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Old 08-13-2006, 05:16 PM   #1
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


Just bought a 1930 Colonial that had an addition put on the back of the house in the 80s. Well there are two archways leading into the addition on the first floor (that wall would have been the outside wall prior to the addition). One archway leads into the addition from the dining room, the other one from the kitchen-i want to open up the archway in the kitchen-basically knock down a 4 or 5 foot wall that is there now (which use to be the outside) to extend the kitchen into the addition.

Then I got to thinking,hmm that was prolly a load bearing wall. So how do i know for sure? And how do I know how much I can take down of it without any structural issues (as previously mentioned it already has 2 small archways-one is a 6 foot opening, the other prolly only 4). Thanks for the help.

Nick

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Old 08-13-2006, 06:58 PM   #2
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


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Originally Posted by AllGoNoShow
Just bought a 1930 Colonial that had an addition put on the back of the house in the 80s. Well there are two archways leading into the addition on the first floor (that wall would have been the outside wall prior to the addition). One archway leads into the addition from the dining room, the other one from the kitchen-i want to open up the archway in the kitchen-basically knock down a 4 or 5 foot wall that is there now (which use to be the outside) to extend the kitchen into the addition.

Then I got to thinking,hmm that was prolly a load bearing wall. So how do i know for sure? And how do I know how much I can take down of it without any structural issues (as previously mentioned it already has 2 small archways-one is a 6 foot opening, the other prolly only 4). Thanks for the help.

Nick
If it's a one story house, you have to see if the ceiling joists and rafters are sitting on that wall.

If it's a two story house, you have to see if the second floor joists and rafters are sitting on that wall.

If it is a load bearing wall you all structural issues to worry about.

If you're not sure how to figure this out, have a professional come in and look because this kind of stuff is not a Diy'er project.

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Old 08-13-2006, 08:50 PM   #3
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


If you make a mistake with guessing which walls are load bearing, you will have a serious problem, not to mention a safety issue that could drive you out of the house. Shoring up for temporary loads is not a task for a novice, should you choose to proceed. Just a few words of caution.

Last edited by joasis; 08-13-2006 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 08-14-2006, 09:48 AM   #4
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


It is a 2-story house with the addition also being 2 stories (approx. 18X11 room on each floor).

What is the "industry standard" when putting on an addition? I would imagine the former exterior wall would have been a load bearing wall (that is fairly typically right?)-but when the addition is put on do they extend the rafters to what is now the exterior wall-thereby changing the load bearing wall? And how do I see if the ceiling joists sit on that wall-do I have to tear out the ceilings?

I have a brother-in-law team of a contractor and engineer so I can always ask them-but would like to figure this out myself-or at least have some general background knowledge before i ask.

Nick
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:54 AM   #5
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


From a technical view only, any 2 story structure exterior walls are load bearing, and if the home is very old, chances are excellent that the ceiling joists rest on the interior walls, 90 degrees to the long axis on the home. I would guess, without seeing anything, that the ceiling joists would be 11+ feet and rest on the interior wall dividing the home, if I am understanding the 18 X 22...and going a little further, you can assume the second story interior walls are certainly resting on lower load bearing walls. This is purely a guess, and if you have the experts available, swallow a little pride and ask...we all do since we can't know it all or have experience at every level.
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:00 PM   #6
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


I always look for the "Load Bearing Wall" sticker.

On some older houses you occasionally find walls that weren't originally meant as load bearing but have become load bearing over time from a remodel or the heavier appliances used now etc.

Last edited by mickeyco; 08-14-2006 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:11 PM   #7
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


Any photos?

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Old 08-14-2006, 02:14 PM   #8
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


If it is a load bearing wall and you want to remove about 5 feet for a new opening then you would need to install a header to support the weight.

The archway may hide the header that was installed to carry the weight.

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Old 08-14-2006, 02:32 PM   #9
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


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If it is a load bearing wall and you want to remove about 5 feet for a new opening then you would need to install a header to support the weight.

The archway may hide the header that was installed to carry the weight.

Moving in in a week so I can get them to you guys a day or two after that. Damn house is 1750 sq. ft. but the kitchen is only 10x10 so i'm searching for ways to try to increase it. Thanks for all the responses-they have been helpful.

Nick
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:37 PM   #10
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How to ID load-bearing walls?


What is the ceiling heights for the kitchen and addition?

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