A load-bearing wall is a wall inside a building that support the rest of the house. These walls cannot be removed or altered without also altering the way the structure is sitting. In every structure, the outside walls are load-bearing (meaning the structure above the first floor is supported by the walls outside). If a home has been renovated and more rooms have been added, the original walls of the home are still load bearing unless the weight is now supported by some other aspect of the structure.
Load-bearing walls are often directly above one another when moving floor to floor, so a load-bearing wall on the first floor will likely have a load-bearing wall above it. Load-bearing walls are critical to designing sturdy home that will stand the test of time and the elements, but it’s fashionable in today’s market to feature an open floor plan.
Many homebuyers want to tear down walls as part of their renovations when they first purchase a property. While it is possible to remove load-bearing walls, redistributing the weight of your home could have disastrous effects if you do not consult a trained professional. Incorrectly distributing the weight of your home and removing a load-bearing wall could result in instability that leads to permanent damage.
A home designer can help you identify the load-bearing walls in your custom home plans.