In April of 2013, over 1,000 people died when the Savar building in Bangladesh collapsed. It was one of the deadliest building failures in history. 

The types of walls required by building codes matter!

Are you building or remodeling a home?

If so, there are several types of walls used for the interior and exterior of the structure. Make sure you know what you’re doing or use a trained professional.

Keep reading for information about the different types of walls used in construction. 

1. The All-Important Load-Bearing Wall

Load-bearing walls are strong, made from durable materials such as steel or concrete. If a wall has joists over the studs, it’s likely a load-bearing wall. It’s the load-bearing walls that make a structure strong and safe. 

During home renovations, never remove a wall unless you’re sure it’s not a load-bearing wall. 

It’s possible to remove load-bearing walls, but you’ll have to add one or more support beams. This makes removing load-bearing walls costly. 

It’s called load-bearing because the wall holds the weight of the house above it. It distributes the weight down to the foundation. 

The taller the building, the thicker the load-bearing walls. 

2. Retaining Wall

An outdoor retaining wall is another example of a load-bearing wall. But retaining walls hold soil in place. The load comes from lateral pressure instead of weight from above. 

Find more information about retaining walls on this blog

3. Non-Load-Bearing Wall

A non-load bearing wall doesn’t carry more than its own weight. It’s not supporting any heavy structures such as a steel beam.

But never assume a wall is non-load-bearing because it divides two rooms. Always make sure a wall isn’t load-bearing before removing it. 

Walls between bedrooms are usually non-load-bearing walls. They’re interior walls used only for partitioning rooms.  

And speaking of partitions…

4. Partition Walls

Partition walls are interior non-load-bearing walls.

They’re decorative and often made of glass or other materials.

Partition walls come in varying heights and often stop short of the ceiling. 

5. Wall Finishes

There are many types of finishes for both interior and exterior walls. Some houses look like they’re made from brick. But the bricks are sometimes only a facade finish. 

Outdoor walls are also finished in stone, concrete, or stucco. 

Interior wall finishes include tile, plaster, and wood paneling. Tile walls are most often found in the kitchen and bathroom. 

Do Your Research

If you’re building or renovating, do your research! If you’re doing the job yourself, make sure you know what materials are appropriate. 

For instance, steel framing is a bad choice if you live near the beach. It’s light, strong, and fire resistant, but it’s also prone to corrosion. 

If you’re using a professional, he’ll guide you on the best materials for your project.

There Are Many Types of Walls

When it comes to construction, there are many options for the types of walls. But the most important thing to know is the difference between load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls. 

When it comes to renovations, don’t remove a wall unless you’re sure it’s a non-load-bearing wall!

Be sure and peruse our website for other great tips and information.