Originally Posted by dukefan
How do you determine if a wall is a load bearing wall or not?
4 conditions usually are apparent with a load bearing wall.
1: The boards that are spaced evenly and turned up on their edge under your floors, usually 16" apart are called floor joists.
The boards that are spaced evenly and turned up on their edge over your ceilings, usually 16" to 24" apart are called ceiling joists.
Walls that run parallel to Joists are usually not Load Bearing.
Walls that run perpindicular to joists certainly CAN BE Load Bearing.
2: There are walls that run parallel with the joists, that ARE Load Bearing.
The walls that are at the ends of your house and follow the roofline in a triangular shape are Gable end walls. Often the wall under the gable is supporting the wall above it or the gable itself. This is especially true of houses with old style roof framing and without trusses.
3: Any wall that supports any part of a beam could be hiding a splice in that beam. So, any wall that even looks like it might be supporting a beam could crainly be a Load Bearing Wall.
4: Treat all exterior walls like Load Bearing Walls. Better safe than sorry.
If you are still not sure, Call somebody. There are many exceptions and you may be able to do what you want without compromising the stuctural integrity of your home.
Other places where I have found Load Bearing Walls:
The walls on either side of a staircase.
Walls in the middle of a remodeled house that USED to be exterior walls.
Another type of wall to be careful with is a Fire Break, or a Fire Wall. Walls between your attached garage and your home are Fire Walls. Walls around modern fireplace units are Fire Walls. These walls are intended to contain fires from the rest of your home. Before you cut into these walls, check your local codes and consult a building inspector if necessary.
Tom in KY, inspectorD could probably elaborate.