Are staircase walls load bearing?

Last Update: October 15, 2022

This is a question our experts keep getting from time to time. Now, we have got a complete detailed explanation and answer for everyone, who is interested!

Asked by: Rudy Schowalter
Score: 4.3/5 (68 votes)

So if your staircase walls run along the same axis as your supports, it may not be load bearing (but still double-check with a pro). If the staircase walls sit at a 90 degree angle to your supports, it is almost definitely load bearing.

Do stairs need support?

Yes, the stringers need to be supported along their length, but they can span a few feet too, depending on 1) the width of the stairs, 2) the number of stringers, and 3) size of riser board. 1) The wider the stair the more load will be transferred to the stringers.

Are stairway walls load bearing?

Before removing a wall from around a stairway, determine whether it is load bearing; that is, whether it supports parts of the building above it. ... Provided the walls surrounding the stairs are not load bearing and have been removed, following are instructions for enclosing them on two sides (a side and an end).

How can you tell if a downstairs wall is load bearing?

To determine if a wall is a load-bearing one, Tom suggests going down to the basement or attic to see which way the joists run. If the wall is parallel to the joists, it's probably not load-bearing. If the wall is perpendicular, it's most likely load-bearing.

Are interior walls load bearing?

Check the foundation — If a wall or beam is directly connected to the foundation of your house, it is load bearing. This is extremely true for houses with additions, as even though these walls may be interior now, they were previously exterior walls, and are extremely load bearing.

How to Identify and Remove a Load Bearing Wall | Ask This Old House

16 related questions found

How big of an opening can you have in a load bearing wall?

Any opening that's 6 feet or less can have just one 2x4 under the beam. This creates a bearing point 1.5 inches wide. Any opening wider than 6 feet should have a minimum of two 2x4s under each end of the beam.

What happens if you remove a load-bearing wall?

Removing a load bearing wall may create structural problems in a home, including sagging ceilings, unleveled floors, drywall cracks, and sticking doors. ... Removal of load bearing walls without properly supporting the load they're carrying may occasionally result in a structural collapse and even injury.

Do I need a structural engineer to remove a load-bearing wall?

Walls which are load bearing can be removed but it is a complex and expensive process which you need a structural engineer to oversee therefore you should always take professional advice before doing so.

Do bungalows have load bearing walls?

The walls that run the same way as the joists protrude between the joists into fresh air. These are hence not loadbearing. The joists are only 4" x 1.5", so need all the support they can get! In most older bungalows, all of the internal walls are block with no stud partitioning, so all appear solid.


How do I know if a wall is supporting?

Look for walls above

Load-bearing walls usually have posts, supports, or other walls directly above it. The small knee walls that support the roof rafters are also usually located directly above load-bearing walls. Floor and ceiling joists that meet over the wall are also an indication of a load-bearing wall.

Do you need planning permission to move a staircase?

When you are adding or altering staircases you do need to get building regulation approval. If you think about the potential risk of someone falling from/through poorly constructed stairs you can understand why this is an important area where regulation is required.

How much does it cost to reconfigure a staircase?

A complete makeover for a standard staircase falls on the mid or high end of that price range. New treads and risers usually cost about $1,800 to $2,500. New balusters usually cost about $1,200 to $1,600. A complete makeover including treads, risers, balusters, a handrail and newel posts usually costs $4,000 to $8,000.

How do you tell if stairs are self supporting?

The straight middle section of a staircase is nearly always self supporting, hence why you can remove the spandrel section, as it's where the top and bottom parts of the staircase anchors is the critical part.


Can you put 2 stair stringers together?

Both visually and structurally, it is preferable to break long stair runs with intermediate landings. ... You also may consider doubling your stair stringers by nailing two 2x12s together like a beam in order to increase strength. Adding blocking between stringers also can strengthen the entire stair structure.

How much does it cost to find out if a wall is load-bearing?

Cost of Structural Engineer For Load-Bearing Wall

The cost to hire a structural engineer for a load-bearing wall analysis is $300 to $1,000, depending on the complexity of the project.

Do I need permission to remove a load-bearing wall?

As a general rule, you don't need planning permission for removing internal walls. But, if you are renovating a listed building, then you need consent for any external or internal work. You may also need your council to approve the work if it is load-bearing.

How much does it cost for a structural engineer?

Hiring a residential structural engineer costs $506 on average with a typical range between $342 and $714. Structural engineering plans cost $800 to $3,000 on average. They charge between $100 and $200 per hour.


Do single story houses have load bearing walls?

In a single-story home with a stick-built gabled roof, the bearing walls are the exterior walls where the rafters rest. The load from the roof is transferred from the rafters to the walls and down to the foundation footings. ... If it is perpendicular to the ceiling joists, it bears the load of the roof or floor above it.

Who can tell me if my wall is load bearing?

While you should consult with a building professional, such as a carpenter, architect, or structural engineer, to confirm that a wall is load-bearing or non-load-bearing, there are several clues you can check for to get a preliminary answer. And you can do this without removing drywall or other invasive measures.

How much does it cost to knock down a wall between two rooms?

Removing a wall can cost anywhere between $300 and $10,000 depending on the scope of the entire project. Non-load bearing walls run between $300 to $1,000 according to HomeAdvisor.com.

Can I cut an opening in a load bearing wall?

Steps for Cutting a Pass-Through in a Load-Bearing Wall

Hammer the studs into the temporary wall until they're snug. Use a drill/driver to secure a brace across the studs. Use a level to draw the outline for the opening. Cut the opening using a reciprocating saw.


Can a 2x4 wall be load bearing?

A. There is almost no difference in the bearing capacity — the wall's ability to support a compressive load, which is how most walls are loaded. Bearing capacity is a function of the footprint area of all the studs in a wall. For example, a 4-foot section of wall would have three 2x4s, but only two 2x6s.