When to Remove a Load Bearing Wall When to Remove a Load Bearing Wall
An important question that goes through many do-it-yourselfers’ minds is if and when can you remove a load bearing wall? In short, the mentioned type of wall is one that holds a load of one section of the house. One way load bearing walls do their job is to redirect the energy that the load, as well as gravity, push onto it back into other areas. All of these walls create a network of redirected energy, so each wall is sharing the load’s weight and pressure, reducing the pressure overall. In fact, load bearing walls transmit energy not only up and out, but down to the foundation as well as side to side—360 degrees. So, if one of these load bearing walls were to come down, then the load it was supporting, and potentially nearby ones as well, may come collapsing down, which is a very dangerous situation.
There is a key misconception when addressing the question of when to remove a load bearing wall, and that is the underestimation of the wall’s capabilities. Again, if there is more than one load bearing wall, as there usually is, chances are that the two are helping each other out. Because of such teamwork, greater weights can be held, meaning that taking one down could lead to a larger area of instability.
Much as in real-estate, location is crucial when considering the takedown of a load bearing wall. Note how the wall fits into the larger scheme of things in regards to the house. For example, there may be a load bearing wall only entitled as such for a specific room, meaning that taking down that particular load bearing wall will not bring down the house, only, potentially, the specific room’s stability. When load bearing walls that can be taken down are, often only floorboard warping, cracked finishings, or sagging floors occur, but not a collapsing roof.
A load bearing wall that should be removed is one that does not revolve around a second exit strategy for a particular room. In other words, a proximate door or window near to a load bearing wall is highly advised for the sake of fire safety—if a load bearing wall is destroyed thanks to a fire, the entire room, if not house, may come down, so there must not be any nearby dead ends.