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Old 08-01-2010, 05:08 PM   #1
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


The house I recently purchased once had a wood burning stove in the living room. To accomodate this stove the built a brick pedestal that sticks out about 4 feet from the wall and is about 6 inches off the ground. Further there is a brick facade that runs from floor to ceiling along the wall.

Whoever installed it did a terrible terrible job as the drywall adjacent to it has close to a 1 inch gap on all sides. Further, the house has an old forced hot water baseboard heating system. The drywall appears to be built on top of the baseboard so I would guess that there is another wall immediately (like 2 inches) behind the wall currently visible. It also looks like they built the brick support over the baseboard and that the baseboard actually runs through the base of the platform.

I want to get rid of the thing, because all it does is take up floor space really. How can I make sure that this thing is not a structural element? I can take a hammer and chisel to it just fine, but I want to make sure I don't bring the 2nd floor down on top of me when I do it.

EDIT: Added a picture of the baseboard heater running into the brick and a picture of the same baseboard against a different wall for comparison's sake.

-Mike
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Last edited by eskowitz; 08-01-2010 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:14 PM   #2
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


I'm sorry. I should have put a question mark in the title. If there are any mods here they can feel free to add one.

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Old 08-01-2010, 06:10 PM   #3
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


That brick is just "Decorative"

Take it down, the world will be a better place without it!--Mike--
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:36 PM   #4
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


While I suspect that the brick doesn't go all the way through and can simply be removed, there is a metal vent that is capped off in the center of the wall. On the exterior of the house on the opposite side of the wall there is a chimney. My assumption is that the chimney connects to the vent through the wall.
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:47 PM   #5
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


I'd need a picture of that--along with a photo of the fire box----

The' beautiful face brick' however is an add on,much newer than the house--and can be removed.
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:57 PM   #6
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


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Originally Posted by eskowitz View Post
While I suspect that the brick doesn't go all the way through and can simply be removed, there is a metal vent that is capped off in the center of the wall. On the exterior of the house on the opposite side of the wall there is a chimney. My assumption is that the chimney connects to the vent through the wall.
A brick chimney or a wood framed chimney chase?
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:19 PM   #7
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


I had to look up what a chimney chase is. Correct me if I am wrong, but it appears to be an aesthetic decoration which surrounds a metal vent that goes out the ceiling.

The chimney on the outside of the house adjacent to this wall runs from the ground to the roof and is attached to the house, but does not run through the roof or any other part of the house.

The vent I am referring to is the metal cap which is visible in one of the pictures I posted. I assume that it runs all the way through the wall into the chimney outside.
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:20 PM   #8
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A brick chimney or a wood framed chimney chase?

I didn't specifically answer your question. I believe that it is a brick chimney. (The outer surface of the chimney is plastered or concreted over such that the actual material isn't visibly evident)
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:47 PM   #9
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


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How can I make sure that this thing is not a structural element?
In the walls and ceiling, do wood or steel joists rest on the tops of the bricks, or is the brickwork notched to receive joists or I beams?

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Old 08-01-2010, 09:54 PM   #10
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


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In the walls and ceiling, do wood or steel joists rest on the tops of the bricks, or is the brickwork notched to receive joists or I beams?
I have absolutely no idea. I didn't build the place.

If you look at one of the pictures the brickwork actually goes up into the ceiling a bit.

Without ripping open the walls and ceiling is there any way to determine if it is a structural element?
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:00 PM   #11
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how to tell if a brick wall is load bearing


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I'd need a picture of that--along with a photo of the fire box----

The' beautiful face brick' however is an add on,much newer than the house--and can be removed.

I had to google to figure out what a firebox is. I found an item called a firebox at target.com and it appears to be the actual heating element that burns coal or wood pellets.

I never had one. The previous owners may have, but there is no stove or heater there currently. The silver cap visible in the pictures is the vent I was referring to. I assume that it was the exhaust for whatever heater was there and that it goes all the way through the wall into the chimney.

I'll take a picture of the chimney tomorrow when the sun is up.

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