How to Tell if a Wall Is Load-Bearing | Ep. 136

load bearing wall demo
Unless you know what to look for, determining if a wall is load-bearing can be difficult — and making the wrong determination could be devastating. (AdobeStock ©David Gn)

Many homeowners want an open floor plan, even if their existing home didn’t come that way. Removing walls is one way to open up some space. Learning how to tell if a wall is load bearing takes some training, but you can be on the lookout for some obvious signs.

For instance, once you’ve located the wall you want to remove, check above it in your attic. You should see the ceiling joists cross over it or they join on top of the wall. You may also see braces joined on top of the wall with components of the roof.

If you see any of this, the wall is load-bearing. However, if the wall you want to remove has no other wood sitting on top of it, it most likely is a non-load-bearing wall, and it should be safe to remove.

You can remove just about any wall — but some removals are more expensive than others. And, even if a wall isn’t load-bearing, removing it may require to add further support with beams.

In addition, don’t forget the flooring! It still has to match up once you remove the wall. That will most likely require some patching up, so you better have some extra tiles or carpet on hand. Otherwise, you’ll need to get creative on how to cover the spot or purchase entirely new flooring.

Finally, there will be a visible patch in your ceiling from the previous wall. Now’s the time to prime and paint the entire ceiling for a finished, consistent look.

Listen to the Today’s Homeowner Podcast to learn more about these topics:

  • Paint sprayer recommendations for first-time users
  • How to fix nail pops in drywall
  • The best way to remove a popcorn ceiling
  • Filling gaps between plastic laminate flooring

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Simple Solution

Time-Saving Door Painting Tip — Painting doors requires a lot of time because you usually have to wait for one side to dry before painting the other side. Well, here’s how to paint a door without the wait!

First, use a paint sprayer, not a paintbrush or roller; a sprayer is simply the best and fastest way to paint doors, especially a frame-and-panel door. Take two screw hooks and screw them into the top of the door, one on each side.

Next, get some rope and make a loop around a ceiling joist. Then, simply take the door and hook it onto the rope loops. Now, with the door suspended off the floor, you can easily spray-paint the front side and then immediately go around and paint the backside.

Within a few minutes, you have a freshly painted door and now just have to wait for it to dry.

Watch: Finally! A DIY-Friendly Way to Paint a Door Like a Pro

Iron Pipe Clamp Rack — Here’s a simple, effective way to neatly store and organize long, narrow items, such as copper and PVC pipes, wood trim, bar and pipe clamps, fishing rods, snow skis and the like.

Buy two ¾-inch-diameter by 10-inch-long threaded black iron pipes, two-floor flanges, and two end caps. Securely screw the floor flanges to wall studs or to a horizontal beam or joist.

Then thread the pipes into the flanges, and tighten one cap onto the end of each pipe. Now use the protruding pipes to store your items.

Watch: DIY Pipe Clamp Storage Rack

Question of the Week

Q: How do I re-install a lock for a vinyl fence?

A: The best way is to go with a bolt and a nut! When going through the component of the fence with a thin-diameter bolt and a washer on both ends and the nut, take a hacksaw and cut the excess threads off. You could dab white paint or even white-out on the cut area to blend it out and prevent the nut from backing off — the white-out or paint acts as glue!

You also could reposition the lock and latch and drill a pilot hole and drive in the same or different screws. Or keep them in the same place and drive in a larger screw — you might have to enlarge the holes in the latch. This could be easier and you keep the same lock and latch!

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