Before any modification on a wall, one must be absolutely certain of its nature. Removing or modifying a load-bearing wall can have a significant impact on the structure of the building. Some tips and advice to follow in this article, to recognize a wall.
Recognize a load-bearing wall according to its structure
The exterior walls are generally all load-bearing walls, and the facade walls are automatically.
A bearing wall will obviously be thicker that a simple partition:
- its minimum thickness is about 15 cm for modern buildings (no standard measures available for old houses).
If beams are supported on a wall, it can be considered as bearing.
From the inside, if it is possible to access the false ceiling, we can then push the prospection further:
- if there is clearance between the wall head and the floor, it is a non-load-bearing wall.
- the nature of the floor (poured concrete in place, wooden joists, steel or concrete joists, slabs) and the walls on which the joists are leaning, again reveal the load-bearing walls.
If the false ceiling is not accessible, the cellar can also provide important indications, bearing walls being most often superimposed from the cellar to the attic.
Ask for help to recognize a bearing wall
Work on modifying a wall should only be undertaken if there is no doubt about its nature. Handle a load-bearing wall weaken the structure of the houseor even cause it to collapse. If in doubt, do not hesitate to contact a professional.
To do this, several solutions exist:
1) If it is possible to reach it, the builder of the house will be able to inform the owner about the nature of the walls of the dwelling. A quick phone call that may not even be charged.
2) If it is impossible to define the load-bearing walls, then it will be necessary to call on a building inspector.
3) Other solution, engage a renovation consultant. The companies hiring their services will be able to design the load-bearing walls and will give their advice on the works that it is possible here to undertake.