Walls are built to divide the living area into different parts. They provide privacy and protection against temperature, rain and theft. Walls can be classified into the following two primary classes on the basis of their functions:

  1. load bearing walls
  2. partition walls.

1. load bearing walls

If beams and columns are not used, the load from the roof and floor is transferred by the walls to the foundation. Such walls are called load bearing walls. They have to be designed to move the load safely. The significant part of the walls is near the openings of doors and windows and the places where the concrete beams rest.

The minimum wall thickness used is 200 mm. It is also recommended that the thinness ratio of the wall defined as the ratio of thickness to effective length or effective height should not exceed 27. The effective height and effective length of the wall can be taken as shown in Table-1 and 2 respectively.

Table 1 [Effective height of walls in terms of actual height H]

Last position

effective height
Lateral as well as rotational restraint 0.75 h
Lateral as well as rotational restraint at one end and only lateral restraint at the other 0.85 h
Lateral restraint but no rotational restraint at both ends 1.0 h
Lateral and rotational restraints at one end and no restraints at the other end (compound walls, parapet walls, etc.). 1.5 h

Table 2 [Effective length of walls of length L]

Last position effective length
Continuous and supported by cross walls 0.8 liters
Continuous at one end and supported by cross walls at the other end 0.9 l
Wall supported by cross walls at each end 1.0 l
free at one end and continuous at the other end 1.5 liters
Free at one end and supported by cross wall at other end 2.0 li

2. partition walls

Partition walls are constructed to divide the floor area for different utilities in framed structures. They rest on the floor. They do not take the load off the floor and ceiling. They only have to carry self-weights. That’s why partition walls are usually thin. Table 8.4 shows the differences between load bearing walls and partition walls. Depending on the requirement these walls can be brick partition, clay block partition, glass partition, wood partition, and aluminum and glass partition.

difference between load bearing and partition walls

The difference between a load bearing wall and a partition wall is given in the following table:

load bearing walls

partition walls

They carry loads from ceilings, floors, self-loads, etc. They only carry self-load.
They are thicker and therefore occupy more floor area. These walls are thinner and therefore occupy less floor area.
Since the material required is more, the construction cost is high. Since the material required is less, the construction cost is low.
Stones or bricks used for construction Stones are not generally used for construction

Er. Mukesh Kumar

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Er. Mukesh Kumar is Editor in Chief and Co-Funder at Civil Engineering Website. Mukesh Kumar is a Bachelor in Civil Engineering From MIT. He has work experience in Highway Construction, Bridge Construction, Railway Steel Girder work, Under box culvert construction, Retaining wall construction. He was a lecturer in a Engineering college for more than 6 years.