Walls & Ceilings

Radio: Load-Bearing Walls

Removing walls that don't have a function and making spaces work together is a great way to improve the traffic flow and the view in your home.

Listen to ON LOAD-BEARING WALLS or read the text below:

There are two kinds of walls: load-bearing walls and non-load-bearing walls. Knowing which is which is critical before you grab that sledgehammer.

You can do anything you like to a non-bearing wall, but if you remove or even cut into a load-bearing wall without adding temporary supports first, you can literally bring down the house.

Check the joists or rafters in your basement or attic; if they run perpendicular to the wall in question, it's almost certainly a bearing wall. If they run parallel, it's not.

If you still have doubts, don't wing it: ask a reputable builder to have a look. If you're planning major work, save yourself some hassle (and some surprises) by having a structural engineer sign off on the plans before you go for your building permit.

Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to-or reading-Bob's 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on construction, consider:

Rough Construction
Radio: Installing Drywall
Concrete, Block, and Slab Foundations