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Old 03-27-2009, 08:33 AM   #1
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


I know bearing wall questions are generally best handled by an engineer, but I thought I'd throw this out there anyway since I'm not looking to remove the whole wall.

I'm redoing my basement/downstairs of my bi-level. At one spot, there's a doorway between two rooms from which I've removed the door. If possible, I'd like open up the wall just a little bit by taking out the existing framing and pulling the drywall back to the next stud. The steel I-Beam that runs the width of the house sits right on top of this wall. The current width of the wall on that side of the door is about 4', and because of how it's framed out, I'd be taking away about 14" to the next stud (instead of the usual 16).

Any thoughts on whether this is even feasible? I'm willing to double or triple up 2x4s on both sides of the new entranceway or add in a support pole if needed.

Mike

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Old 03-27-2009, 09:02 AM   #2
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


Is the wall actually supporting the steel beam or is it just a nonload bearing wall built under the beam??

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Old 03-27-2009, 10:52 AM   #3
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


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Is the wall actually supporting the steel beam or is it just a nonload bearing wall built under the beam??
Probably a good question. Not really sure. I just assumed that it was bearing the load since it was run right along with the beam. There aren't any exposed columns or poles in my basement or the garage next to it. There are finished walls across the entire length of the basement, though, so they might be hidden in there if they exist, and the garage is only one car, so may not need one.

A quick trip to Google says that it's probably not load bearing if it's under the beam, but it's hard to say for sure.

I'm guessing there's not a surefire/easy way to tell?

Mike
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:24 PM   #4
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


Post a pic. Sounds like the 2x isn't a load bearing stud anyway. If you have a sizeable piece of steel running the length of you house, it is PROBABLY not needed. Best to do some measuring and tell us the size of the steel, the length it is spanning, and what it is supporting (ie how many floors). Pics always help.

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Old 03-27-2009, 01:32 PM   #5
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


Ahh, bi-levels. I have one myself.

I would check thoroughly to make sure that there aren't steel posts supporting that beam. Sounds odd for a builder to support the beam with a stud wall. It just costs too much money to build a house that way (stud wall would have to sit on a continuous footing, versus a small footer for the post, plus a stud wall costs way more in material than a steel post does). Plus, why put in a steel beam if there was continuous support from below via a load bearing wall?

Good way to check is if you've got the two car garage option, go check in there and see if there's a steel post holding up the second floor. Try to figure out the spacing from that garage support, and poke a hole in the wall to see if there's a post in there.
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:55 PM   #6
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


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Ahh, bi-levels. I have one myself.

I would check thoroughly to make sure that there aren't steel posts supporting that beam. Sounds odd for a builder to support the beam with a stud wall. It just costs too much money to build a house that way (stud wall would have to sit on a continuous footing, versus a small footer for the post, plus a stud wall costs way more in material than a steel post does). Plus, why put in a steel beam if there was continuous support from below via a load bearing wall?

Good way to check is if you've got the two car garage option, go check in there and see if there's a steel post holding up the second floor. Try to figure out the spacing from that garage support, and poke a hole in the wall to see if there's a post in there.
There may be steel posts buried in the wall someplace. The garage is a one car, so there isn't one in there.

Is there a formula or rule of thumb for guesstimating where they might be if they exist? The biggest part of the finished basement has only 1/4 paneling on it's side of the wall, which I was planning to take down anyway in order to run some wiring. Sounds like I found my project for the weekend.

I'll pull the paneling down and look for the poles and/or will post pictures this evening.

Thanks for everyone's help so far.

Mike
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:02 PM   #7
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


What is the length of the steel beam?
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:09 PM   #8
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tigereye View Post
The steel I-Beam that runs the width of the house sits right on top of this wall.
Am I to understand that the wall sits entirely under this beam? In other words the beam isn't crossing the wall perpendicular to it, but is riding on top of the wall, parallel to the wall.

How are the beam and the wall fastened together?

Is there a header (4x8 beam or similar wood structure) in the door way above the old door you removed?

Is there any space under the beam where there is no wall?

The goal will be to determine if in fact the beam is bearing on the wall, and what span if any the beam can carry on its own. You may need to consider what is above the opening you want to make. What loads from above rest on the beam?

Even if you find that the beam is bearing on the wall you may still be able to install a larger header over the door/opening and support it at each end. You would want to support the loads while you replace the header above the opening with some temporary bracing. If it is a bearing wall you will likely need a permit from your local building dept. They would probably require some form of drawing to describe the change and may even be able to offer you some advice. You may even learn a great deal by simply calling them and describing your project desires, without identifying yourself.

Good luck
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:15 PM   #9
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


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I'll pull the paneling down and look for the poles
You may try to locate steel posts with a stud finder. Many of them have a setting to find metal in a wall.
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:12 PM   #10
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


Could the steel be in pockets in the wall at each end? Does the old saw about double jacked headers and base plates being load bearing a valid check here? I'm just asking the question of those who know more.
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Old 03-28-2009, 02:02 PM   #11
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Removing one stud from a bearing wall.


UPDATE:

Thanks for everyone's input on this. I did some poking around last night and found a couple of support poles inside the walls. Also noticed that there's no header over the existing door as it bumps right up against the beam.

Is it safe to assume then, that I could go ahead and remove the stud from the wall assuming that I watch out for electric and plumbing?

Thanks,

Mike

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