What Are Interior Load Bearing Walls?
With open concept floor plans becoming more and more popular, many people across the Greater Toronto Area are looking to open up spaces within their home. Doing so in most cases involves removing a load bearing wall. Without the expertise of a qualified professional, simply removing a wall without the proper precautions can be dangerous, and have the potential to cause serious structural damage to your home.
The walls between rooms obviously separate one area or space from another. The walls of a typical home are constructed using several different materials. Determining whether a wall may be either load bearing or non load bearing should be left to a professional. The construction of a load bearing wall is not necessarily different than that of a non load bearing wall, particularly with regard to interior walls. The determination is made by what the wall supports.
Load bearing walls support and transfer significant loads. These loads are often transferred directly to the foundations of the home, or a load bearing wall may be supported by a floor structure or beam. If a wall supports a roof, floor, or some other permanent structure, it is considered load bearing. Virtually all exterior perimeter walls of a typical home are load bearing, as they usually support a roof and enclose the interior of the home. If an interior wall simply separates two interior rooms and supports no floor, roof, or other load, it is non load bearing.
Due to interior finishes and the various structure possibilities, the distinction between load bearing and non load bearing is not always obvious to a home owner. The determination should be made by a qualified professional via a plan review and/or inspection. The removal, modification or damage to a load bearing wall has the potential for serious, even dangerous consequences. The removal or modification of even non-load bearing walls has the potential for effects on electrical, plumbing, or other utility lines as well.
If you need the assistance of a structural engineer in the Greater Toronto Area, please contact Elite Renovators.