. Some walls may even disappear on the upper floors like in the case of a roof. Therefore, it is necessary to observe the walls in the lower levels, which serve as the base of the building. On these floors, it is especially important that the load walls are not affected, so that their stability is not compromised.

3. Thickness of the wall

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The thickness of the structure will give us many clues as to whether or not it is a loading wall. The thickness of the load walls can vary significantly from one case to another. It depends on the type of the building in question or the material used for its construction. The materials most commonly used to build load-bearing walls in large buildings are concrete, prefabricated cement block, ceramic brick or thermo-clay blocks. However, all these types of walls have a thickness higher than that of partitions which are built in modern houses. They are usually of brick or plasterboards and have a width of about 10 cm.

4. Brick walls

When the wall is made of brick people, feel that it is more challenging to differentiate whether or not it is loaded. It is usually because you can find separating partitions without bearing function manufactured with the same material. However, a brick load-bearing wall will be of a higher thickness than the one made for a single partition out of the same material. It can be identified by the direction in which the bricks and placed and the type of pieces used while creating such walls. Another way to check is by observing if the walls are formed by several sheets of bricks which increases its thickness.

5. Slabs and beams

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The load walls are not the only elements that serve as a structure for this type of buildings. It also includes the forged slabs and beams. They too have support functions as they allow you to save the existing lights between the walls by locking the structure in its place and making it stable. These elements can also be of different materials like solid wood or metal depending on your location.

6. Structural deformations

It is common in old or poorly constructed buildings for the beams or slabs to deform, producing a seat of the horizontal structure. Due to this, the arrangement ends up being supported by some internal partitions. Even though these walls are not load bearing, they still become an active part of the structure. By highlighting this point, we emphasize the importance of having competent technicians while breaking down partitions or load-bearing walls in these old buildings. Although it does not compromise the stability of the structure always, it could still lead to cracks and leaks.

7. Reforming a house

When one is facing an old building and wants to undertake a renovation, an architect will start by studying the structure to determine which walls to maintain in the project. It will also allow them to make the necessary calculations for proposing the most appropriate solution. By doing so, the stability of the house or building is never compromised. Even if you have to remove a load wall then with proper technical solutions you can replace the structure with stable frameworks.

For more tips check out our ideabooks

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