How to Tell if a Wall is Load Bearing in Abington, MA; Inspect Blueprints, Examine Ceilings, Assess Basement & More

You need to be aware of what that wall is supporting before you remove it to create an open floor plan, add additional space in your home or complete certain renovations. As load-bearing walls support the roof and are required to stand in place for the structural integrity of a home, demolishing a load-bearing wall could quickly impact the safety of your home. Today, we at C Townsend Construction would like to share a guide on how to identify load bearing walls.

Inspect Construction Blueprints

If they are available, a great place to start is by digging out the original blueprints. To tell you which walls are load bearing and which ones are not, the original blueprints for the home are indicated accordingly. Any walls that are marked as “S” in the blueprint, means “structural,” thus showing it’s a load-bearing wall.

Examine Ceiling

To identify any load-bearing beams that run across the house, take a look at your ceiling. Beneath any of these walls are the beams are probably also load bearing. It is most likely not a load bearing wall if there is no load-bearing beam below the wall you are considering getting rid of.

Assess Basement

For steel beams or joists, look in your basement or crawl space. This wall is most likely load bearing if you do spot joists in your basement and there is a wall that runs perpendicular. It is most likely not a load-bearing wall in the event the wall is parallel above the joists.

Check Foundation

It is load bearing if a wall beam is directly connected to the foundation of your house. They were previously exterior walls and are extremely load bearing this is extremely true for houses with additions, as even though these walls may be interior now. To help with this, checking the original blueprints.

Removing a Load Bearing Wall

You should never do it without consulting a professional builder or engineer you can remove a load-bearing wall. It could quickly lead to disaster in the form of structural instability and ceiling sagging if you remove a load-bearing wall without the proper planning. Before an expert comes over to your house, below is what you need to be aware of.
1) A permit may be required. If walls are being replaced or torn down, some city ordinances require a permit and a structural engineer’s sign-off.
2) Replacement support is mandatory. Before removing the wall, a structural support must be in place. Otherwise your home will start to sag over time, it is necessary to have plan in place.
3) Understand your beams. If you are looking to fully remove a load-bearing wall for this type of project, a heavy-duty beam is needed. You simply can’t rely on anything smaller to support your roof properly by purchasing and installing an LVL support beam (laminated veneer lumber) you can ensure the stability of your home’s structure.
4) Removal is hazardous. It is necessary to make the proper safety precautions at all times when removing load-bearing walls can be a difficult and dangerous task. Call an expert to avoid disaster and never complete this task on your own.

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