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Old 12-29-2009, 08:10 PM   #16
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


My recommendation would be to get an expert in there to confirm for you whether or not it's load bearing. It's just not worth relying on the Interweb, compromising the wall, and having your house collapse around you because it turned out to be a structural wall.

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Old 12-29-2009, 08:25 PM   #17
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


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Originally Posted by TitaniumVT View Post
My recommendation would be to get an expert in there to confirm for you whether or not it's load bearing. It's just not worth relying on the Interweb, compromising the wall, and having your house collapse around you because it turned out to be a structural wall.

If he can see the floor & ceilng joists if the wall isn't aligned with any of them, then it's pretty much impossible for the wall to be supporting anything.

Even if it was intended to be structural, how much weight could a subfloor take?
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:30 PM   #18
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


OK, I took the vent back off, which was also nice enough to a ton of drywall with out (see: vent was screwed into a board that was nailed to the drywall ceiling, and too much torque was placed on the board during removal). Here's a pic that I think best shows what's going on (at the very least, one side of the wall. I'm guessing the same has to hold true for the other side):



Now I'm feeling silly for ever asking this question. Studs nailed to the side aren't carrying a load correct? And also, the joist is on top of drywall...which I doubt will be carrying a load. If it is, well...I'm in for something.
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:32 AM   #19
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


Wow, that looks like a mess.

So you're taking a picture inside the space between the ceiling and the floor? The wood at the top of the picture is the subfloor of the second story?

What's the white strip that's on the bottom of the picture? Is the grey stuff at the bottom the drywall of the ceiling? What's holding it up? I don't see any ceiling joists.

That electrical wire looks pretty old -- I bet you're due for re-wiring.

It looks like that flat 2x4 on the left edge of the photo is replacing a missing 4x4 post (that would have gone up through the hole.) you should probably see if that post (if that's what it was) was holding something up.

Don't you love old houses? ;-)
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:58 AM   #20
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


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Originally Posted by pyper View Post
Wow, that looks like a mess.

So you're taking a picture inside the space between the ceiling and the floor? The wood at the top of the picture is the subfloor of the second story?

What's the white strip that's on the bottom of the picture? Is the grey stuff at the bottom the drywall of the ceiling? What's holding it up? I don't see any ceiling joists.

That electrical wire looks pretty old -- I bet you're due for re-wiring.

It looks like that flat 2x4 on the left edge of the photo is replacing a missing 4x4 post (that would have gone up through the hole.) you should probably see if that post (if that's what it was) was holding something up.

Don't you love old houses? ;-)
Update: yeah, only thing above there is a floor and a hardwood wall. Nothing else.

Yup, ceiling and floor. That hardwood floor is the subfloor. I'm guessing that white strip is a furring strip to help hold the drywall. The joist to the left is what's running across the wall. The other joist to the right isn't visible in the photo.

I'll try to see what that post was supposed to have gone to (if there was one)...but it's just the hardwood wall above it. In fact, I'm banking on that being the old run for the knob and tube wiring, but I don't know yet.

That should be romex metal sheathed wire (the rest of the house has it). The old knob and tube wiring was ripped out long ago (in fact, I found all the scraps in the attic and happily stripped it :P).

Last edited by Tonglebeak; 12-30-2009 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:55 AM   #21
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


So is it definite that I can remove this wall with no issues? Just asking one more time to be safe :P
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:03 PM   #22
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


Ok, I'm starting to scratch my head. Before I do anything...

on the 2x6 14ft span, I had my girlfriend jump, and there was a noticeable flex in the ceiling. She was too scared of jumping on the 16ft span (the one with bedrooms, and a wall divides the two rooms going down the midspan of the 2nd floor), so I went and jumped...and the floors were extremely, extremely solid. This made no sense to me: how could a 16ft span with a wall in the middle of it, be so much more solid than a 14ft span?

So this got me doing some more locating with my stud finder (except locating the ceiling joists/2nd floor floor joists). I think I marked 4 or 5 ceiling joists, until I got about 3ft from the exterior wall that runs parallel...then I found no more joists...but, for some reason...the joists started running the other direction? What the hell?

So I found a hole in the ceiling near the midspan, where a piece of coax cable was running. I chiseled it out into a square big enough to get my camera in there. Unfortunately, everything is so close together that it's hard to see what exactly I'm looking at. One thing for sure: that 2x6 may not be a 2x6 after all:

And yes I know it's a horrible drawing. The wall in ? is the wall this thread started asking about. The wall on the right is the front exterior. And yes if my stud finder isn't retarded, it's showing the joists are laid out like this. All in one room's ceiling.

Anyways...near the hole I made is a piece of wood, that appears to be toenailed between joists. I don't know what the purpose of it is. Perhaps to attach drywall, or maybe it was actually intended to act as a support?

Here's a pic of the piece of wood, attaching to the next joist away from the wall in question. Also, notice the "floor" above it...except this isn't the hardwood floor that's in the bedroom. This has to be under the wall that divides the two 2nd floor bedrooms...and it appears to be sawn lumber?



And now, facing the wall in question.



Also, a pic of the original studs that go up the wall. You can see the newer, lighter sticks in the background, mostly blocked by whatever is blocking that span (some sort of paper).



So now, I don't even know what the hell to think. Perhaps I should just rip down the entire ceiling to see for sure. It's hard figuring things out with closeup pics barely accessible by a camera. And if my stud finder is picking up more smaller pieces of wood, perhaps the joists aren't entirely laid out as I though. But this is weird. SOMETHING has to be supporting that floor so well. I even went up into the attic. I could start to see a gap in the 2nd floor wall, but then as I progress out towards the exterior front wall, the top of the wall become closed off with a solid piece of wood.

Hopefully this makes sense to someone, because I feel I'm spouting off a bunch of crap that makes no sense :\ Someone please post with your thoughts...thanks.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:28 PM   #23
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


This seems like a really good application for one of those little fiber-optic cameras that you can snake through a little hole.

Can you indicate on the sketch both the location and also which direction each picture was taken from?

On the second floor can you see the ends of the boards? If there is a joist on the right that's perpendicular to the others could it be to support the ends of floorboards?

One thing about old T&G floor boards is that they will help support each other across the large spans.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:49 PM   #24
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


Yes, these were all taken against the wall in ? (wall on the left of hte picture). The first one is between teh wall and 2nd floro joist, facing toward the right. Second pic is facing towards the wall, looking at the joist. The 3rd pic shows older posts that go up (but they have to terminate right there), and is facing towards the bottom of the drawing. I went upstairs and still do not see any posts coming out of the floor. Other than the hardwood wall, there's nothing. Unless there's something mysterious in the other wall that divides the 2nd floor bedrooms.

I truely am about to rip down the entire ceiling >_>

Also an oddity is that the 2nd floor bedrooms have a saggy floor, but the floor is solid, if that maakes any sense. And they sag perpendicular to the way the joists seem to be running. I don't get it.

Last edited by Tonglebeak; 01-17-2010 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:19 PM   #25
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


Well I cut off more ceiling ot expose the next joist. It's a 2x6, 24 inches away from the other joist, just as I thought (and we're talking actual 2x6, not nominal). I think my stud finder has been finding those little strips of wood that seem to be spaced apart 4 feet, from joist to joist. They're small pieces of wood, but perhaps this is creating a bridging effect that's stiffening the floor? Other than that, I see no other reason why the 16ft 2x6 span is faring so much better than the 14ft. But it even sounds like (by knocking on the ceiling) that the 14ft span has the same strips in it. I guess I should start chiseling the 14ft span ceiling to see what's up there? Hopefully I don't find another mouse nest >
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:36 AM   #26
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


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Also an oddity is that the 2nd floor bedrooms have a saggy floor, but the floor is solid, if that maakes any sense. And they sag perpendicular to the way the joists seem to be running. I don't get it.
Sag perpendicular to the joists indicates your perimiter (foundation) beam has sag in it.

What kind of wood are your joists? My old kitchen had a 16 foot span and they were 2x6 oak. They were strong enough, but bounced like crazy.

If the little strips of wood are flat they won't do much in the way of bridging, but they might have been for nailing the ceiling to.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:26 AM   #27
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how to determine if wall is load bearing


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Sag perpendicular to the joists indicates your perimiter (foundation) beam has sag in it.

What kind of wood are your joists? My old kitchen had a 16 foot span and they were 2x6 oak. They were strong enough, but bounced like crazy.

If the little strips of wood are flat they won't do much in the way of bridging, but they might have been for nailing the ceiling to.
Yes they are flat.


I don't know what species my joists are. Here's a crummy pic:





And here are my foundation "beams" (aka rocks ):





On a side note, my 1st floor does not have the perpendicular sag.

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