What is a Load Bearing Wall?
Load-bearing walls, or as some call them simply bearing walls, are vertical walls that is designed to support the weight of the floor or roof structure as well as any additional snow loads. They are designed to transfer the weight downwards into the foundation and footers that exist within the foundation..
Bearing walls can be used to distribute the load across the entire length of the wall or may have posts designed to place the load into one certain area called a point load.
Non-load bearing walls are simply used to make rooms and are often called curtain walls, or as I like to call them, drywall hangers.
Non-Load-bearing walls can be removed with no impact to the strength of the building or the general structure, the same can not be said of bearing walls here in Calgary where their accidental removal can lead to structural failure.
How to Tell if a Wall is Load Bearing?
Easiest way to determine is to consider the blueprints of your Calgary-based Home and with a quick check, you can tell.
Almost every exterior wall can be considered load-bearing. As per any other bearing wall, these walls are designed to carry the load downwards onto the foundation sill. This seems obvious yet many DIY will cut a wide opening for a bigger window or door while never truly considering the distribution of the load above by the use of propper sized Header for the span properly supported by studs on either side that operate as posts caring the point loads of that header downwards.
A wall Running in the same direction as the joists is not often a bearing wall. They typically are a safe wall to remove once thoroughly checked.
A wall Running Perpendicular to the ceiling and floor joists are often load bearing. Even if not structurally critical they will help carry the load and stabilize the spans of the joists above.
Any wall with a wall directly below it is most often a load-bearing wall. If you notice one wall running perpendicular to the joists just happens to have another wall stacked below it, you know there is a transfer of weight going on.
Any wall that rests of beams, are almost always load bearings. So if you were to check below in the basement you may see the beam or teleposts that carrry that point load that the beam that is supporting the wall above down into footers.
Any over laps of joists above that wall is absolutely a load bearing wall.
Also any wall that is a 2×6 or larger wall is often one, but could also just be used to hide ventilation and plumbing.
Sometimes without opening drywall or creating plans it is difficult to see, but often trips to the basement, or attic could answer the question quickly for you. When in doubt contact a Contractor like ReNEWvation to ensure prior to removal of any wall.
How to Remove Your Load Bearing Wall.
Kidding – kind of. Contractors like ReNEWvation can help you. We first determine whether it is likely a bearing wall. If it is the next step is to bring in our Engineer, to inspect and determine how we can remove it. A plan.
Once we have a plan that include adding new footers in the basement, or adding new beams in floors and ceiling, or simply adding a new beam and point load posts.
So once we have the report we will build shoring walls. These are temporary walls (the only ones ReNEWvation Calgary will use screws to build so they can be dis-assembled again) These shoring walls are built on either side of the bearing wall, and will eventually take the entire load of the home onto them once the removal of the wall is completed.
From there all the electrical, plumbing and ventilation needs to be redirected.
Once that is completed the posts and beam are placed as per the engineer’s report, creating the squash blocks as required.
You can contact us here for your Calgary Load Bearing removal renovation.
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