Are Closet Walls Load Bearing?

As a homeowner, you may wonder if closet walls are load-bearing. Fortunately, we have done the research for you, and here is what we found.

Not all closet walls are load-bearing. Some closet walls are just for decorations and serve no purpose but to demarcate spaces.

It is essential to determine if your closet walls are load-bearing or not. Keep reading to get detailed information about determining if a closet wall is load-bearing.

Are Closet Walls Load-Bearing?

3d rendering minimal wood walk in closet with wardrobe

Closets walls can either be load-bearing or otherwise. As you might expect, while some are responsible for bearing the weight of the home's structure, others are only used to divide and decorate rooms and do not hold anything structurally.

Load Bearing Closet Walls

If a closet is located near the main wall or a load-bearing beam crosses through the closet, chances are the closet wall is load-bearing.

Before removing or altering any load-bearing walls in your home, you should have a good understanding of which walls do and do not support the weight. If you remove or alter a load-bearing wall, the structural integrity of your home could be compromised.

This could have negative repercussions. This is primarily because pulling down a load-bearing wall requires more serious planning than simply ripping down a partition wall.

If you remove a load-bearing wall from an upper level, you will also need to modify the structure of the floor(s) below it to ensure that the load path is maintained down to the foundation. In addition to the building's structure, there are essential components, such as pipes and electrical lines, embedded within the load-bearing walls, which further complicates the operation.

Non-Load-Bearing Closet Walls

Sometimes, the closet walls do not support any weight and only serve as a decorative component. The reason behind this is that most weight from the building is held by either the primary walls or the foundation.

In addition, most closets are not big enough to hold significant weight like a load-bearing wall or other vital structures.

How Do I Know If A Closet Wall Is Load Bearing?

wide wooden dressing room, interior of a modern house. - Are Closet Walls Load Bearing?

Do the following to determine if your closet wall is load-bearing:

Check The Wall's Thickness 

Load-bearing closet walls can be identified from the outside of a building since they are often built to a greater thickness than other walls. 

This is because the load-bearing walls are located below the roof and joists, requiring additional support for that part of the building. Conversely, non-load-bearing walls aren't supporting the building's total weight; thus, they don't have the same level of thickness.

Examine The Wall's Location 

Whether a wall is a load bearing can be inferred by the location of doors and windows. Doors and windows in the middle of a wall are usually load-bearing. Another indication that a wall carries the weight of the structure above is the presence or absence of apertures.

Check The Building Plan

You can inspect a scaled-down building plan to spot the load-bearing walls. In contemporary designs, load-bearing closet walls often form in the structure's core and run vertically from the floor to the joists. The presence of these walls will be shown on the blueprint.

Call A Professional

A structural engineer can be consulted if you are still confused about the distinction between load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls. They can determine the condition of the wall concerning its function relative to the whole structure, and recommendations for strengthening or adjustments can be made.

How Thick Are Load Bearing Walls?

New home construction interior wood stud framing ceiling beams and stair

The thickness of a load-bearing wall is influenced by the material used in its construction. Concrete, blockwork, and brick are the three frequently used materials.

Significantly, the load-bearing wall's thickness is determined, among other things, by the structure, the number of levels that need to be supported, the materials used to create the wall, and the type of loads that are imposed.

Brick walls with 4.5 inches thickness are provided exclusively for partition walls. The maximum height for these walls is 7 feet. As a result, load-bearing walls should have a thickness of at least 9 inches. Walls with a thickness of 4.5 inches cannot be considered structurally sound if they are taller than 7 feet or if they bear any weight.

The buckle that might occur in walls is the root cause of problems. This tendency becomes more pronounced when either the height of the wall or the load undergoes an increase. Therefore, reinforced cement concrete (RCC) bands are used even in walls that are only 9 inches thick if the structure's height is greater than 10 feet.

Can A Load Bearing Wall be Removed?

Yes, it is possible to take down a load-bearing wall. However, this task should be done by a professional. The removal of load-bearing walls may involve several complications.

When you try to remove a load-bearing wall on your own, you risk doing damage that can cause significant structural damage to your home. Get a contractor's help to guarantee that the stability of your home will not be compromised.

Generally, it will be more expensive to hire a professional to tear down the wall than it will be for you to do it on your own. On the other hand, both you and your home will be in a considerably less dangerous situation, and your project will take less time to complete.

In addition to hiring an engineer, you might also require the services of a plumber and an electrician. 

Can I Remove One Stud From A Load Bearing Wall?

modern wooden wardrobe with women clothes hanging on rail in walk in closet, Scandinavian style, tidily packed,

The simple answer is "yes." You can remove any section of a load-bearing wall in most residential structures. On the other hand, this is based on the contents of the wall and the means through which you propose to redistribute the weight.

It is almost impossible to cut a load-bearing stud without causing problems. Before you begin cutting into the existing structure, you will need to place some temporary support that can carry the load. 

After you have decided to cut a hole in a bearing wall, you have to move the loads that are supported by the wall above the hole to the new support. This support should not be removed until the new structure is in place.

How Much Does It Cost To Have An Engineer Determine If A Closet Wall Is Load Bearing?

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There is no standard price for this. However, it may cost between $300 to $1,000 to hire a structural engineer to determine whether or not a closet wall is load-bearing.

This price may vary based on several factors, including the work involved. If you want more than just an examination, the price will undoubtedly be higher. Sometimes, the homeowner may request that the engineer create a plan in addition to the examination.

Also, the price of hiring a structural engineer depends on where you live. Structural engineers who live and work in desirable urban areas will also demand more for their services. These regions have a higher cost of living and more stringent building restrictions, which is why the price is higher.

To Wrap Up

Some closet walls are load-bearing while others aren't. The non-load-bearing closet walls are usually used as decorations. It is advisable to determine whether your closet wall is load-bearing. To do so, check your building plan, then the wall's thickness and location.

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