Whether you’re looking to transform your home into an open-plan haven with lots of light and space, or you want to add an extension to your home to make way for an extra room or some beautiful bi-folding doors, you’ll need to knock down some walls.
However, this can become more complicated if the wall you’re looking to remove is load-bearing. In this guide, we’ll explain what a load-bearing wall is, how you can tell if a wall is load-bearing, and how you can safely remove it, so you can transform your space into your dream home.
A load-bearing wall is one that supports the weight of a floor or roof structure (also known as a ‘vertical load’), in addition to its own weight. This is in contrast to a partition wall, which only has its own weight to support, as well as a few additional light features such as pictures or shelving.
Typically, load-bearing walls are made from concrete or brick, and pretty much all exterior walls are load-bearing. So, if you’re considering knocking down an external wall for an extension, you’ll need to make sure you hire a professional to help you.
Not all interior walls are load-bearing, but it’s important you double check before knocking through. Here are a few key ways you can identify a loading-bearing wall – however, it’s always ideal to get a second opinion from a builder, before you start planning your home’s designs.
One of the main ways to tell if a wall is load-bearing is to see if it runs parallel or perpendicular to your joists, which you can do by either heading to your attic or basement. If the wall runs perpendicular to the joists (i.e., at a 90-degree angle), then you can almost be certain that the wall is a load-bearing one.
Load-bearing walls tend to be stacked on top of each other, so if your first-floor wall is directly above your ground floor wall, then the chances are that wall is load-bearing.
If you’ve kept the blueprints of your property from when you first bought it, then you should easily be able to tell whether a wall is load-bearing. In cases where it is, it’ll be marked with an ‘S’, which stands for ‘structural’.
The short answer is yes you can knock through a load-bearing wall, but you’ll need a professional to do it.
This is because you’ll need to find an alternative way to support the weight of the roof or floor that the wall is supporting. A structural engineer will be able to carry out a risk assessment of the work involved, as well as calculating measurements for a beam that will be able to replace your load-bearing wall.
You’ll may also need to contact your local council to get approval for knocking through an external wall. Do this after you’ve spoken to the structural engineer, as you’ll need to submit the drawings of the support beam. In this case, the council will likely also come to inspect your property once the beam has been installed, to confirm that it’s the same one that was shown in the designs.
Ultimately, while you can knock through an external wall (or any load-bearing one), you need to make sure it’s done by a professional, as it can be quite dangerous. After all, if you remove a load-bearing wall without adding in a beam that can support the weight of your home, the worst-case scenario is your ceiling could cave in.
However, the great news is that it can be done, so if you’re considering knocking down an external load-bearing wall to add in new doors, once you’ve found a structural engineer and builder, you can start picking out your perfect external sliding doors, or aluminium French doors.
Alternatively, for more home interior inspiration, make sure you head on over to our blog, where you can discover everything from designing your own garden bar, to tips on making a darker room look brighter, and much more.