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claydiy 12-07-2012 08:18 AM

Opening up a living room wall
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Ok, so this is my first post and first major project.
I have a wall that sits the opposite direction as the joists so I assume itís a load bearing wall that I would like to open up. I want to cut an opening into the wall so that I can see into the next room. The wall is in the shape of a "J" where it has two turns so I want to keep the first corner as the post in position, but want to remove a couple studs for the opening in the middle.
My question is as long as I don't touch the first corner posts can I take out the studs in the middle with no issues? Also, the last part of the "J" wall goes opposite direction of the wall I want to open up, so can I take that entire section out? Iíve attached a picture so I appreciate any feedback you have.

brockmiera 12-07-2012 10:14 AM

If its a load bearing wall, you can't take out full studs without a proper header to distribute the load to the studs that will remain intact. A framed load bearing wall assumes that each stud will transfer the vertical loads present 8" to either side.

On another note. Its almost impossible to know if a wall is load bearing without looking at how its framed and how the rafters are tied in to it. Unless of course you have an original set of plans.

A lot more information is needed for anyone on here to help you out.

what floor is this on? What is above it? what is below it? Are they rafters or trusses?

From what I can see in that picture, due to the fact that your ceiling height is lower on the right side, you might already have a beam in there that supports the rafters. Again impossible to know without opening it up.

claydiy 12-07-2012 10:21 AM

Thanks for the info. Yea I only assume its a load bearing wall because the wall is perpendicular to the rafters. A little more info:
This wall is directly under a guess bathroom and the pipes run on the left side of this wall so thatís why the opening will be off center. This is the main floor in a 2 story house with a basement.
Iím not sure the difference between rafters and trussesÖ.could I find this out by looking in the attic? I agree it looks like there is a beam, if so would it span the entire section of the wall and only be supported by the post on that corner? Thanks,

brockmiera 12-07-2012 10:30 AM

well since there is another story above this one then you would have joists up there (instead of rafters or trusses). You could get a better idea whether that is a load bearing wall or not by looking in the attic at the wall that is directly above it.

What size of hole will you open up? What size is that wall?

brockmiera 12-07-2012 10:32 AM

It seems to me like you would be fine to open up a small window in that wall. Of course consulting an engineer before you do would be a bad idea. I had an engineer come out and size a basement beam / supports for $100.

Here is a good resource too.

claydiy 12-07-2012 10:34 AM

Will the joists in the basement (Main floor joists) run the same direction as he 2nd floor joists? If so that would be an easiet way to tell. The main floor joists run opposite of this wall. The wall is about 12 feet and the opening will be about 4 feet.

brockmiera 12-07-2012 10:44 AM

Where geographically are you located? You should add it to your profile BTW. The reason I ask is that snow load will play a larger factor in sizing header beams for support when you remove load bearing walls.

brockmiera 12-07-2012 10:45 AM

post some more pictures too if you can. Maybe standing farther back.

Daniel Holzman 12-07-2012 10:58 AM

Assuming this is a load bearing wall, which of course you will verify before you design your project, it is relatively simple to size a small header and develop framing for a small opening such as you describe. The header can almost certainly be sized based on code only, no need to hire an engineer for this one, unless you decide you want a large window or you decide you want to remove the J portion of the wall, and you are uncertain if that part is load bearing.

I suggest you discuss this project with your local code enforcement official, if you bring them a box of donuts they may be willing to point you to the correct section in your code, and you may be able to determine the required header size based on the span, and the load above the wall (which is code driven).

claydiy 12-07-2012 01:49 PM

If I want to be sure that this is a load bearing wall who should I hire to do thisÖStructural Engineer? Anyone know an average going rate for someone to verify this?

jagans 12-07-2012 03:17 PM

Kind of house
First of all, is it a ranch (single story house with trusses) or a multi-story house?

jagans 12-07-2012 03:19 PM

Dont Panic
This is an easy do Clay. Just answer my questions.

claydiy 12-07-2012 03:19 PM

It's a two story with a basement

jagans 12-07-2012 03:33 PM

OK, then its a load bearing wall. AGain this is an easy do. I have done it many many times.

1. Is this going to be a door, or just a pass through.

2. How wide do you want it to be?

3. Are there HVAC supplies or returns in this wall, and where are they?

4. Do you know if there are electrical wires in this wall?

jagans 12-07-2012 04:08 PM

Are you still there? or are you investigating?

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