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Old 09-10-2010, 06:06 AM   #1
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Non-load Bearing Wall?


I know this is a difficult question to answer but I would like some opinions on this. I have a colonial and thinking about removing a wall between my kitchen and dining room. Here are some details:

1) The floor above the wall is a bedroom
2) There is not a wall above this wall, just the floor
3) Below this wall is the basement and there is a beam with 2 steel columns (believe directly below it)
4) This wall runs in the same direction as the beam but perpindicular to the floor joists below

I have had 2 contractors come over just to give an estimate on the wall and neither initially thought it was load bearing. What has me questioning it is the wall below this has the beam and steel collumns.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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Old 09-10-2010, 06:54 AM   #2
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Non-load Bearing Wall?


There are several ways the wall could be "load bearing" without supporting another wall above it, for example removing a wall could lengthen the unsupported span of the floor or ceiling joists above it. Another example is that loads are sometimes distributed in unintuitive ways around the framing for stairways. If you have any doubts, the safest course is to have a structural engineer, architect or other qualified design professional evaluate the structure and specify appropriate structural modifications. (In many communities such modifications will have to be designed/approved by such a professional in any case and the stamped drawings provided with the permit application.)

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Last edited by Michael Thomas; 09-10-2010 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:03 AM   #3
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Non-load Bearing Wall?


Would I be able to tell if this is a load bearing wall once I started taking down the sheetrock? I assume there would have to be a header there and not just the 2x4 studs.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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Non-load Bearing Wall?


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Originally Posted by maj0819 View Post
Would I be able to tell if this is a load bearing wall once I started taking down the sheetrock? I assume there would have to be a header there and not just the 2x4 studs.

Nope, there could just be a standard double top plate supporting (for example) joists running across it:



In an older house, it might be a single top plate, or there might not even be that - I've see all kinds of bonkers work, especially in pre WWII construction and remodeling jobs.
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Last edited by Michael Thomas; 09-10-2010 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:06 PM   #5
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Non-load Bearing Wall?


Thanks for the information. My house was built in 1991 but does not look like that matters. It seems like there is no way of confirming this then without a structural engineer then.

Even if it is load bearing, I assume I can still remove it and replace with a proper header correct?
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:17 PM   #6
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Non-load Bearing Wall?


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Originally Posted by maj0819 View Post
Thanks for the information. My house was built in 1991 but does not look like that matters. It seems like there is no way of confirming this then without a structural engineer then.

Even if it is load bearing, I assume I can still remove it and replace with a proper header correct?
Yes, though you also have to be concerned with what is supporting the header as you are now concentrating whatever load was carried by the wall at the much smaller area of support below the two ends of the header.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:24 PM   #7
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Non-load Bearing Wall?


It sounds like that basement beam is for supporting the floor. The wall appears to be non load being but i would get a engineer in to verify it and I would make sure you have a pro do the removal and make sure he is properly insured just in case something happens.

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Old 09-14-2010, 01:40 PM   #8
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Non-load Bearing Wall?


(A) strongly suggest you don't cut that wall without an engineers or architects say so (and any required permits)

(B) if the ceiling joists on 1st floor run perpindicular to the wall, then the wall most likely is load bearing, giving midspan support to those joists (but if the answer is "NO" it could still be bearing a load from another source)

I replaced a similar wall with a beamed arch 10 years ago. The wall was load bearing, and the engineers total bill for specs and basic drawing of the replacement beam (needed for the permit) was $500. Considering the cost of screwing up (and maybe being sued by later occupant) it was a cheap way to be sure I did it right.

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