Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Determining Whether The Wall Is Load Bearing
Once you know the size of the R.O., you need determining whether the wall in which the opening is situated is a load-bearing one. Most interior walls don't bear structural loads, but some do. You need to know which kind of wall you have before modifying it and framing the R.O.
Sometimes an interior wall is used to transmit structural loads. The most typical example of an interior load-bearing wall is a partition that runs parallel to the front and back of a house, effectively reducing the depth of the house into two spans. In houses with basements, this wall typically sits over a heavy wood or steel beam supported by columns in the basement.
If you're building a new structure, it's simple to determine whether a wall is load bearing by analyzing the blueprints. When you're remodeling however, it's not so easy.
First, determine which way the roof rafters and floor beams run. They usually run parallel to each other, but not In the attic, the rafters (or trusses) are probably exposed. The attic floor joists may be covered with plywood, but you can easily see where the beams are by the nails in the floor. Intermediate floors are more difficult to assess because they are covered above and below by finish materials. In those cases, you can locate ceiling joists the same way you hunt for studs.
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