Is This Wall Load Bearing?
Dear Renovating Realtor: My husband just opened a wall and we are unsure if the wall is load-bearing, how can we tell?
-Sincerely, Doubtful Nancy
Hello Doubtful Nancy: If you are in doubt you should stop what you are doing and seek out a professional before moving forward with your renovation dreams. However, in the spirit of education there are a couple quick, but not definitive ways to identify a load-bearing (LB) wall.
Should you open up the wall and find the wall was built with 2 x 6 lumber instead of 2 x 4’s, it is likely LB. Alternatively, if when you open that same wall and you find a steel post or beam, it is most certainly load bearing. Finally, if the wall in question has another wall directly above or below it on the other floors of your home, it could be LB. It is important to note, LB walls can be moved but a permit is needed and plans must be drafted by an Architect or Engineer and submitted to the appropriate authority for permit approval before proceeding with the project.
There are many factors to consider when removing walls and it takes some serious know how. These are just some very quick and simple ways to identify LB walls to avoid major issues that could arise. If you do not have the skill or experience, it is not worth risking your biggest asset. Hire a professional!