Is this a load bearing wall?
I'm no expert, but these are a few things I've found to help decide if what I'm about to take down is load bearing or not:
- If it's near or in the middle of the house, it most likely is load bearing as it is the "mid point". Often this is also where the joists end and start again (as the lumber is limited by size so they need to be joined to other lumber)
- If there's cement or "jack" type beams in the wall, that lead the the joists.
- when looking at an upstairs wall, if there is another wall or vertical beam downstairs that matches with that wall.
- if the wall does not seem very solid, or some/most of the studs are actually not firm with the horizontal pieces, it probably is not load bearing, as the weight would make the ends touch.
These may not always be true but from what I've seen they often are. Here's a pic of what I mean for #1. The red would be a load bearing wall Did not draw the studs, but sometimes it's actually just a beam.