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Old 09-29-2012, 04:32 PM   #1
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Removing part of a load bearing wall *with pics*


Hi everyone. For those who thought this was a how-to, my apologies.

I want to remove most of a load bearing wall diving my kitchen and dining room. I'd like to drop the wall to a half wall (about 40" high) and install a bar counter top on it. This will open things up in the house quite a bit. Here's the wall I want to chop:

Figure 1: From the dining room side
(I want to remove from the doorway over to the right to the back side of the fire place where the brick is)



The section I want to take out is about 9ft long. This wall is indeed load bearing. Here's what it looks like from the attic (all pics are taken from the dining room side):

Figure 2: General shot showing the joists and supports


Figure 3: The wall runs right where the joists overlap and join together


Now, I have searched to see if it's possible to do a beam across resting on the tops of the joists like the two beams already up there (Figure 2) but I found very little info and the info I did find pointed to a flush beam instead, requiring I cut the joists (big suck). Since I did not find any info on a beam above the joists, I'm assuming there's a reason why. But there are already two beams like that up there and I won't be taking the entire wall out.

What is a good way to proceed?

Side question: when the wall is dropped to 40" high, how can I prevent the end of the half-wall (where the doorway is) from wobbling and being pretty unstable? My idea was to have the end of the wall make a right turn into the kitchen and stick into the kitchen about 12-14" as a brace for that end of the wall. There will be cabinets on the kitchen side of the half-wall so it shouldn't look too funny.

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Old 09-29-2012, 04:33 PM   #2
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Removing part of a load bearing wall *with pics*


Here's a couple more pics that might be useful. If you need me to take any additional shots, let me know.

From the kitchen side:


Back side of fireplace in attic:


Other end of wall in attic:

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Old 09-29-2012, 04:48 PM   #3
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Removing part of a load bearing wall *with pics*


a flushed frame beam (like what you have) are used so that the beam does not extend as much below the ceiling as a dropped beam would. A dropped beam is installed under the joists so that you do not need to cut the joists and use hangers.

now with that said, the type of work you're planning on typically requires a building permit because it is structural in nature. to get a permit typically you will need a drawing prepared by a professional engineer to submit to the building department.

now you could do the work without a permit, but this can come back to haunt you in the future especially when you go to the sell the home. Some areas of the country require a building inspection by the town when you go to sell. they look for unpermitted changes.

also should you get caught by the building department while doing the work they can be a real pain by stopping your work until you get a permit, which will cost a lot more because of the fines for doing unpermitted work. the excuse of "I didn't know" don't work .......

I know it's not what you want to hear, but it's what you need to hear. If you ask long enough on enough sites you'll get someone to tell you, but since you do not know this person or their level of knowledge or experience you have to ask yourself, "WOULD YOU?" the cost of repairing a structure because of a mistake is a whole lot more than what an engineer would. You can discuss with them your being able to do the work they design.

Good luck!
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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Removing part of a load bearing wall *with pics*


Putting beams in the attic and hanging the ceiling joists below it has been done.
You will need an engineer to spec the beam and hangers for you.
Make sure the load is carried down the wall, through the floor and to a footing or concrete basement wall below, engineer will tell you what you need.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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Removing part of a load bearing wall *with pics*


Quote:
Originally Posted by GBrackins View Post
a flushed frame beam (like what you have) are used so that the beam does not extend as much below the ceiling as a dropped beam would. A dropped beam is installed under the joists so that you do not need to cut the joists and use hangers.

now with that said, the type of work you're planning on typically requires a building permit because it is structural in nature. to get a permit typically you will need a drawing prepared by a professional engineer to submit to the building department.

now you could do the work without a permit, but this can come back to haunt you in the future especially when you go to the sell the home. Some areas of the country require a building inspection by the town when you go to sell. they look for unpermitted changes.

also should you get caught by the building department while doing the work they can be a real pain by stopping your work until you get a permit, which will cost a lot more because of the fines for doing unpermitted work. the excuse of "I didn't know" don't work .......

I know it's not what you want to hear, but it's what you need to hear. If you ask long enough on enough sites you'll get someone to tell you, but since you do not know this person or their level of knowledge or experience you have to ask yourself, "WOULD YOU?" the cost of repairing a structure because of a mistake is a whole lot more than what an engineer would. You can discuss with them your being able to do the work they design.

Good luck!
I understand what you're saying and appreciate it. Guess I'll need to get an engineer out for a consultation. Do engineers typically do consultations free or do they charge?

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Originally Posted by mae-ling View Post
Putting beams in the attic and hanging the ceiling joists below it has been done.
You will need an engineer to spec the beam and hangers for you.
Make sure the load is carried down the wall, through the floor and to a footing or concrete basement wall below, engineer will tell you what you need.
Thank you. No basements in SE Texas. Too much flooding happens down here.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:34 PM   #6
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Removing part of a load bearing wall *with pics*


it depends on the engineer. typically you need to see something to figure out how much to charge to do the work, or at least estimate the cost. look for a professional engineer that specializes in residential construction. not all professional engineers do structures. could always call your local building department and ask for names
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:28 PM   #7
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Removing part of a load bearing wall *with pics*


Thank you. I would like to be able to sell the house in the future without issues so I see the wisdom in your post. I'll try to find and call out an engineer who can guide us in the right direction.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:31 PM   #8
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Removing part of a load bearing wall *with pics*


glad I could be of assistance, post back with any questions.

would be nice to hear what your engineer says .....

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