A wall that bears and carries the structural load of a roof and transfers it to the ground is called a load-bearing wall. It is perpendicular to floor joists or ridges, and the thickness of the wall depends on the number of floors and load to be carried. A load-bearing wall is a structural member of a load-bearing structure, and in this article, we have enlisted and explained different types of load-bearing walls.
A structure in which the load from the roof is transferred to the foundation (ground) via walls is called a load-bearing structure. It is an older form of structure compared to the framed structure, in which load is transferred to the foundation by the assembly of beams and columns and where no walls have a role in transferring load to the ground. Load-bearing structures are simple to construct and budget-friendly compared to framed ones, which is why even today some people prefer them. Once you’ve made up your mind about choosing a load-bearing structure, another task is to decide which load-bearing wall to choose. For that, you will need a basic understanding of different types of load-bearing walls and their purpose. Read further, and then finalize the type of load-bearing wall you will need for your structure.
Types of Load Bearing Wall
- Precast concrete load-bearing wall
- Retaining wall
- Masonry wall
- Panelled load-bearing wall
- Engineering brick wall
- Stone wall
- Reinforced concrete load-bearing wall
01. Precast Concrete Load Bearing Wall
A precast concrete load-bearing wall is a ready-made concrete wall brought to the site and fixed in place. These walls are cast and cured into the desired shape and size at the precast manufacturing units, from where they are transported to the construction site. As they are already available at the time of construction, these walls accelerate the speed of construction and save all the time required for casting walls on site.
Once placed and fixed at the desired location, precast walls are ready to take the load of the slab and/or roof above them and transfer it to the ground. Use precast concrete walls to speed up your construction process.
The above diagram shows house being constructed from precast concrete walls.
To know how precast concrete structures differ from cast-in-situ concrete structures, refer to the following link and get the same idea.
02. Retaining Wall
Shushil Kumar, author of the popular textbook ‘Building Construction’ states that retaining walls are structures built to resist the earth or soil, liquid or fluid, and granular materials from sliding or falling. Retaining walls are usually constructed when your house is at a higher level than the adjoining ground. In such a situation, you will need a retaining wall surrounding your house to keep the soil from sliding down.
A retaining wall carries its own weight as well as lateral loads from the soil, and hence, it is included in load-bearing walls.
Listed below are a few popular retaining walls:
- Gravity retaining walls
- Cantilever retaining walls
- Counterfort retaining wall
- Piled retaining walls
- Gabion retaining walls
- Crib retaining walls and many more.
For a detailed study of the types of retaining walls, refer to the below link.
Materials used in retaining walls entirely depend on the specific use and type of retaining wall. The retaining wall is built using a variety of materials, including stone and brick masonry, plain and reinforced cement concrete etc.
The advantages of retaining walls are many.
Are you getting curious to make a deep discovery about retaining walls? Don’t worry… You are just one click away from knowing about retaining walls in detail.
There are numerous benefits to building retaining walls. The link below will take you to an article explaining the advantages of retaining walls.
03. Masonry Walls
A masonry wall is a wall constructed by placing masonry units (clay bricks, concrete blocks, and stones) in a repetitive pattern and binding these units with cement mortar. A masonry wall acts as a load-bearing structure when it is constructed from below the ground and proceeds to the roof. All the loads from slabs and/or roofs are transferred to the ground through this wall. The thickness of a load-bearing masonry wall varies. It is broad on the ground floor and keeps narrowing as the floor increases.
There are several advantages of Load-bearing masonry Walls.
- It is fire-resistant.
- It does not require moulds to give it a perfect shape. Thus, it reduces costs.
- Masonry Walls are more durable, inexpensive, and give better sound insulation compared to steel frame structures.
- Apart from this, it is easy to construct.
04. Pre Panelized Load Bearing Stud Wall
Pre Panelized load-bearing metal stud walls are mostly used in the exterior portion of the building or structure and mainly work as cladding material. According to ‘Donald Watson, author of ‘Time Saver Standards for Building Materials and System,’ these walls are made of metal, stainless steel or other materials like aluminium, copper etc. The metal stud framing is designed to withstand forces such as wind and gravity. Therefore, it is considered a load-bearing wall.
05. Engineering Brick Wall
It is a masonry wall constructed with engineering bricks. Engineering bricks are specifically designed with high-grade compressive strength and great moisture resistance.
These brick walls are used in construction for strength rather than aesthetic appearance. Engineering bricks are available in three grades, i.e., Class A, Class B, and Class C; each has specific functions. Load-bearing brick walls are preferred in the construction of sewage structures, retaining walls, damp-proof courses, groundworks, manholes, and similar utility structures.
The details of the bricks used in engineering brick walls can be found at the link below.
06. Stone Walls
Stone walls have been a fundamental type used since ancient times. These walls are built with solid stones, rubbles, and sometimes dry stones. Stone walls are included in load-bearing walls because they tend to support loads from roofs and other floors adjacent to the roof.
There is no doubt that load-bearing stone walls are strong enough to withstand adverse climatic conditions. In addition to this, they provide a cool indoor environment and a better architectural view of the structure as well. Various stone walls are built on sites, depending on the size and shape of the stones used in construction. Stone walls are constantly upgraded as time passes, and new ideas emerge. Stone walls are durable, fire-resistant, strong and cheap if locally sourced and readily available. The only fault noticed is that it is challenging to install because it weighs more than other walls.
Do you want to study more about the stones, their types, and the associated construction methods? Below are the links to refer to.
10 Types of Stones that can be Used for Masonry
Stone Masonry Construction: 40+ Various Guidelines to Keep in Mind!
07. Reinforced Concrete Load-Bearing Wall
As reported by Mueller, Kurama, and McGinnis (2014), reinforced concrete-bearing walls are frequently used in construction to withstand lateral and gravity loads. Site-cast-reinforced concrete-bearing walls are thinner than load-bearing masonry walls. The researchers have also discussed that the reinforced concrete load-bearing walls act as a robust structure that would resist fire for a long time when exposed to it from a single side.
Reinforced Concrete walls bring profit with them, as these walls are multipurpose in nature. Retaining wall concrete sleepers in melbourne provides a great service that you can benefit from. These can be used on the exterior, as interior partition walls, to withstand wind loads as wind bracing, and so on.
Well, reinforced concrete walls are directly associated with reinforced concrete-framed structures. Here, Gharpedia shares with you an article that will help you know what a reinforced concrete-framed structure is.
In conclusion, load-bearing walls are the walls that are built for load-bearing structures to transfer load from the slab and/or roof to the ground, and they are built to resist lateral (horizontal) pressure from soil and protect against erosion. Knowledge of different types of load-bearing walls helps you make the right choice for your structure.
Are you interested in grabbing more technical ideas about load-bearing and frame structures? Go through the below link and increase your knowledge.