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Home Building Ideas


July 16
14:15 2014


All walls are either load bearing or non load bearing walls. A load bearing wall is part of the structure of the building – it holds the building up. A non-load bearing wall is only a partition that divides the various rooms of a building. You can demolish a wall if it is a non-load bearing wall; you cannot move or demolish a load bearing wall.

It is not easy for a layman to determine whether a wall is load bearing or not. You must rely on the advice of an experienced, licensed structural engineer.

Most modern multi-storey buildings are constructed with structural frames and non-load bearing walls. Most residential buildings in the US, and nearly all wood framed buildings are constructed with load bearing walls of the platform frame or balloon frame types.

Common types of walls are:

Masonry Walls: these are walls made of brick or cement blocks held together with cement mortar and are often plastered with cement plaster on both surfaces. Cement blocks can also be called Concrete Masonry Units or CMUs, and come in a variety of types, including

  • Solid Concrete Blocks
  • Hollow Concrete Blocks
  • Lightweight Aerated Concrete Blocks
  • Flyash Concrete Blocks

Masonry walls are heavy, and require lots of skilled labour, which means that they are falling out of favour in most countries in which labour is expensive. Their weight is also a problem in high-rise buildings.

For brick walls, a common thickness is 230mm(9″), and for concrete block walls, common thicknesses are 200mm(8″), 150mm(6″) and 100mm(4″). In the building trade, the thickness of the walls excludes the plaster, so if a wall is plastered on both sides, its actual thickness will be 1″ or 1.5″ more than its stated thickness in an architectural drawing or contract.

To run electrical, or any other wires or pipes in a brick wall, you have to first chase the wall. Chasing is cutting a long groove in the wall in which you can install your services. Then you can install a conduit – a plastic pipe – in the wall, fill in the gap around the conduit with cement plaster, and then pull your electrical wires through the conduit. This takes time and effort.

Masonry walls cannot be constructed to an unlimited height – broadly speaking, most are considered stable only to a height of 10-15 ft (3 – 4m). To construct a masonry wall higher than that, you have to design a special wall that has intermediate structural members to support the wall.

One problem with masonry walls is that they rely mainly on their weight to keep them in place; each block or brick is only loosely connected to the next via a thin layer of mortar. This is why they do not perform well in earthquakes, when entire buildings are shaken horizontally. Many collapses during earthquakes occur in buildings that have load-bearing masonry walls.

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Homeey.com Team

Homeey.com Team


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