The reasons for leaving a load bearing wall in place are manyfold. Properly maintained, these walls provide structural support, divide up space and can prevent overloading of the structure itself. Keeping a load bearing wall in place may also offer cost and time savings.

Understanding when it might be best to keep a load bearing wall and some of the benefits associated with it are important considerations for any remodel or renovation job. Here we’ll explain why leaving a load bearing wall might make sense for you, what types of costs may be saved by taking this route over building an entirely new structure, and we’ll go over some potential obstacles that could be encountered if demolition is part of your remodel plan:

  • Why leaving a load bearing wall might make sense for you
  • What types of costs may be saved by taking this route over building an entirely new structure
  • Potential obstacles that could be encountered if demolition is part of your remodel plan

What is a Load Bearing Wall?

A load bearing wall is an important structural element in a house, as it supports the weight of the floor above it. In general terms, you can usually tell if a wall is load bearing in a split level home if it’s perpendicular to the joists above and running parallel to the floor joists below.

When making changes to your home, it’s important to take the time to identify if a wall is load bearing before you start making modifications. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of leaving a load bearing wall in place:

Identifying a Load Bearing Wall

Before you can begin to determine whether or not a load bearing wall should be left in place, you must first identify which walls are actually load bearing. It is important to remember that any wall located beneath an attic or roof rafters is likely to be involved in bearing some of the structural weight, so these should all be labeled as load bearing walls.

Exterior walls of the home are likely to have some degree of load-bearing function, as well as those walls which run through the middle of a building from the front to the back. If a wall runs perpendicular between two such support walls, it is almost certain that it does play an important role in supporting floor joists and other aspects of the structure’s stability.

In most cases, you will not be able to tell for sure just by looking at a wall whether or not it performs any sort of weight-bearing function; however, there might be certain features which indicate its potential importance. For instance, if there are lintels – metal bars intended to spread out a heavy burden across an opening – located above door frames or windowslots, or if supporting beam systems have been installed in relation to such openings via use of columns and arches etc., then these clues suggest that this wall could well be implicitly integral in reinforcing the structure below.

In accordance with this logic, many houses built with loft conversions will typically retain all existing load bearing walls during renovation works and simply install new beams and support elements around them; this preserves existing design and offers additional reassurance as regards safety compliance with local regulations etc., as stipulated by planners.


What are the Benefits of Leaving a Load Bearing Wall in Place?

When it comes to remodeling or renovating homes, many homeowners and contractors opt to remove load bearing walls in order to open up the space. While this can often make for attractive results, it isn’t always the best option; leaving a load bearing wall in place can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.

The primary benefit of leaving a load bearing wall intact is that it gives your home significant support. Walls that bear the structural weight of your home are critical components of its structural integrity – they hold ceilings and floors above in place, and help keep them from collapsing. Without them, your home could become unstable, putting both the inhabitants and any surrounding buildings at risk.

Another advantage of leaving a load bearing wall in place is energy efficiency. Load bearing walls provide insulation between room temperatures while also supporting the floors above that may otherwise be difficult to insulate with other materials like sheetrock or wood paneling. Additionally, if you ever decide to resell your home at some point in time, having an original floor plan maintained increases resale value exponentially over homes that have undergone major transformations due to wall removal projects gone wrong.

Finally, relying on existing support beams helps save money since there’s no need for additional lumber purchases or labor costs associated with demolition projects – ultimately this decision can help you stick closer to your budget and timeline goals. Before embarking on any project involving a potential load bearing wall it’s important to consult experienced professionals who will be able to clearly detect which walls serve as your home’s support system as well as develop solutions that work best around those areas while still meeting all your design objectives.

How to Tell if a Wall is Load Bearing in a Split Level

When considering whether or not to leave a load bearing wall in place in a split level home, it is important to know how to tell if a wall is load bearing. This is because removing a load bearing wall can put the structure of the house at risk and lead to expensive repairs.

In this article, we will discuss how to tell if a wall is load bearing in a split level home:

Examining the Floor Joists

A common type of home built in the 1950s and 1960s, a split level home has two levels that come together to form an “L” shape on each floor. Generally, the joists and walls located at the intersection of the two levels indicate if the wall is load bearing or not. It’s important to examine the floor joists to determine if a wall is load bearing in an L-shaped split level home.

Examining Floor Joists

The best way to tell if a wall is load bearing in a split level home is by examining the floor joists. If they run parallel to the wall on both sides, this indicates that it’s not load bearing and can be safely removed. However, if they intersect on one side, this means that they are supporting weight and cannot be removed without significant structural compromises.

In addition to examining the floor joists, there may be other clues you can use as indicators of load bearing walls such as windows, doors or pipes coming through one side only; or perhaps one side may even appear much older than the other. All of these could be signs that the wall is supporting weight from above and should stay in place for safety reasons. Examining the situation carefully and obtaining professional advice from your local building inspector can help you make a safe choice regarding any structural changes you plan on making within your home.

Examining the Wall Studs

When examining the wall studs in a split level home to see if they are load bearing, you should first take a look at the overall structure of the home. In most multi-level homes, load-bearing walls run perpendicular through the levels and rise up from the basement or ground level to support the upper floors. If you can identify these walls and if they coincide with your wall, there is a good chance that it is indeed load bearing.

Using a stud finder or measuring from one end of each wall to the other can reveal its intended purpose as well. Load bearing walls will typically measure 16 inches between studs instead of 24 inches. The number of studs in each portion of each wall can also indicate its purpose; multiple short sections separated by long sections generally indicates structural integrity as opposed to an inner partition which tends to consist of evenly spaced longer shelves.

The framing paper working on a section of the wall can also assist in determining if it is indeed load bearing since unscrewing cut nails usually indicates that its purpose is decorative rather than structural. Similarly, consistent nail spacing without sag when pressing down suggests heavy loading whereas irregular nails suggest lighter loads and non-structural activities such as paneling or window frames.

By paying attention to these indicators, you should be able to determine if your wall is load bearing before you begin any large projects around your home.


Examining the Wall Height

When determining if a wall is load bearing in a split level structure, you will need to examine the height of the wall, along with its construction and location. Height can be one of the indicators as to whether or not a structural wall is load bearing. If a wall appears impossibly high or longer than usual, it’s probably because it has been designed to support all the floor and roof joists, hence making it a load-bearing wall. In a two-story home, for example, load-bearing walls can be identified by their taller heights and thicker construction compared with other walls throughout the house.

Generally speaking, if the wall shares characteristics with other interior walls – such as shorter lengths, thinner framing material and less lintels (wooden support beams) over doors – then it likely is not bearing any structural weight from above.


In conclusion, leaving a load bearing wall in place can provide a range of benefits to any property. Depending on the circumstances, it could help add structural stability and integrity to your property while retaining a traditional look and feel. Additionally, load bearing walls are often cheaper than replacement materials and may have aesthetic benefits that appeal to some homeowners.

Ultimately, the decision to leave a load bearing wall in place should be weighed carefully by taking into account potential risks and deciding whether the benefits outweigh them:

  • Structural stability and integrity
  • Retained traditional look and feel
  • Cheaper than replacement materials
  • Aesthetic benefits