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What are Structural Walls and How Can I Tell?

A common question many home owners ask is “What are structural walls and how can I tell?”

Structural walls are those walls within a building that carry the weight of the roof and upper floors. Another name is load-bearing walls. All the exterior walls of a home are structural as the roof ends land on those walls. The interior load-bearing walls are not always so easy to identify.

How do you identify an interior wall that is structural?

There are a few indicators you can use:

    1. 1. One way is to go into the basement or crawlspace and see where foundation walls and columns exist. The walls above these areas are structural.

 

    1. 2. Another indication of a structural wall can be found in the attic or the space between the floors. If there are rafters running perpendicular to the wall, then the wall is load bearing, or structural

 

    1. 3. If you are on the second floor, look at where walls on the first floor cross that wall. If there is a wall running on the same path, then both walls are likely load bearing, or structural.

 

    1. 4. Check the floor plans of the building if you have them. Floor plans often indicate which walls are load bearing or not.

If you are still having issues, bringing in a contractor is the best answer. A builder can tell pretty quickly which walls are structural and which ones are not. It is a good thing to do if you ever have concerns.