A bearing wall, or a load bearing wall, is one that holds the weight of your home. Alternatively, it is a wall that transfers the load of your structure from one section of your home to another. Without bearing walls, a house would crumble. There are several ways to identify a load bearing wall in a home.
Homes with a basement: In homes that have a basement, the surrounding walls that run parallel to joists are bearing walls. These hold the weight of the home and keep the structure from crashing into the basement.
Homes without a basement: When a home doesn’t have a basement, the walls that make up the exterior of the home are bearing walls. They hold the weight of the upper floors and roof.
Additionally, walls that are located primarily in the center of the home are bearing walls. If you have a basement, a wall in the center of the home may run directly above a beam in the basement ceiling. This would be a load bearing wall.
If you are questioning which walls in your home, whether old or new, are load bearing, consult a professional. This is especially important if you are planning any renovations. If you want to know which walls are load bearing in your custom home plan, speak to your home’s designer. A home designer can easily point out which of your walls are load bearing and you can make note for future reference.