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  • Writer's pictureDeacon Maggard, PE

Can I remove this wall?

A common question we encounter, especially when working with homeowners or residential in general, is "Can I remove this wall?" or "Is this wall a load-baring wall?" mostly to open up spaces remodels or need to adjust their home's footprint.

While there are gadgets on the market that can help determine location of studs, electrical or plumbing, it is best to consult a structural engineer prior to demolition. If a loading-baring wall is removed without the proper shoring and support the following may occur:

Floor and Roof Sag -

The removal of a load-baring wall can have an immediate impact on the structures integrity. Visible outcomes of this is a drooping, dipping or sagging effect where a floor, ceiling, or roof may no longer appear level because it is not properly supported. Think of a bookshelf that has too many books on it at the center and it once was a straight shelf but with the weight is now curved.

Cracking or Deformations -

When a structure experience shifts and movement, there is an opportunity for visible services to have cracks or deformations. This can often be prevented or limited if the proper shoring and support is implements. These surface concerns can be a signal to consult a structural engineer for more analysis.

Structures Fall-

Total structural failure is another outcome of removing a load-baring wall without using the proper shoring and support. This can have extensive outcomes like a game of dominos because different load-baring walls are providing different loads supports throughout. Each load-baring wall is responsible for their portion of the structure, if one is not holding its weight, then often overburdening other parts leading to the failure.

If you are thinking about a new floorplan, or want to consider what your options are in a remodel, before embarking on demoing any walls, make sure to consult a structural engineer.


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