Modern real estate and home improvement shows depict the stars successfully making dramatic changes to a home’s layout by simply knocking down a few walls. Real life is a bit trickier. Because removing a wall could impact the integrity of the structure, it’s best to hire professionals who know what they’re doing and carry contractors insurance in case things don’t go as planned. If you’re still interested in going it on your own, you can figure out if the walls are load-bearing by examining three factors.
Built Perpendicular to Joists
The orientation of the wall in relation to the floor joists is a solid indicator of what role that wall is playing in the home’s construction. If it sits perpendicular to the joists, chances are it’s load-bearing.
Continues on Multiple Floors
Take measurements on each floor to determine whether the wall is in the same spot on each floor. If the placement of that wall is consistent on multiple floors of the home, the wall is likely supporting some of the home’s weight.
Goes Through to the Attic
If there is access to the attic, you can easily figure out of a particular wall is redistributing the roof’s weight. A load-bearing wall will have beams that extend through the attic to support the main beams.
It’s vital to the structure of your home to figure out whether a wall is load-bearing before you remove it. When in doubt, hire a professional.