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Old 02-19-2014, 11:18 PM   #1
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


Hey all, got a couple quick questions. I'm in the process of taking a wall out between my kitchen and my living room, and have run into an interesting situation. I've contacted a couple of contractors to come out, and got some differing opinions. A general contractor came out today and told me that since the supports in the attic holding the roof were situated over an area of the wall that we won't be touch, he said that it is a much simple job than we thought and shouldn't be too complicated.

Another contractor told me that those supports don't change anything and he wants to put in an LVL and reinforce things in the basement/crawlspace to make up for the change in load location from the whole wall to 2 primary points.

Here is the wall in question, along with a picture from the attic above it.

The picture of the wall shows the location on the wall where the supports in the attic are sitting on. These areas are not being removed.

The attic shots show the supports holding the roof and resting on the area of the wall we won't be taking out.

What is everyone's opinion? Is this a simple case of a reinforced header or do we still need to go all out on this with LVLs, etc?
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:51 AM   #2
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


Which of those two contractors has an engineering degree?

I'm being sarcastic---but you get the point---hire an engineer---two people that saw the house have differing opinions--and the roof structure has already shown signs of weakness and been repaired with bracing---

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Old 02-20-2014, 06:43 AM   #3
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


Your post is very confusing. First you say you are taking out the wall. Presumably that means the whole wall. Then you post a picture of the attic, and show some bracing which you say is over the part of the wall you are NOT taking out. From this I presume you are taking out part of the wall. Maybe you can post a picture with red lines showing the part of the wall you are taking out, with an arrow on the wall showing where the framing above is.

Let me suggest that getting a third opinion from an on line chat room on something as important as the load bearing status of a wall is probably not a great idea. Suppose someone chimes in and says "Sure, take the wall out." Are you now more or less confident that the wall is load bearing? This is a huge potential problem if the framing of your house is compromised by removing a wall, and the only way to have an informed opinion is to have a competent, experienced professional visit the site, make the measurements, and write a report. That person could be an engineer, an architect, or an experienced contractor who has done this many times before.

Presumably you are going to pull a permit. At least in my town, the permit would require stamped drawings from a professional engineer or architect, but maybe your town is different. Your building inspector will know the requirements.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:45 AM   #4
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


It looks to me like every wall in that attic picture is carrying the ceiling joists from one room or another.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:59 AM   #5
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Anytime I have ever had questions like this I hire a local structural engineer. The guy I call comes out and reviews the situation, takes pictures and notes. He gives me his professional opinion and I pay him about $100 for his time. Within a week I received a letter/report for him documenting his recommendations. And then I do exactly what he says to do. This is the kind of thing you'll want to have on hand come re-sale time.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:04 AM   #6
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


I'm assuming your going to get a permit for this.....in which case the building dept is going to most likely want a wet stamped drawing of what to do.

If you don't pull a permit....and ever try to sell the house...and someone finds out you took out the wall without a permit....it could get ugly...

I am about as cheap as they come...but some things are not worth cutting corners on. The above case is a good example of why we have building codes and a permit process.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:49 PM   #7
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


By looking at the pictures I would say that most likely you're going to need a LVL but you certainly need a structural engineer to look at the situation before choosing a course of action. Since you don't have trusses is more than likely that an interior wall that runs perpendicular to the rafters is loadbearing.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:36 PM   #8
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


The photos are of no use
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:14 AM   #9
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


Quote:
Originally Posted by DIYRemodeler View Post
Anytime I have ever had questions like this I hire a local structural engineer. The guy I call comes out and reviews the situation, takes pictures and notes. He gives me his professional opinion and I pay him about $100 for his time. Within a week I received a letter/report for him documenting his recommendations. And then I do exactly what he says to do. This is the kind of thing you'll want to have on hand come re-sale time.
You have a PE that will do all that for $100.00?

I just find that too hard to believe.

Andy.

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Old 02-23-2014, 05:03 AM   #10
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


A load bearing wall is an interior wall or partition that is essential to support the structure above it. Typically, that wall is going to run (span) beneath multiple joists.

Based upon the photographs, I can see a gap between some joists. Those sistered 2X's are there to support the roof to make up for that gap.

But as far as giving you an answer of whether or not it's a loading bearing wall? I'd have to look at it myself.

One thing you will want to be sure you get is a warranty from the contractor that guarantees his work for defects for the next two or three years. If that is a load bearing wall and he says it isn't? You'll find out soon enough-hence the guarantee that he'll come out and fix it (if he's still in business and is insured).

Last edited by DL's husband; 02-23-2014 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 02-23-2014, 06:32 AM   #11
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Help, have dueling contractors. Need advice on load bearing (or not) wall


Some corrections needed to my post - poorly worded explanation.

Those sistered 2X's are there to support the roof and should be bolted to the joists.

Either it was sagging or the missing joists to the right were (or may have been) removed to install an attic access ladder which necessitated the installation of that bracing. Are there similar braces to the right of the area photographed?

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