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Old 05-14-2011, 06:47 AM   #1
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a3...usePlans-1.png

Hi,

I'm hoping someone here can help me locate the load bearing walls in my house. I know usually how to find load bearing walls, I'm familiar with the typical methods, and I have a lot of experience in construction, I'm just having a lot of trouble with this.

In the basement plan, the crawl space (to the right) was the original house, which was one storey and just the two rooms and the bathroom. That house was torn down except for the front (right) wall and the rest of the house built onto it and that is when the full basement was added.

The joists span from right to left (front to back) on all floors.

The only sistered joists are two that span across the middle of the house starting at the jog in the living room and spanning across the center foundation wall all the way to the back of the house.

I have been told by the previous owner that they believed the wall between the kitchen and the guest room on the first floor is load bearing. This makes sense because of the direction of the joists, but it just seems like so far a span across the kitchen, 16 feet without any support from the front wall to that wall...I'm not sure if this is possible?

I know for certain that there is a beam running along the ceiling over the front stairwell wall, this is where all the joists run to in the living room and the load comes down on the exterior top wall and the corner of that wall in the center of the house. This means the other stairwell wall to the TV room is also probably load bearing for the back side of the house.

The last curiosity is that the wall between bedroom 2 and bedroom 3 in the upstairs, even though it SEEMS like it would be lead bearing, cannot be, because it was added later. I don't understand how this is possible. If this wall is not load bearing, then the joists above it are spanning over 20 feet from the front to the back of the house.

And yes, that is a kneewall on the second storey front of the house. I have no idea if it is load bearing or not.

I know this is a lot of info and a lot to ask, and I know I should just call someone to come look at it, but I figured I'd give this a shot first to see if anyone has any insight. The sistered joists under the first floor are a curiosity and I don't know why they're like that, although the do run along the entire length of that first floor wall that runs parallel to the joists.

Thanks in advance for any help.


Edit:
I guess I will post the images here since people seem to not be finding the link okay.








Last edited by Dane Hitchins; 05-14-2011 at 07:59 AM. Reason: Images
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:02 AM   #2
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


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I know I should just call someone to come look at it,
Best and fastest way to tell if a wall is bearing or not is to tear it out. If you see shingles popping of the roof or hear creaking sounds? Just go back in and replace it real fast!
You really do not expect any of us to comment on this based on your description and not being able to see drawings or even sketches do you?

Seriously, it sounds like your place has gone through a lot of renovations. People assume architects and structural engineers to be outrageously expensive. Quite the contrary. Find an architect you like working with and post here if the person does not save you oodles of money in this situation. I pay my accountant to help maximize tax advantages. Why should people shy from architects that could save them a fortune on stupid building mistakes and get them discounts on materials at the same time. Architects are not just for the rich. Some love working with us bottom dwellers.

From your description, too much has happened, legally or illegally, permitted or not with your place. Why not put it in order and get at least a clean set of plans.

Last edited by user1007; 05-14-2011 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:07 AM   #3
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


..What? I posted a link to the drawings at the top of the thread? Just click it and you'll see all the plans I am referring to.

I know how much architects cost..I purposely wrote in my post that I know I should call one specifically so that I wouldn't get any useless replies telling me to call one. I was just wondering if there was any insight on here beforehand.

Last edited by Dane Hitchins; 05-14-2011 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:15 AM   #4
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


The load bearing walls run perpendicular to the staircases.
Ron
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:21 AM   #5
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


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The load bearing walls run perpendicular to the staircases.
Ron

Ron,

You mean right to left on the plans? I would assume as much from looking at the drawings, but that would be parallel to the joists. How could the bearing walls be running the same direction as the joists?
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:27 AM   #6
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane Hitchins View Post
..What? I posted a link to the drawings at the top of the thread? Just click it and you'll see all the plans I am referring to.

I know how much architects cost..I purposely wrote in my post that I know I should call one specifically so that I wouldn't get any useless replies telling me to call one. I was just wondering if there was any insight on here beforehand.
Understood. Apologies for worthless advice.
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:47 AM   #7
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


For a multistory house, if there is a wall on the next floor directly or approximately over a wall in question, the latter is probably load bearing. If you can find out which way the floor joists run, walls perpendicular to the joists are probably load bearing. (A stud finder does not necessarily find the joints; it may register on furring strips (that help support ceiling panels) that run perpendicular to the joists.)
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Old 05-14-2011, 08:50 AM   #8
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


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For a multistory house, if there is a wall on the next floor directly or approximately over a wall in question, the latter is probably load bearing. If you can find out which way the floor joists run, walls perpendicular to the joists are probably load bearing. (A stud finder does not necessarily find the joints; it may register on furring strips (that help support ceiling panels) that run perpendicular to the joists.)
Thanks Allen, as I said I know where the joists run. I can see them clearly from behind the kneewall, in the attic, and in the basement. I know walls running perp. to the joists are most likely load bearing, but my question is mainly about where they seem to be spanning strangely long distances and I'm afraid I might be missing something. Case in point, the joists under the second floor span 16 feet from the outside wall to the nearest interior. They've been there 25 years and they aren't sagging...this for some reason seems unlikely to me and I'm wondering if there must be some hidden beam inside the ceiling somewhere? I know there is no way for any of you to guess if this is so, I'm just wondering if any of you have seen a 16 foot span do this before.

The other thing is where that wall (from kitchen to guest room) touches down on the first floor. There isn't anything under that wall in the basement..so how could it be bearing?
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:00 AM   #9
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


16 foot joist spans are very common. Many houses have both bearing that runs parallel, and perpendicular to the joists. Many houses even have joists running all diff directions.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:02 AM   #10
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


Why do you need this information anyway? If you have a remodel planned, provide some specifics and some photos and many here would be happy to help.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:15 AM   #11
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


2x10 joists spaced 16 inches on center with an allowable fiber bending stress of 1500 psi are capable of spanning 16 feet based on total load of 50 psf. You did not post the dimensions of the joists, and the species and grade of lumber, so it is not possible to determine if your specific lumber is capable of spanning 16 feet and meeting code, but it is not out of the question.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:16 AM   #12
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


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Why do you need this information anyway? If you have a remodel planned, provide some specifics and some photos and many here would be happy to help.
Thanks,

I don't have the ability to take pictures right now, but I can name some specifics. I just moved into this house and I do not need so many rooms. I want to take the existing Living Room, Bathroom, Kitchen, and Guest room and combine them all into one space. This would involve the removal of the entire downstairs bath, and cutting as large a hole as I can swing into the kitchen/guest wall. Then upstairs I want to remove the wall between bedrooms 2 and 3, which was a wall that was added five years after the house was built so I doubt it is doing anything, but the joists above it are spanning 20 feet so I am wondering if it became load bearing after it was put in and is keeping them from sagging, or if all the joists in the second floor ceiling are just non-bearing and can span the entire length of the house because there isn't anything in the attic above them.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:52 AM   #13
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


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Originally Posted by Dane Hitchins View Post
Thanks,

I don't have the ability to take pictures right now, but I can name some specifics. I just moved into this house and I do not need so many rooms. I want to take the existing Living Room, Bathroom, Kitchen, and Guest room and combine them all into one space. This would involve the removal of the entire downstairs bath, and cutting as large a hole as I can swing into the kitchen/guest wall. Then upstairs I want to remove the wall between bedrooms 2 and 3, which was a wall that was added five years after the house was built so I doubt it is doing anything, but the joists above it are spanning 20 feet so I am wondering if it became load bearing after it was put in and is keeping them from sagging, or if all the joists in the second floor ceiling are just non-bearing and can span the entire length of the house because there isn't anything in the attic above them.
You will need to bring someone on site to look at the house to determine what walls are load bearing and what you need to do to support these and any other walls you touch.
I find it odd that someone with, "a lot of experience in construction" is on the internet looking for answers on a simple structure.
Or, not confiding with someone in the construction industry.
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:00 AM   #14
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


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You will need to bring someone on site to look at the house to determine what walls are load bearing and what you need to do to support these and any other walls you touch.
I find it odd that someone with, "a lot of experience in construction" is on the internet looking for answers on a simple structure.
Or, not confiding with someone in the construction industry.
Ron

Well there's no reason to be mean about it...You can have significant experience in a lot of things but that doesn't grant you infinite knowledge. This isn't a typical simple structure. I have a master's degree in architecture and ten years of experience doing finish carpentry, electrical, sheetrock, roofing, and windows. That doesn't mean I know everything about everything. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to consult the collective on something that you're not sure about, regardless of your credentials. I could easily have any one of a few dozen people I know come in here and help me out, but it's a Saturday and I'm hanging around the computer so I thought I'd let you guys take a look before I bother anyone. If this is really too much of a bother for you, then go post somewhere else..?
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:07 AM   #15
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Finding Load Bearing Walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane Hitchins View Post
Well there's no reason to be mean about it...You can have significant experience in a lot of things but that doesn't grant you infinite knowledge. This isn't a typical simple structure. I have a master's degree in architecture and ten years of experience doing finish carpentry, electrical, sheetrock, roofing, and windows. That doesn't mean I know everything about everything. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to consult the collective on something that you're not sure about, regardless of your credentials. I could easily have any one of a few dozen people I know come in here and help me out, but it's a Saturday and I'm hanging around the computer so I thought I'd let you guys take a look before I bother anyone. If this is really too much of a bother for you, then go post somewhere else..?
Now it's really odd.
Wasn't meant to be "mean". just find it odd, with all your stated education and experience, you're on the internet.
Have someone come to the house and look at it.
Ron
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