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Old 08-09-2011, 11:54 AM   #1
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


I am looking to expand a doorway that is in a load bearing wall. The wall used to be an exterior wall but an addition was put on and id like to open up the two rooms. After taking a look into the ceiling I noticed that I have open wed floor trusses. I assume that these trusses can support most of the required weight just by being supported on either end. Since the wall that I want to modify was once an exterior wall it must be load bearing but my question is this, how would I support the truss above the wall that I want to modify? How much of the corner of the foundation do I need to leave intact? I was planning on leaving about 2 feet of foundation and opening everything up to the chimney although I would like to take the wall out completely if possible. Is this too big of an opening to put in this wall? What is the best way to support the truss so my house does not collapse on this side? All feed back is greatly appreciated as I want to have this job done by this weekend. Here are some pix to help explain






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Old 08-09-2011, 12:00 PM   #2
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


Well Jordan, those are very ambitious plans, but you need to have a set of plans one draw by an engineer. Once you have the plans you can take them to the building department and obtain a permit. This kind of modification should not be made without the above mentioned.

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Old 08-09-2011, 12:04 PM   #3
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


Those are definitely trusses, unfortunately I was unable to tell from your pictures and sketch exactly how those trusses are supported. In general, trusses are designed to be supported on either end, and not in the middle. So if those trusses are supported on the existing exterior wall that you want to remove, you are going to need to install a header that will provide the point support one one end of the trusses. However, as I said, I could not determine from the sketch and photos whether the trusses are all perpendicular to the exterior wall, and whether they extend beyond the wall into the next space.

If you clarify the exact geometry of the trusses, wall and rooms, indicate what code you are required to design to, and indicate what flooring loads you are required to support, we can begin to make progress on the job. If you need a building permit, and unless you live 50 miles from nowhere you probably do, then getting this job done by the weekend may be a stretch.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:36 PM   #4
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


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Those are definitely trusses, unfortunately I was unable to tell from your pictures and sketch exactly how those trusses are supported. In general, trusses are designed to be supported on either end, and not in the middle. So if those trusses are supported on the existing exterior wall that you want to remove, you are going to need to install a header that will provide the point support one one end of the trusses. However, as I said, I could not determine from the sketch and photos whether the trusses are all perpendicular to the exterior wall, and whether they extend beyond the wall into the next space.

If you clarify the exact geometry of the trusses, wall and rooms, indicate what code you are required to design to, and indicate what flooring loads you are required to support, we can begin to make progress on the job. If you need a building permit, and unless you live 50 miles from nowhere you probably do, then getting this job done by the weekend may be a stretch.

All the trusses run parallel to the wall that I want to modify, that being the case no trusses extend past the wall in question. Wouldnt the truss act as a header its self if supported on either end? Here is another sketch im not sure how else to explain it ill try and take some more pix tonight

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Old 08-09-2011, 01:37 PM   #5
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


From what I see the wall is not load bearing no more than the center of the room behind it is.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:56 PM   #6
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From what I see the wall is not load bearing no more than the center of the room behind it is.

The room behind the wall was an addition. To my understanding, all exterior walls are loadbearing right? But what about when you have open floor trusses like I do, would the exterior walls that run parallel to the open floor trusses hold much weight? I kinda think that these walls would not be load bearing due to the trusses supporting everything above them. After all at the other end of the house is a 2 car garage and each of the 2 garage door openings are larger than the opening that I would like to put in this wall. I kinda just want to take out the framing bust out the block and reinforce the truss with a 4x4 at either end of the opening. The 4x4s would run from the floor to the top plate that would be sandwiched between the 4x4 and the truss. does that make sence?

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Old 08-09-2011, 03:38 PM   #7
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


OK, we are making progress. Your trusses run parallel to the original exterior wall of the house. The exterior wall was load bearing when the house was constructed because it probably held up half the roof, unless there is more complex framing in the attic, i.e. knee walls, trusses etc. In order to determine if a wall is load bearing, you need to trace the load path of ALL loads in the house, including the roof, all floors, and all walls, to determine how the loads get to the support point, either the basement walls or the footings.

Now things get interesting, because that original exterior wall is no longer an exterior wall, it is now an interior wall. As was pointed out by jiju, that wall (now interior) may no longer be load bearing, depending on EXACTLY how the framing for the addition was done. Let me give you an example. I have a colonial house with an addition built well after original construction. The old exterior wall on the west side of the house is now an interior wall. This interior wall is still load bearing, as it supports the floor joists above, and supports a portion of the roof which is carried down to the basement via a second floor load bearing wall.

So you need to examine the geometry of your house very carefully to determine how much load that old exterior wall is still carrying. The trusses parallel to the wall likely contribute nothing to the load, the question is what is above the wall, all the way to the roof.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:50 PM   #8
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


[quote=Jordan_Bailey84;703660]The room behind the wall was an addition. To my understanding, all exterior walls are loadbearing right? "
If this was an exterior wall and exterior walls carry a greater load then non exterior walls. I would install a header in this area to carry that extra weight.
The size of the header would be dependent on the load above.
Any king studs on the concrete might require footings under them. Depending on the load.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:14 PM   #9
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OK, we are making progress. Your trusses run parallel to the original exterior wall of the house. The exterior wall was load bearing when the house was constructed because it probably held up half the roof, unless there is more complex framing in the attic, i.e. knee walls, trusses etc. In order to determine if a wall is load bearing, you need to trace the load path of ALL loads in the house, including the roof, all floors, and all walls, to determine how the loads get to the support point, either the basement walls or the footings.

Now things get interesting, because that original exterior wall is no longer an exterior wall, it is now an interior wall. As was pointed out by jiju, that wall (now interior) may no longer be load bearing, depending on EXACTLY how the framing for the addition was done. Let me give you an example. I have a colonial house with an addition built well after original construction. The old exterior wall on the west side of the house is now an interior wall. This interior wall is still load bearing, as it supports the floor joists above, and supports a portion of the roof which is carried down to the basement via a second floor load bearing wall.

So you need to examine the geometry of your house very carefully to determine how much load that old exterior wall is still carrying. The trusses parallel to the wall likely contribute nothing to the load, the question is what is above the wall, all the way to the roof.
Above that wall is the exterior wall of the original building. The wall would be in the living room and dining room upstairs. Above that is the attic, which is also built with trusses for the roof. The guy that did my home inspection before I bought the house told me that no interior walls on the upper level were load bearing due to the roof trusses supporting all the weight of the roof. These roof trusses run the same direction as the open floor trusses which would be parallel to the wall that I want to modify. Ill take more pix tonight
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:07 PM   #10
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


Well, a little more progress. Just as an aside, no home inspector I have ever worked with would voluntarily offer an opinion on whether an interior wall is load bearing or not, because they are not paid to make that type of determination, and they are usually carefully trained to AVOID at all costs taking on liability for statements that they are not paid to make.

If the roof trusses span the interior wall in the attic that lines up with the interior wall you want to remove, and run in the same direction as the wall, it is unlikely the roof trusses load the interior wall. This would leave the interior wall to pick up load from the wall above, which is typically relatively little. However, you need to be absolutely certain there are no other connections to load bearing elements, because making a mistake by assuming a wall is not load bearing, when it is, can be fatal. Sometimes walls pick up floor load via framing members, occasionally hidden framing members, and it is not always obvious how the load transfer is occurring.

If it turns out there is nothing but wall weight (no live load, roof load, or point loads), you still need a header, but it is typically sized based on architectural standards, and would not require specific engineering.
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Old 08-09-2011, 07:50 PM   #11
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


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Above that wall is the exterior wall of the original building.
So that means it's still a load bearing wall. It's holding up the wall above it. Just because it may not be holding up floor joists or a roof doesn't mean it's not load bearing.
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:08 PM   #12
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


So I think I may have stumbled apon my answer. I believe the wall to be not load bearing. It seems that the trusses between my first and second floor are arched. I slid a dollar bill into the slot and moved it down toward the end of the truss to see where the truss meets the framing. This gap gets as wide as 3/8''-1/2'' from what I can see. I attached some pictures so you can see what Im talking about. Based on what Im seeing I would think that I could take the wall out all the way down to about flush with that first stud to the left, about 4-6'' to the right of the dollar bill. I mean if the truss isnt even touching the wall that I want to remove why would I have any issues? I guess my next question would be how much of that block should I leave, If i cut it about flush with the first stud I would think that should be good right? Also what kind of header if any should I put below the truss? All feedback greatly appreciated.









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Old 08-11-2011, 01:28 PM   #13
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Bump???
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:45 PM   #14
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


Trusses are almost always designed to be supported on the ends, with no interior support. That appears to be the case for you. Assuming it is, you need adequate post support on either end. Typically that would mean two 2x4's nailed together, and properly anchored to the floor plate. However, some jurisdictions require 3 studs. Best to check with your building inspector. You are getting a permit I assume?

The only header you need above the doorway is the standard interior non-load bearing wall doorway header, again your building inspector should be able to steer you in the right direction, or at least point to the code in your area, which should reference standard header guidelines.
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:50 PM   #15
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advice on expanding doorway in load bearing wall


I'm a little confused about the extent of the post.
Load bearing or not load bearing? If you put in a header under a nonload bearing wall, what's it cost, $40.00 in lumber? The spacing between the framing members is noteworthy as you wouldn't see that in a truely load bearing wall. But it can't hurt to put in a little exta framing.
As for opening the cinder block section. If it's intergrated into the side main wall, I would not take it closer then a foot away. And remove it in a non traumatic way. Cut versus hammering.

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