RULES FOR BREAKING A LOAD-BEARING WALL

Are you planning a renovation that involves knocking down a wall? Removing a wall is a great way to enlarge a room and create a more open floor plan. But before going too far in the process, it is important to determine whether the wall is load-bearing. Here are the rules to follow to complete your project.

BUT WHAT IS A LOAD-BEARING WALL?

A wall built to support above a slab or other structural elements is called a load-bearing wall. There are several types of load-bearing walls. The prefabricated concrete wall is aesthetic, has superior strength and is known for its durability. It provides excellent protection and is easy to install. The retaining wall, on the other hand, provides lateral support. Installing a retaining wall has many environmental benefits such as reducing erosion and protecting areas from saturation. It is also known as a liner or breast wall. Masonry is the most durable part of any structure. It allows unlimited architectural expression and provides resistance to durability. Pre-profiled load-bearing metal stud walls are used for exterior wall cladding.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BREAKING A LOAD-BEARING WALL

There is no specific requirement, but you will need a permit from your local municipality to remove all load-bearing walls and ensure that your renovation complies with building codes. You will also need to provide detailed plans of the new support system that will replace the load-bearing wall, an architect’s or engineer’s drawing and possibly the engineer’s approval. In addition, the municipality often sends inspectors to verify the renovation work (during and after). And since municipalities vary, check with your local building department or the relevant authorities for information and advice. You should build a temporary retaining wall on both sides of a load-bearing wall before removing any part of its framing.

HOW DO I REMOVE A BEARING WALL?

The first step is to remove the drywall and strip the wall down to its skeleton. Since load-bearing walls have the weight of a house, they are generally built with stronger materials than other types of walls. Now it’s time to rip the inside out. Once all the concrete, bricks and beams have been removed, make sure you are ready with sturdy “two-by-four” or steel reinforcements to help you build a new permanent support point. Even if you started with a wall to support the load of the structure you are working on, you should not keep it that way. Pillars are a common option. Although they are less physically strong, they can still support the same load as a wall, if built properly.

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