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Old 10-02-2009, 05:28 PM   #1
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Load Bearing Half Walls???


I have a living area of split level home on upper level. This is about a 20 x 30 space all with large beams and vaulted ceilings divided by a half wall. In the middle exactly below where the large beam (that goes across the whole house in the center of the roofline) is the half wall (about 8 feet high with no connection to the ceiling only side to side) is dividing the space. I would like to remove the wall to create one large space but want to know if it is load bearing. I have removed some sheet rock and see that the wall is simply two 2x4 on top / one 2x4 on bottom then studs on 16 inch centers.....all only tonailed to the side walls...with no diagonal supporting or braces of any kind.
1)Could a half wall (not connected to the ceiling in any way), even though running perpendicular to the rafters, be load bearing?

Thanks, Alex

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Old 10-02-2009, 08:51 PM   #2
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Load Bearing Half Walls???


If the perpendicular walls are gable ends where the framing isn't balloon framed, then perhaps the wall was added to provide stiffness to the ends. Or... maybe the wall used to brace the ridge and support ceiling joists. Do you know the history of the house? You've mentioned that there isn't any bracing in the wall, so it's either 20' long or 30' long with no intermediate intersecting walls?

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Old 10-03-2009, 11:09 AM   #3
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Load Bearing Half Walls???


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Originally Posted by NailedIt View Post
If the perpendicular walls are gable ends where the framing isn't balloon framed, then perhaps the wall was added to provide stiffness to the ends. Or... maybe the wall used to brace the ridge and support ceiling joists. Do you know the history of the house? You've mentioned that there isn't any bracing in the wall, so it's either 20' long or 30' long with no intermediate intersecting walls?
The half wall in question runs down the center of the room and is 18 feet long from the center from the exterior wall to what would appear to be a center beam support. Beyond this half wall through the rest of the house are regular walls which run down the center and are load bearing to the center beam. This wall just doesnt seem to be doing anything besides toenailed instead of braces it is just attached to the wall. It is clearly not supporting any vertical load as nothing is resting on it...as far as horizontal load the wall structure what could it be supporting? House was built in the mid 70's.
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:06 AM   #4
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Load Bearing Half Walls???


I'm only implying that your wall may have been intended to be a structural wall and has been altered, or that it could have been intended to support an endwall laterally, or any of a number of other conditions may exist that wouldn't jump out to an untrained eye upon a cursory inspection. An 18' long wall with no intermediate lateral support and no bracing anywhere ought to be pretty flimsy, I'd think if it were only connected at the ends with a couple of toenails it could be pushed down with a hard shove.

Last edited by NailedIt; 10-04-2009 at 02:21 AM. Reason: oops
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:27 PM   #5
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Load Bearing Half Walls???


" and is 18 feet long from the center from the exterior wall to what would appear to be a center beam support." ---- this wall is giving the gable end tall exterior wall lateral support 8' up. Do not remove it. See a structural engineer for a solution.
Be safe, Gary
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:53 PM   #6
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Load Bearing Half Walls???


That's the scenario I think is most likely, as I mentioned. Of course, you put it out there in a more straightforward way, GBAR. A qualified expert should be consulted, IMO.

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