There are some areas that need extra attention when you are renovating your house, especially if it is really old. It is crucial to find out which of the walls are supporting the house and their load-bearing capacity. It is even more difficult to identify the load bearing walls in the house that have undergone previous renovations. Hence it is always advisable to seek the help of an architect before you touch any of the walls.
For your own personal knowledge knowing these major walls is helpful. Here are a few tips to locate them.
Load bearing walls are those walls that carry the entire weight of the house on their shoulders, literally. These walls run from the roof through the floors to the foundation. These walls are one over the other on each floor because of their function. All exteriors walls are by default load bearing.
In the foundation
Go to your basement and look for the metal I beam or even thick wooden beams. Any wall directly above these beams is a load bearing wall.
Check out the floor joists
Floor joists are usually either looking up to the first floor or they are looking down from the roof. Load bearing walls are always placed at the intersection of joists. But again, it is not necessary that a load bearing wall is always present at the intersection of joists.
Walls that don’t have any supports or posts cannot be load bearing. But invariably walls that support roof rafters and under 3 feet are on top of load bearing walls.
The center of the house will have a clue
Look out for walls that are in the center in the first and second floor, they are usually sitting on top of the basement beam.
This knowledge will be useful for some DIY projects but for more important renovations seek someones review like that of a professional.