An important part of any home is a load-bearing wall. Load-bearing walls might feel intimidating if you’re a beginner in the DIY home renovation and repair space. Use this quick guide to load-bearing walls for beginners to learn why these walls are so important.

What are Load Bearing Walls?

Load-bearing walls are those that support your home’s structure. Without these walls, your home’s weight would have uneven distribution, leading to structural damage. These walls typically run perpendicular to the floor joists in the basement or first floor of your home.

How To Identify a Load-Bearing Wall

Looking at the direction of the floor joists is one easy way to identify a load-bearing wall. It’s likely not a load-bearing wall if the joists run parallel to the wall. However, it’s probably load-bearing if the joists run perpendicular or at an angle to the wall.

Another way to identify load-bearing walls is to check what’s above the wall. The bottom-most wall is load-bearing if the walls on top of it are on the upper levels of the house. The wall’s thickness is also an important factor when searching for them. Walls six inches or more thick are typically load-bearing.

What To Consider Before Removing or Altering Load Bearing Walls

Removing or altering this type of wall can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, as these changes affect your home’s overall structure.

You must consider your home’s weight distribution and what other walls or floors may become impacted by the change. You’ll also need to ensure that any other load-bearing walls support the weight of your home after the alteration or removal.

Altering a load-bearing wall impacts your roof’s integrity. The redistributed weight may cause the roof to sag or, in severe cases, collapse if you don’t properly support it after the alteration.

You must also consider any electrical, plumbing, or HVAC systems running through the wall. The best way to ensure you make the correct changes is with the help of a professional.

Hiring a professional contractor to make searching for and altering a load-bearing wall is safer. Roofing contractors will inspect your home and ensure the roof isn’t sloping or leaning, and provide additional information on where it is in comparison to a load-bearing wall.

Load-bearing walls are essential to your home’s structural integrity. Use this quick guide to load-bearing walls for beginners and consult a professional for guidance to ensure your home renovation project is successful.