Often, while restructuring or renovating a house, it is crucial to determine if the walls are merely meant for partition purposes or are load-bearing walls. Especially in old country houses, assessing the nature of walls is very important as a larger number of load-bearing walls were very common in the past. A load-bearing wall as the name suggests, holds up a building and has structural significance. Or, it is deeply connected to structures like beams, slabs, vaults and arches in a building.
If structural changes are carried out in a house by shifting a load-bearing wall, the house can collapse. Hence, it is essential to consult an engineer or architect before going ahead with a renovation. Local laws have also become stringent in this regard and often permits are required to begin a refurbishment. And here are some ways you can yourself tell if a wall is load-bearing in nature or not.
Wondering how to tell if it is a load-bearing wall quickly? The easiest thing is to observe the position or location of the wall. For instance, the facade walls of a house are naturally load-bearing and often offer heat and sound insulation too. Whether an internal wall is load-bearing or not, can be determined by its distance from facade walls or the direction of ceiling beams.
Start examining the walls of a multi-storied building from bottom to top. This is because, very often, the floors closer the ground might have thicker walls and those high up might have thinner or no internal walls. It is crucial that the load-bearing walls in the bottom floors stay unchanged, so that the building doesn’t crumble.
Load-bearing walls can vary in thickness based on the material in use and the type of structure. Whether they are made with cement blocks, prefabricated concrete, thermo-clay blocks or ceramic bricks, load walls are always thicker than internal walls or partitions that are made of plasterboard or brick.
When it comes to a brick wall, it can be a little tough to figure out whether it is a load-bearing wall or a partition wall as brick is used for both. But remember that load walls will be thicker and you can also check the type of brick used or the way they are laid.
In order to make a building stable, beams and slabs are also used along with load walls. Hence, you can keep an eye out for such structures and they will indicate the presence of load walls. The above home was rendered by the home builders at Canexel.
Often, when a building is not constructed properly, internal walls or partitions start behaving as load walls. Hence, it is best to consult a professional before tearing down such walls as a mistake can lead to cracks or leaks.
If you are still not sure how to tell if it is a lead-bearing wall, hire an architect or civil engineer to guide you. He will thoroughly survey your property and decide which are the load walls and have to be maintained. Even if a load wall has to be altered, he can come up with the best way to do it without hampering the building’s stability.
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