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Determining Load Bearing Walls in a center entrance Colonial

Determining Load Bearing Walls in a center entrance Colonial

Determining Load Bearing Walls in a center entrance Colonial

New to the forum.  Looking into buying a center entrance colonial (Massachuestts) house.  Prefer a more open plan than is typical of this style, but 90% of the housing stock in the area are CECs.  Our ability to open the floor plan through low cost wall removal will determine the specific house we buy.  My problem is I don't know how to determine if a wall is load bearing and expensive to reconfigure or non load-bearing and relatively less expensive to remove.  I am looking for suggestions on determining if an interior wall is load-bearing or non load-bearing.  We have not chosen a specific house, so I'm don't think hiring an engineer at this point is the best approach.  Books for research?  Any other thoughts?  Thanks.

RE: Determining Load Bearing Walls in a center entrance Colonial

It should'nt be that difficult to determine if a wall is load bearing or only a partion.The following guide is no replacement for experience and does'nt cover all cases its just a start.You will need an engineer to confirm your thoughts.

1)If a wall at ground level is made of concrete blocks or concrete,it is generally load bearing.Check if the solid wall continus on the same line on upper floor.If it does it is most certainly load bearing.

2)If a wall has a hollow sound when you knock against it with your hand it is normally made up of timber uprights (called studs in Ireland/UK) say 4x2" with plasterboard attached to the timber.This type of wall can be load bearing or not.To check look at the distance between obvious load bearing walls.Timber floors generally do not span greater than 20 Feet.If the floor span (without looking at internal walls)is greater than 20 feet the internal wall is most probably load bearing.Good luck.

RE: Determining Load Bearing Walls in a center entrance Colonial

The most information that you can obtain from an existing house is from the basement and the attic (unless you tear holes in the walls and ceilings).  Go to the attic first and see if you can see the attic floor joists spliced over the load bearing wall(s).  Then go to the basement and check the floor joists over the carrying beams.  These carrying beams will let you know where the bearing walls are.  You can also see the general condition of the structure from these locations.

You should get a structural engineer involved, as many older homes have very odd load paths from floor to floor.

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