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Replace A Load-Bearing Wall

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Load-bearing walls are important to any home. They provide structural stability which is why they're sometimes called “structural” walls. Load-bearing walls can be made of brick, concrete block, wood, or steel. You typically have one load-bearing wall in your house if you live in a bungalow type building with no basement, with the number of walls increasing based on the type of building you’re looking at.

In this article, we'll look at what a load-bearing wall is, why you would need to replace one, and most importantly, how you can tell if your wall needs replacing. We'll also explore the benefits of removing a load-bearing wall from your home. Here's all you need to know. 

What a load-bearing wall is and why you would need to replace it

A load-bearing wall is any wall that is used as a structural element or support for the entire structure. Even if your load-bearing wall isn't holding up the roof, it may be holding up the second floor, allowing the rest of your house to function properly. This can vary depending on what type of home you have. For example, in a bungalow-style single-level home – which has no basement – one wall typically acts as the main supporting point for more than half of the building's weight. Some homes are designed with two levels, an upper and lower section connected by one or more walls that work together to hold up both sections.

If your walls aren't functioning as they should this can cause serious structural damage to your home. For example, if a load-bearing wall in an upper floor is too weak, it can buckle and bend under the weight of the upper floor causing cracks in the ceiling and interior walls below. This can be a major problem in smaller homes or spaces with only one level because a single faulty wall could jeopardize the life expectancy of your entire building.

In many cases, repairing a broken down load-bearing wall isn't just about saving money over demolishing the entire structure. It’s also about the safety of the people living in the building. Having the right information and knowing which is the best option to take is crucial in this situation.

Reno of the Month: How Do You Tell if a Wall is Load-bearing? | Reston Now

Image Credit: http://restonnow.com

Before we move on, here's a little bit more about why you may need to replace a load-bearing wall in your home:

  • Your house is sinking ― this could be the result of faulty foundation work, damage to exterior walls, or if structural beams supporting your second floor have become severely weakened.
  • The weight of the upper level is too much for the lower section to hold up and your building might collapse; consider having it removed and rebuilt with properly reinforced foundations.

It’s also important to note that some types of walls that aren't load-bearing can be repositioned or moved (for example, brick or drywall), but load-bearing walls cannot. Understanding how load-bearing walls work will help you decide if you need to replace them.

How can you tell if your wall needs replacing

The best way to tell if your load-bearing wall needs to be replaced is by having it inspected by a structural engineer; this person will examine the existing structure and use their experience, knowledge, and expertise to determine whether or not there's any immediate danger.

If your engineer advises that your load-bearing walls are in a shape that doesn’t need replacing but could use with some strengthening, you might want to consider having them reinforced with steel beams. To do this, professional workers will either drill new holes in the brickwork or concrete block (depending on what type of material your load-bearing wall is made from) or attach steel plates across the wall to provide additional support. If you have a load-bearing brick wall, this is a fairly straightforward task as long as there isn't too much damage to the bricks. However, replacing a load-bearing wall made from concrete blocks or cement can be a lot trickier. This will require excavation of the area around the exterior of your building so that you have enough space to erect wooden beams and replace the old structure with new concrete blocks.

For most DIY homeowners, removing a load-bearing wall may be out of reach financially – especially if extensive repair work is needed on other parts of your house first, which is why deeply understanding if there is the need for such an action (or not) is crucial.

How To Paint A Wall

After a wall has been restructured, you might want to paint the surrounding walls to match the color of the other rooms in your house. However, you should be aware that most paints will not cover concrete blocks very well – they'll require at least three coats to look half decent and even though most house paints are specifically designed for exterior use, their ability to cover blocks is minimal.

For this reason, it's recommended that you either paint your newly exposed wall with a special primer or sealer before applying whatever color you want.

If you prefer natural colors to super bright shades, there are products available that will absorb any excess light or prevent unwanted reflections inside your home. Learning how to paint a wall is a great way to improve your property's appearance and also save money on expensive renovations.

How To Attach Wood To Concrete

Speaking of walls, there are also ways to attach wood to concrete walls.

In some situations, you might want to attach a wooden frame or molding directly onto concrete because it's the best way to achieve the desired effect. For example, you could use wooden strips to close in an open fireplace or create a wooden surround for your TV set – all without spending thousands on complex renovations.

To install wood planking on concrete walls, you will need:

  • Concrete nails
  • Wood glue
  • Power drill
  • Caulking gun
  • Hammer

The process to attach wood to concrete without drilling is straightforward to follow.

On the other hand, you might want to follow this process that involves drilling holes. First, use a power drill to make a hole in the wall at each point where you want your wood planks to go. Clean any remnants of mortar or concrete from inside the holes and then insert a concrete nail into each one.

Next, glue the end of individual wooden floorboards to these protruding nails and let them dry overnight. By doing this, you'll create a strong bond between your new lightweight wooden planks and your cement wall so that they won't come loose.

This method is also very easy for anyone who wants to attach wood moldings or window frames directly onto their kitchen or living room walls without hiring expensive professionals to do the job instead.

What To Know About Load-Bearing Walls | The Family Handyman

Image Credit: http://familyhandyman.com

Final thoughts on replacing a load-bearing wall

In conclusion, understanding how a load-bearing wall works is crucial to the safety and longevity of your home. If you decide to start ripping out the interior wall, make sure it's done right, and don't take any chances with your home or its structure. If this is something you might want to do yourself in the future, make sure you're well educated and read up on everything before starting.

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin is a household and appliance enthusiast and loves to follow the latest trends in kitchen and house decoration. He also loves to walk the isles of Home Depot and Lowes to review products and materials in person. Before joining Kitchen Infinity, Kevin owned a handyman company.

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