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Old 03-14-2011, 10:28 PM   #1
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


We're looking to open up our stairwell which will help our small kitchen area feel bigger. We would take out the top portion of the wall and leave a 44" high wall.

The problem we're running into is if one of the sections we are looking at taking out is part of a load bearing wall.

The truss, that sits on top of this wall, is a standard gable truss. There is a span of approx 9' that is open after this wall ends. The ceiling is vaulted (see blue shaded area on diagram below).

A few questions:
1. Do you think this wall is load bearing?

2. What is the maximum span capacity for a gable truss?

3. If you believe this is a load bearing wall, is there a way we could remove the two studs in the center and try to reinforce what is left?

We are having a structural engineer out this week to take a look at it but I wanted to see what people thought and if there are any questions we need to be sure to ask him.

Thank you!





Layout of the area - wall to be removed is in orange.

Roof trusses run from left to right on this diagram.






This is the gable truss that sits above the wall.

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Old 03-15-2011, 06:49 AM   #2
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


Why would you believe a bunch of people you don't know which no credentials, over a local engineer????

That corner post does not look like it was designed to hold up drywall.

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Old 03-15-2011, 07:22 AM   #3
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


Who said I would believe them??!!

I am just curious as to what people think - they can give an educated guess if they're interested and I will let them know what the structural engineer says.

Being a DIY chatroom I thought others may have run into something similar and could share what they found out about their home.

Is their home exactly like mine? Probably not, but again, just looking for feedback and I will post on Thursday night what the engineer determines.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:12 PM   #4
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


It will be interesting to see what the engineer says.

If your end truss was made by this company, then their website says you need a continuous load bearing wall beneath it.

http://www.midwestmanufacturing.com/...&productId=352
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:49 PM   #5
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


Your gable truss between the ceiling elevations requires full bearing below.

It is not a "stressed gable", which would look like the flat ceiling common trusses but have vertical framing every 2' on center for the rake ceiling gable. At least the S.E will tell you the beam size to carry the roof load for that portion and to solid block fill the floor, down to the bearing wall below (hopefully one is there).

It would have been cheaper for the builder to get a common, rake studded truss, no worries...

Gary
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:03 PM   #6
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


I was up in the attic today trying to learn more so when the SE arrives on Thursday and I can share whatever I can.

I found out something new...





I tried to do a few layouts to help diagram it:




So... as far as I can see the gable truss has no support directly underneath it (ie. it does NOT sit on top of the wall) It is attached to the 2x4's that sit on top of the wall that are there to secure the drywall to.

Not sure if makes things better or worse...

The house was built in the mid 80's and we have lived here for close to 10 years. We haven't seen any cracks or indications that there are any support issues in this area, or anywhere else in the house, or even on the roof.

Any more feedback/ideas with this new information?!!
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:52 PM   #7
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


The gable studded truss is a non-supporting truss, it cannot support itself. It is being held up by the studs extending up from the wall below.

A stressed gable truss looks identical to the common flat ceiling trusses next to the wall, opposite the rake ceiling. S. G. truss has vertical nailers installed after the structural webs are built in and fastened. You only have an "end gable" studded truss- non-structural, it needs full support. "Google" structural and stressed gable vs gable truss design or wait for the S.E.

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Old 03-16-2011, 07:01 AM   #8
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


I made an error in the diagram:



GBR in MA - as far as I can tell the gable truss has no support directly underneath it. The first picture on my last post shows the drywall connected directly to the bottom of the gable truss. I understand that a gable truss can not support itself but I am confused on my house as I don't see anything directly underneath it - only that it is attached to 2x4's that sit on top of a 2x4 that is above the wall below.

Only another day and we'll see what the SE has to say.

Also, do you know if the SE is normally willing to give a written evaluation?
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:46 AM   #9
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rchickering View Post




The wall on the other side of the Stairwell (untouched in this pic)...isn't that load bearing, or it that not in the middle of the gable?
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:41 PM   #10
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


Generally speaking, the wall in the middle of the truss span should not be attached to the truss. For that reason, according to most designs anyway, it can't be load bearing -- trusses need to be free to move up and down (unless specified differently by the manufacturer).

Regarding your gable end truss. It looks like you're just lucky, and it's not been a problem. What you're probably going to need to do is install a beam under it. It looks like there's a 2x6 tieing all the drywall "studs" together at the top. If that 2x6 is tied to some structural element at both ends, perhaps it is functioning as a beam and holding up the truss.

To me, this looks like one of the bone head things some contractors do against the instructions that materials come with, that happen to work out (at least so far).
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:45 PM   #11
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


pjordan - the wall where the doorway was is not directly below a truss. I checked this yesterday when I was in the attic :-)

pyper - I have no background or knowledge in home building but wouldn't there be some type of home inspection completed during/after a home is built to make sure it is being built properly? We are the third owner of the home and I know we paid to have a home inspection completed before we purchased the home. Not that home inspectors are structural experts but I would assume a gable truss in the middle of the home might cause some alarm and at least warrant a closer look or recommendation to have a SE inspect.

Tomorrow night is the night the SE will be here- looking forward to his final determination!
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:56 PM   #12
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rchickering View Post
We're looking to open up our stairwell which will help our small kitchen area feel bigger. We would take out the top portion of the wall and leave a 44" high wall.

The problem we're running into is if one of the sections we are looking at taking out is part of a load bearing wall.

The truss, that sits on top of this wall, is a standard gable truss. There is a span of approx 9' that is open after this wall ends. The ceiling is vaulted (see blue shaded area on diagram below).

A few questions:
1. Do you think this wall is load bearing?

2. What is the maximum span capacity for a gable truss?

3. If you believe this is a load bearing wall, is there a way we could remove the two studs in the center and try to reinforce what is left?

We are having a structural engineer out this week to take a look at it but I wanted to see what people thought and if there are any questions we need to be sure to ask him.

Thank you!



What is supporting the open area right now? I had nearly the exact setup for a remodel where I was removing part of the wall as you are. In my remodel, the open area and the entire span, was supported by 3- 2x12". Is there a second floor above your dining room?
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:45 AM   #13
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rchickering View Post

pyper - I have no background or knowledge in home building but wouldn't there be some type of home inspection completed during/after a home is built to make sure it is being built properly?
Whether there are inspections at all depends on where you live. Most places seem to have them now, but a few still don't.

If there are inspections (and if there were when the house was built), the quality of the inspectors and the scope of the inspection varies from place to place. Some really know their stuff, but some kind of don't. Some places inspect everything, some just a few key components.

But even if you've have the best, most diligent inspector in the world, everyone has a bad day now and then.

If they inspected the framing, it might have just been to check a few key items, like is the framing attached to the foundation, are the joists properly sized, are there clips attaching the trusses to the walls, and so forth. It might not have occurred to him to look to see if an end truss was installed in the middle of the building without proper support. Or maybe he didn't know it needed support -- they can't all be experts on everything.

It's also possible that there's something in the structure that we're not seeing in the photos. In general, the building code is supposed to be a representation of one way to do things that will work to provide a safe structure. You can do things other ways if you can convince the inspector that what you are proposing is at least as strong as the code.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:41 PM   #14
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


Just an additional mention.... the gable studded truss that belongs on an end wall should be supported by the wall- continuously- and there should be at least a doubled joist in the floor under said wall to carry the roof load, if not also the floor loads. The 9' span is way too much for a 2x side nailed to the 2x bottom chord of the truss. The S.E may suggest sistering 2-2x's to the bottom chord to carry the weight of the roof load over that open span.

Gary

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Old 03-21-2011, 11:34 AM   #15
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Do you think this wall is load bearing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rchickering View Post
pjordan - the wall where the doorway was is not directly below a truss. I checked this yesterday when I was in the attic :-)

pyper - I have no background or knowledge in home building but wouldn't there be some type of home inspection completed during/after a home is built to make sure it is being built properly? We are the third owner of the home and I know we paid to have a home inspection completed before we purchased the home. Not that home inspectors are structural experts but I would assume a gable truss in the middle of the home might cause some alarm and at least warrant a closer look or recommendation to have a SE inspect.

Tomorrow night is the night the SE will be here- looking forward to his final determination!

What's the verdict?

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