Load Bearing Walls: Warning Signs and Removal Issues
Removing load-bearing walls can signify many problems. Load-bearing walls are essential for supporting the weight of your home. Removing these walls can cause architectural issues. Homeowners enjoy conducting numerous DIY projects around the house. However, we recommend always hiring a wall removal expert when dealing with load-bearing walls.
What are Load-bearing Walls?
Homes typically have two types of walls, load-bearing, and partition walls. Load-bearing walls are vital to your home because they carry the weight of the house. Weight transfers from the ceilings down to the home’s foundations. Engineers often refer to this as the load path.
Identifying Load-bearing Walls
Identifying load-bearing walls before removal is crucial. We recommend hiring a wall removal contractor for this task. Professional contractors will determine which walls are load-bearing and provide the best course of action to demolish these walls.
There are several identifiers for load-bearing walls. Checking the joists is one way to determine whether a wall is load-bearing. If a wall runs parallel to the joists above, it’s likely not load-bearing. However, if the wall runs perpendicular to the joists, there’s an increased likelihood that it is load-bearing. In some instances, load-bearing walls may run parallel to joists. Beams likely support these walls.
Inspecting support structures below the home can also help identify if a wall is load-bearing. These walls require support and may be connected to piers in the crawl space.
Warning Signs That a Load-bearing Wall Has Been Removed
Many homeowners remove walls to increase available space in their homes. However, sometimes, homeowners may unknowingly remove a load-bearing wall.
Sagging ceilings signify improper wall removal. Ceilings usually sag when proper support structures have not been installed following a wall removal. Drywall and plaster ceilings connect to ceiling joists. Removing a wall that holds up the ends of these ceiling joists cause ceilings to sag or drop down by a quarter or even half an inch.
Homeowners should note that most ceilings naturally drop due to age. However, if a roof sags by a quarter or half an inch immediately after a wall removal, contact a structural engineer right away.
Cracks in Drywall or Plaster
Removing a load-bearing wall without installing a replacement support structure may cause cracks to appear in the drywall or plaster.
Similar to ceilings, improper wall removal in a two or more-story home may cause floors to sag or become uneven.
Doors and Windows Sticking
Doors and windows may stick or rub for many reasons, such as moisture, humidity, and installation. However, removing a load-bearing wall can also impact the framing of doors and windows.
Hiring a Wall Removal Expert
We recommend homeowners hire a wall removal expert to prevent issues arising from removing a load-bearing wall. Dallas Wall Pros is a wall removal contractor that offers same-day consultations, scheduled delivery, and shopping consultations. We complete most demolition jobs within a day and have a team of qualified structural engineers to aid our process.