What is Load Bearing Wall? Types of Load-Bearing Wall

Load Bearing Wall

A load-bearing wall is a wall that is constructed to support the above slab or other building elements in a structure and also supports the weight of the structure.

By conducting its weight to a foundation structure, a load-bearing wall bears the weight of the elements above wall resting upon it and concrete, blocks, or bricks are the most often used materials to construct load-bearing walls in large buildings.

A load-bearing wall is most common in the light co

A load-bearing wall is most common in the light construction method such as in houses and a wall sill plate which is mated to the lowest base plate, each load-bearing wall sits on it.

Main Features of Load Bearing Wall:

There are the following main features of load-bearing wall such as;

  1. This wall is a structural element and from the roof and upper floors, it carries the weight of a house.
  2. To the foundation or other suitable frame members, these walls transfer loads all the way.
  3. The structural members like beams, slab, and walls on the above floors, these walls can support these members.
  4. It the wall is designed to carry the vertical load and directly above the beam, then it is called a load-bearing wall.
  5. On each floor, these walls are typically over one another and can be used as an exterior or interior wall.
  6. To the floor joists or ridge, these walls will often be perpendicular.

Types of Load Bearing Wall:

There are the six main types of load-bearing wall as given below;

  1. Precast Concrete Wall
  2. Retaining Wall
  3. Masonry Wall
  4. Pre Panelized Load Bearing Metal Stud Wall
  5. Engineering Brick Wall
  6. Stone Wall.

Precast Concrete Wall:

The precast concrete wall is known for its durability and has superior strength. The precast concrete wall is easy to install and provides excellent protection.

By casting concrete in a reusable wall mold, preca

By casting concrete in a reusable wall mold, precast concrete walls are constructed and then in a controlled environment, it is cured and transported to the construction site.

Characteristics:

There are following characteristics of precast concrete walls such as;

  1. Thermal resistance
  2. Moisture protection
  3. Fire safety
  4. Durability
  5. Maintainability.

Retaining Wall:

Retaining wall has many benefits like protecting areas from being saturated and reducing erosion and the retaining wall provides support and this wall is also called breast or revetment wall.

To withstand the lateral pressure of soil or hold back soil materials, the retaining wall is designed and constructed. Due to earth filling, liquid pressure, sand, and other granular materials behind the retaining wall structure, lateral pressure could be occurring.

There are the following types of retaining walls s

There are the following types of retaining walls such as:

  1. Gravity retaining wall.
  2. Crib retaining wall.
  3. Cantilever retaining wall.
  4. Piled retaining wall, etc.

Masonry Wall:

Masonry wall allows for unlimited architectural expressions and is the most durable part of any structure and provide strength durability.

To control the temperature in outdoor and indoor,

To control the temperature in outdoor and indoor, the masonry wall also helps in it and also increases the fire resistance. There is a very low lateral stiffness of the masonry wall.

Pre Panelized Load Bearing Metal Stud Walls:

For building exterior wall cladding, pre panelized load-bearing metal stud walls are used and the metal can be aluminum, stainless steel, and copper.

Pre panelized load-bearing metal stud walls suppor

Pre panelized load-bearing metal stud walls support gravity, wind, and seismic loading.

Engineering Brick Wall:

The engineering brick wall uses double open-ended bond beam blocks and by using a mold, it is built.

To improve the technical and structural performance of a wall or building, engineering bricks are specifically made, and to improve the look of a building these are more useful from a practical point of view.

In construction where strength and resistance to w

In construction where strength and resistance to water and frost attack are important, engineering bricks are used in such construction, and through the top to the bottom, engineering bricks have a smooth finish with perforations. In blue or red they are widely available and by their uniform shape, they are identifiable.

Stone Wall:

As a stone structure, the stone wall is treated and it is like masonry construction and the stone wall provides structure to a building and encloses an area.

By piling loose field stones into a drystone wall,

By piling loose field stones into a drystone wall, the first stone walls were constructed by farmers and primitive people.

Stone walls are made by stone and mortar or without mortar which is known as a drystone wall and these walls are mostly used for outdoor purposes.

Advantage of Load Bearing Wall:

There are the following advantages of the load-bearing wall such as;

  • The construction of the load-bearing wall structure is highly solid and durable.
  • Load-bearing wall structures possess high resistance of fire.
  • In the different colors and textures, the masonry units are available and to the user, provide freedom of creativity.
  • For this type of construction, advance preparations or fabrication is not required.
  • For the masonry construction, tools and equipment are simple and cheap.

Video

How To Build A Partition

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H&L Environmental Demolition Inc

This building method works both for load-bearing walls above the sub-level, and on partitions that are non-load-bearing. This is actually one of the easiest steps of building a house and is a great thing to practice with beginners. 

Measuring Space

The first thing you should do is measure the space where the wall will go. Remember that if a door will be in the wall, you need to keep the top board solid while accommodating for the door with partial studs. 

Measure across the floor and ceiling to make sure they are the same length. In older homes, sometimes the floor and ceiling will be different which makes things much more difficult. After you measure this, measure the vertical space on the left and right. 

Horizontal Boards

You will need two horizontal boards that run the length of the space you measured. Measure the space and the boards at least twice before cutting. Then measure the mark you made. Then, cut the two boards. 

Cutting Studs 

Studs will need to be placed every 16 inches. So, mark the horizontal boards every 16 inches. It’s okay if the end is less than 16 inches, it’s better to be less than more. So, add an extra if need be. Then, start cutting.

Each board will need to be the same length. It’s important to remember to take out three inches for the 2x4s on top and bottom. So if your ceiling is 70″ then cut the studs to be 67″ to accommodate them.

Screwing Studs In

After all the boards are cut, screw the two end boards on. This will ensure that you don’t leave an overhang. You can place the boards where they should go and leave them while you screw the others in. 

Use two screws for each end of each board, so four screws per board. It’s important everything is flush or else you won’t be able to screw anything else in, including drywall, properly. Take your time and do things right. 

Placing Support Walls

Build the wall while it is laying down on the floor where it should go when you’re done. When you finish screwing all of the boards in, then you can begin putting the wall up. 

When it is in place, use a rubber mallet to make sure that it is level. Hold the level on each side and hammer the wall with a mallet until it is in place. 

Now you’re done.  Don’t forget to mark it either way so no one else will have trouble identifying load-bearing walls in this home again. 

3) What to Expect

Before we dive in and provide you with the steps required to get a general sense of the load bearing walls in your home, we want to prepare you for what’s to come. 

Be aware that most cities will require you to pull a permit for remodels, especially if you plan to alter structural components. 

Even if you or a skilled contractor has experience

Even if you or a skilled contractor has experience determining load bearing walls, the city (in nearly every situation) will require a structural engineer to sign off on the plans. 

Although this may feel like an obstacle stopping y

Although this may feel like an obstacle stopping you from progressing with your project, it’s really for a good reason.

For example, most people would look at image 2 and assume that because the joists run perpendicular to the wall and because they end on that wall, the wall is load bearing.

However, if a structural engineer looked at that sketch (image 2) they would tell you, “it might be load bearing, but an onsite inspection to look at your attic, foundation, and your structure  is a must.”

There are no sure bets. 

Structural defect
Structural defect

Opening up a wall can be like a pandora’s box of anomalies! 

Structural engineer’s are trained to find things like undersized members (building elements) which could mean: 1) tons (literally) of deflection or “bounciness” or 2) understrength or insufficient framing elements leading to structural failure or building collapse.  

Structural Engineers can also provide you with documentation that your wall was inspected which can protect you.

If the wall is load bearing, many engineers will provide you with a scope of work that your contractor can use to perform structural alterations correctly and to meet required building codes. 

Conclusion:

Load-bearing masonry construction is not used so far today because of several reasons, such as it does not perform very well in earthquakes. Most deaths in earthquakes around the world have happened in load-bearing masonry buildings.

It is extremely material-intensive. These load bearing structures consume a lot of bricks, and are very heavy. This means that they are not green.

You May Also Like:

How to Tell If A Wall Is Load Bearing or Non Load Bearing

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If you’re thinking about removing exterior walls removing a load bearing, you tell if a wall is likely load bearing. There are a few different ways to find this out. 

When it comes to taking the wall down, it is important that you consult a professional. Even if you only consult them before getting started, it’s better than being overwhelmed with whether or not you’re keeping the structural integrity. 

Support Beams

The first thing to look for are support beams. If you have a basement, this is an easy way to spot them. Any beam or pillar in the basement has load-bearing walls above it. But if you don’t have a basement, things are more difficult.

What you can do is see if you can find a crawlspace under your home. If there is one, then you can find support walls and beams under there that will have load-bearing walls above them. Don’t remove these walls without professional help. 

Note: Most support beams are made of steel or concrete. 

Floor Joists

A floor joists are the small timbers or metal beams ranged parallel along the walls support a floor or ceiling. You might have to move up to the first floor so you can look at the floor joists. If you have open joists, then you can see them. Joists run between beams and transfer loads to vertical members. If you can’t find them you will need to use a stud-finder.

Normally, joists and studs are 16 inches apart in bearing walls. If your walls are load bearing and run perpendicular with your floor joists, then you might need have to rely on temporary walls.

Parallel Or Not

This works with floor joists or ceiling joists. If the wall runs perpendicular to the joists, then there’s a good chance that they are load-bearing. If the walls are parallel, then there’s a good chance they are not.

This is because to support the upper floors, the walls need to cover multiple joists rather than just run along one. If the wall only runs along one joist, it could slip, crack, or collapse. What this means is perpendicular walls are more likely to be load bearing. 

Go To The Top

Finally, if all else fails, you can check out the exposed rafters located directly in your attic. You’ll have to look closely for all of the clues with this method. If there are any walls up there, then the lower walls is load bearing.

Because you can also determine if the walls below are bearing by seeing any crossover boards. If the boards don’t run all the way across the ceiling, then the wall that is holding the seam up is load bearing. 

Gaps

Some exterior walls are supported on the ends. Pay special attention to your home’s blueprints for specific details the bearing walls. But all load bearing walls effect floor or roof structure designs. So, if a wall has a gap at the top, it isn’t non load bearing. 

Advantages of Load Bearing Structure:

  • There are some unique advantages of load-bearing structure such as:
  • All types of load-bearing masonry structures provide substantial fire resistance.
  • The construction materials needed are economical and the construction procedure is simple.
  • The load-bearing building or structure gives high strength & durability to the building.
  • These structures do not require time-consuming preparation to be implemented.
  • Load-bearing masonry buildings are more esthetically appealing.
  • The materials used in load bearing construction are available in different colors & textures providing numerous choices.

FAQs

How do you know what a load bearing wall is? You may need to hire a professional to identify the load-bearing wall. Additionally, you may consider the points mentioned in this article to identify one.

What happens if you remove a load bearing wall? If a load-bearing wall is removed without supervision from experts, the structure may collapse.

How is a load bearing wall constructed? In large buildings, load-bearing walls are generally constructed using bricks, concrete or blocks.

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