Can I Take Down This Wall?
by Dave Muirhead
The question I get asked most often while performing a home inspection is “Can I take down this wall?”
The answer is not simple and requires knowing where the support for the framing exists within the walls. Your basement can give a clue on how the house is framed. Usually you have a main carrying beam that runs the length of the home. On top of this beam are the joists that support the first floor.
In this picture, joists (grey) will travel from the front foundation wall to the center of the home where the opposite end sits on the beam (white). A second joist will travel from the beam to the back foundation wall (red) completing the first floor framing.
The walls within the home that sit directly above the main beam provide support for the ceiling joists supporting the second floor (colonial) or the attic framing (ranch). This framing is similar to the basement framing, it’s just covered by the finish material, such as sheetrock.