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Bobb G 09-12-2008 04:35 PM

Removal of interior wall
I'll try to identify the situation as best I can, hopefully someone has an easy solution. My home is a single level ranch style of raise foundation with stick built rafters. I want to remove an interior wall between the living and family rooms to create one big room. The wall runs parallel with the rafters, only thing there is one rafter directly above the wall nailed to the top plate. So I quessing there is some load transfer to this wall. The length of the wall to replace is 14' running from the center of the house to the exterior wall. The size of the grand room will then we 14 x 28'
I was told that this wall could be replaced with a 4X?? beam extended to two columns. The column in the center of the house would go through the floor and extend to a concrete pier. The column on the exterior wall would rest on the foundation.
Question 1. Do you think it's safe to remove this wall? Do I need to provide temporary bracing on the paralled trusses when removing and during installation of beam?
Question 2: Assuming the wall will be removed, the top plate consists of 2 2X4s with the rafter nailed from above, which I plane to leave in place. What size of 4x beam should I use? I do plan to sheet rock over the columns and beam to match the rest of the interior.

Any and all advise is greatly appreciated!!:)

Termite 09-12-2008 05:26 PM

Hi BobbG. This is one of those questions that can only be answered by a professional engineer or architect. You definately run the risk of affecting the way the structure performs by removing a wall. If there is any load on the wall, by removing it you're taking all that load and concentrating it at two points at either side of the new beam. So, my advice is to hire an engineer just to be sure.

That being said, you won't be using solid 4x. It isn't the way to go. Beams are built up out of two 2x12's, etc. Honestly, if there is much of any load on the wall (ceiling joists, rafter, etc), dimension lumber won't make a 14' span.

My suggestion would be to take a look at LVL or PSL, which is engineered lumber. It comes in 1-3/4" thicknesses, and may be available in 3-1/2" in your area as well. Longer spans are easier to achieve with engineered wood beams. A good lumber yard (not a box store or home center) can usually provide computerized engineering services for the proprietary brand of engineered wood they sell. If you can determine that the wall is not load bearing, an 11-7/8" LVL beam should be adequate.

orson 09-14-2008 01:34 PM


From your description it does not sound like this is a bearing wall, having said that don't go rip it out just yet...

When you say "rafter directly above nailed to the toplate" is it safe to assume you mean a "joist" nailed to your top plate?

Rafters run on an angle and support your roof deck.

Joists run horizontally and support your ceiling, attic.

If the wall is running parallel to the joist and is located underneath it the only load on the wall is probably incidental.

Typicaly ranchers and cape cods are constructed with either a load bearing block wall or I-beam running down the center of the basement directly underneath the ridgeline of the roof.

On the first floor a bearing wall runs down the center of the house on top of that support structure and again directly under the ridgeline.

The joists on each floor of the house run from an exterior wall, perpendicular to the roof ridge/center support wall and sit on the center support wall.

Here's a quick drawing:

In this type of scenario if there were an interior wall located underneath either of those ceiling joists and running in the same direction it should not be a bearing wall.

On the other hand there could be some unusual circumstance that would be transfering roof load onto the joist. You would see some type of vertical or angled framing member running from a rafter or the ridge pole(if there is one) down onto the joist.

Bobb G 09-15-2008 01:11 PM

Thanks for all the great info from thekctermite and orson. I will be contacting a structural engineer soon to work out the beam requirements and final determination of the load on the existing wall.

Any references to the Sacramento area is greatly appreciated.

To clairify some of the description from my original post, I crawled through the attic this weekend and took some photos. What I had described as the rafter nailed to the top plate, was meant to be rafter braces nailed to the top plate. The braces are indeed nailed to the top plate and not the ceiling joist. The braces support the ridge beam midway up the rafter run.

Termite 09-15-2008 01:30 PM

From the picture it looks like the purlin's struts are bearing on that wall. Right or wrong, it is at least somewhat bearing. With an LVL beam and proper bearing and installation, I'm confident that the engineer will be able to make it work and still support that purlin. :thumbsup:

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