If you’re looking to have some renovations completed on a commercial or residential project, the chances are you’ll have come across a load bearing wall, or 10.
Load bearing walls are walls that can support their own weight in addition to the weight of the structural loads placed on them. They’re designed to carry the weight of your building, from the roof and upper floors, all the way down to the foundation. While they might look a lot like normal walls, they aren’t.
Knowing what to look for before pulling out a sledgehammer could very well be the difference between a renovation – and a demolition.
The best thing you can do is consult a builder. However, if you’d like to gauge some idea of what walls may and may not be a load bearing wall before contracting the services of a builder, there are a few identifying features you can look for.
If you are able to get access to them, blueprints are extremely invaluable in providing information about the original building. These will detail the location of load bearing walls, how many there are, as well as any other support beams in the property.
Most homes and commercial buildings in Australia don’t have a basement, so the best place to start is on the first floor. Look for walls with beams that go straight into the concrete foundation.
Does the wall have any other walls or supports directly above it? If not, it’s likely that it’s not a load bearing wall.
Any exterior wall will be a load bearing wall. This is due to weight causing pressure both down and outwards. If there has been a previous renovation or addition to the property, some exterior walls may now appear in the interior of the house. Don’t be fooled though – they will still likely be load bearing.
Ultimately, most of the tips above should only be used as a guide, as they cannot determine with 100% accuracy whether the wall is a load bearing wall. Major structural changes should only be made by a licensed, professional builder. The builders at Solutions Build can identify these walls, as well as offer a number of construction services including logicwall, AFS walling and blockwork. Contact our team if you’d like to know more.