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Old 02-17-2012, 04:42 PM   #1
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Beam for Load Bearing Wall

Hi all, I am trying to determine what size beam and end supports for the beam I will need to expand a doorway from 3 to 14 feet on a load bearing wall. I am looking to open my kitchen to the dining room. The house is a 2 story with a full attick that is not built out (it is open except for the roof support structure) which has 3 beams including the beam at the apex of the roof than run the full lenth of the house. There are several cross braces, and there also is 2 x 4s supporting the two beams that are not the apex beam. The attick is a simple A shape the length of the house. All walls on the first two floors are 8 feet. I have attached some rough sketches of the attic supports and the first floor layout. The second floor appears to distribute its weight on the outside walls and the same load bearing wall on the first floor that I wish to alter. The attick does not appear to rely on the first floor load wall. The drawings do not show every rafter in the attick nor all of the cross braces but i hope you can tell from my color coated drawings the layout. I want to expand the 3 foot door to 14 feet where I have noted the question of whether it is a support wall i look to alter. I have better resolution drawings but the website would allow me to load. Thanks in advance
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:12 PM   #2
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can anyone see that drawing? I can't!


as always, just my thoughts
good luck....coupe/Larry
take what helps? ignore the rest.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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Hello and welcome jstein69, to the best DIY'r site on the web.

And that is exactly what this is a DIY'r site, the problem with your question, it is not. This forum is constantly being asked, what size beam for this and what size beam for that.

The way I look at it, if you have to ask, then you are not qualified to evaluate the answer, if you are not qualified to evaluate the answer then the answer is really not of much value.

Good luck with the project and keep a positive out look on some of the answers I am sure you will get.

The best thing to do is bring a qualified engineer or designer in to size a beam for you and draw up the connections and temperary supports.

When its all said and done there is usually more said than done
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:26 PM   #4
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This is a pretty common request on this forum, i.e. I want to replace (part of ) a load bearing wall with a beam, how big does it need to be?

You can do a search on this forum and find dozens of similar posts in the last two years. I am not going to repeat the majority of my comments, people on this forum are probably pretty tired of hearing them. Let me make it short and sweet. Sizing a beam, preparing the required drawings, and detailing the connections is not DIY work in my opinion. It requires a hands on visit by a trained professional, either an architect or engineer. The risk due to improper design is very high.

There have been suggestions in the past that a lumber yard might size the beam for you as part of their cost for the beam. Maybe they will. In my town, and in most towns in the United States, in order to pull a permit for a job like this, you need a stamped plan from a registered professional engineer or architect. An opinion as to the proper size from an internet chat group is not gonna cut it in most of the U.S.

But maybe you don't need a permit, or don't plan to pull one. Are you really going to trust someone who has never visited your site, whom you have never met, and about whom you know nothing, to size a beam which could kill you if it collapses? Anyone on this forum with the necessary knowledge and appropriate license to design a beam for you is legally barred from doing so without a contract with you, and MUST under the licensing requirements of every state I am familiar with (I a licensed in six states) make a personal site visit to design a structural element. So anyone who is skilled enough to size the beam, and licensed, is not going to risk their license by designing a beam for you over the internet. That leaves the remainder of the crowd to comment, specifically those not licensed, and perhaps not knowledgeable enough, to size your beam.

Conclusion: Hire an architect or engineer to design your project.
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