How to Determine if a Wall is Load Bearing
1. A load-bearing wall is one that is directly carrying the weight of the load above it. It does this by the above load resting or sitting on top of the wall.
2. You will need to determine if the floor or ceiling load above is being held up by the wall. You can start by determining if the wall is running parallel or perpendicular to the floor joists above.
3. Most walls that are running parallel with the joists above will be non-load bearing. There can be exceptions to this that will need to be further investigated to determine.
4. A wall that is running perpendicular to the floor joists is more likely to be load-bearing, but again this is not always the case and perpendicular walls can be non-load bearing.
5. Walls that run down the middle of a home might be load-bearing because it splits the house into two halves. Typically, joists will only run halfway across the floor and sit on the load-bearing wall. If you have an unfinished basement, you can look and find the center support beam. You can see the joists running perpendicular to the beam and typically resting on it.
6. If you feel you have identified the wall correctly, next you should consult your trusted local contractor to confirm if the wall is load-bearing or not. You are probably considering expanding a kitchen or dining room or wanting to create a more open floor plan. This is a good time to get a contractor involved to receive an estimate and help your project move forward.