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Ask Flipped: Was That a Load-Bearing Wall?

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I knocked down a wall and then my house collapsed. What gives?

Welcome back to Ask Flipped, where we answer very real questions from readers who are having problems with home decor, design, or anything else. Do you have a question? Write it on a post-it note and throw it into a strong gust of wind. If it was meant to be, we will find the post-it and answer the question.

Dear Flipped,

I recently got it into my head that the ground floor of my house would flow better with an open floor plan. I decided to knock down the wall between my dining room and living room and just open the whole thing up. I was thinking it could look like some pictures I'd seen in an interior design magazine. Anyway, as soon as I did that. The whole house collapsed.

I guess my question is: was that a load-bearing wall?


Concerned Renovator And Proprietor


Dear CRAP,

This is how you can tell if a wall is a load-bearing wall. First, follow the wall as far down as goes (if you have a basement, go there) and determine whether or not it goes into the house's foundation. If it does, it's load-bearing.

Unfortunately, since you already knocked that wall down, you can't do this.

Next, look for beams that span from the foundation to the floors above. If a wall contains beams like that, it's load-bearing. Again, this is kind of a moot point since you already knocked the wall down, but if you happened to catch a glimpse of a very long beam snapping as the house went down, that would be a good indicator.

Finally, look for floor joists, another thing that you can't do because you already took down the wall.

In conclusion, I guess we'll never know whether or not that wall was load-bearing. Some mysteries were just not meant to be solved.

Hope that helps,


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