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DIY1 06-26-2012 01:05 PM

Basement bearing wall
 
In my architect's plans for my home addition, he has the basement partitioned into two areas: A bedroom on one half of the room and a storage area on the other half. To give the room the most flexibility, he's achieving these partitions via a steel jack post in the middle of the room (sitting on a patch of reinforced concrete), 2 long LVL beams on top of the jack post, and the 1st floor joists all resting on that. The intention was then for us to frame a wall under the LVL beams as the separator between the 2 partitions.

Since I know I'm always going to want a separator between the 2 partitions, wouldn't it just be easier for me to frame that wall from the start as a load bearing wall and rest the 1st floor joists on that? I assume I'd need to reinforce the concrete underneath that wall (and probably use a treated plate in the framing).

Thoughts/opinions?

CopperClad 06-26-2012 01:14 PM

A wall framed 16'' OC is just as strong as 2 LVL's with columns. But yes, you are right, rather then having 2 footings for the column the whole length of wall would become bearing and the floor would need to be jack hammered and a footing installed. My guess is there is something preventing him from drawing it up that way. He has seen your house and knows the loadings and how it is framed. Maybe just give him a call and ask if it is an alternative? Out of curiosity how tall are the LVL's ?

DIY1 06-26-2012 01:30 PM

the LVL's were 2x8's. It's new construction (addition on the back of the house) so reinforcing the floor underneath the bearing wall shouldn't be a big deal.

Can anyone think of a reason in the future that I'd wish I'd built it with a jackpost and LVL's vs. a full bearing wall? I don't foresee turning the whole (new) basement into a man cave anytime soon.

CopperClad 06-26-2012 01:44 PM

Oh I'm sorry, I saw you wrote addition , I just thought you meant along the lines of finishing your basement. Now I'm confused then.. Does this beam in the basement have anything at all to do with the "addition" ? As far as having the wall going all the way across it shouldn't be an issue. If you wanted to add a door, or something , a header would need to be installed and wouldn't be a big issue. Moving an entire section of the wall would require doing what your architect has drawn. Again though, there is more than likely a reason not known why your architect has it drawn that way, I would check with him/her.

DIY1 06-26-2012 01:49 PM

The architect drew it that way to give us the most open room possible that we could potentially do more with in the future. But (and maybe I'm being closed minded) I don't think we'll ever have a need to open that room up. And even if we do there will be a jack post in the middle and an LVL beam almost at head level.

And it just seems to me that framing up a bearing wall from the start is a lot less hassle than dealing with the jackpost, the (expensive) LVL beams, the beam pocket in the foundation walls, and then framing a wall under that.

Daniel Holzman 06-26-2012 05:33 PM

Certainly you can build a conventional load bearing wall, as has been noted by several previous posts. Also as noted, the wall will require a conventional foundation. What confuses me is why your architect would have been unaware of your desire for a permanent, conventional wall, when he/she drew up the plans. You must have discussed your program with the architect. It seems like there must be more to this story, since a simple question to the architect would resolve this problem.

dalepres 06-26-2012 09:19 PM

So what's the downside of using the column? You could build that into a wall easily enough. You might have more success in selling the house by offering potential buyers the option of altering the basement easily. I can see why the wall is as good as the column on the upside... I just don't see the downside of the column. The downside of the wall is you give up the flexibility in the future - not only for you but for any future owner.

mae-ling 06-26-2012 10:16 PM

Also a jack Post (tele-post or whatever) is adjustable if the house heaves You just screw it up or down.

A wall is really hard to adjust.

Did a job where the wall was build tight under the beam, encasing tele-posts, floor heaves and the wall pushed up the beam. Big job to adjust it all.

DIY1 06-27-2012 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dalepres (Post 952340)
So what's the downside of using the column?

There aren't huge downsides to using the jackpost, but the upside of using the bearing wall is that it's cheaper, I'm going to build a wall there anyway, and I don't need to deal with beam pockets in the foundation for the LVL beams.

I hadn't thought too much about reselling the house and offering up the big open basement room (albeit with a column in the middle) as a selling point, so that's good advice.

But I think I'll just go with the bearing wall and take my medicine down the road if I really need to open up that room. Thanks everyone!

dalepres 06-27-2012 06:58 PM

If the concrete isn't poured yet, consider thickening the floor for a future post or two, where useful. Then you could still switch later. In fact, doesn't a bearing wall already require a thickened floor - along the entire length of the wall? Perhaps another downside?

I'm a computer programmer by trade. One thing I've learned is to not write things into code for what I think might come up in the future so I definitely understand - but the cost of updating later isn't the same as for the foundation of a house.

Bonzai 06-27-2012 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DIY1 (Post 952016)
(and probably use a treated plate in the framing).

Thoughts/opinions?

The sill plate should be sitting on a sill gasket (at least that's our code, but then again no idea where in the world you are) ... that's what protects it from moisture. Then again your architect will know this and it will likely be in the details of the plans.

GBrackins 06-27-2012 10:19 PM

DIY,

I'm not sure of the way construction is performed in your area. In mine we always use posts & beams to support the floor joists. The reason for this is the basement slab is not normally poured until after the shell (exterior framing) is tight to the weather. This way water is not trapped in the basement. if you pour the slab first, which you need to occur if you use a load bearing wall to support the floor joists rain can be trapped in the basement. Some will say you can pour a footing and build you bearing wall on top, but then you have the sole plate trapped in the slab, will have a break in your moisture barrier and a point of entry for moisture.

I came from an area where continuous footing and load bearing walls were common, but I like what I've learned in New England of using the post & beam approach. Just my humble opinion.

Good luck!

dalepres 06-27-2012 10:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bonzai (Post 952891)
The sill plate should be sitting on a sill gasket (at least that's our code, but then again no idea where in the world you are) ... that's what protects it from moisture. Then again your architect will know this and it will likely be in the details of the plans.

In another thread, there is a discussion about a guy's moisture problem on an inside garage wall. It could all be related to having a treated sill sitting directly on concrete. When we get that far on our house, I'll definitely be using a sill gasket and then not even have to use a treated sill since the sill is no longer in contact with cement..

Bonzai 06-28-2012 12:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dalepres

In another thread, there is a discussion about a guy's moisture problem on an inside garage wall. It could all be related to having a treated sill sitting directly on concrete. When we get that far on our house, I'll definitely be using a sill gasket and then not even have to use a treated sill since the sill is no longer in contact with cement..

Exactly. A cheap roll of foam saves a whole lot of grief down the road.

DIY1 06-28-2012 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GBrackins (Post 953010)
DIY,

This way water is not trapped in the basement.

Do you just mean water pooling on the floor after a rain? Couldn't I just shop-vac that outta there if it rains between the time the basement floor is poured and the time I build the bearing wall and set the floor joists and sub-floor?

One of my concrete bids specifically said it was going to cost extra if they poured the basement floor after the house was framed.

One other useful tidbit I gained from this thread is reinforcing the center point of the bearing wall (in addition to the reinforced concrete I'm going to need underneath the bearing wall) so that if I ever do want to tackle the task of replacing the bearing wall with a jackpost and beam, I can do it without needing a jackhammer and more concrete. I'll definitely keep that as an option.


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