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ssgtjoenunez 02-27-2013 07:46 AM

Load Bearing wall?
 
Are there any quick ways to identify a load bearing interior wall?

Our home is two story and we have a very open concept main floor. As a matter of fact the only actual "wall" in the entire first floor is the small wall (with large opening) that separates the kitchen from the living room. The ceilings are high and if I had to bet, I'd say this wall isnt holding anything up because 1) its got the opening in it and 2) its so small in comparison to the rest of the main floor that I would doubt it was actually doing any heavy lifting.

My idea is to reverse my kitchen out. I'll post some pictures later but essentially I want to eliminate the small wall, close up some windows on the back wall and move the cabinets and whatnot to the back wall completely opening up the kitchen to the living room. Even this minor aesthetic change will make the first floor look MUCH bigger.

So what are the signs that a wall is load bearing?

framer52 02-27-2013 08:05 AM

Post some pictures.

brockmiera 02-27-2013 09:57 AM

When was your house built? that small wall may house a steel pipe column that supports the midspan of steel beams that are supporting your second level. In that case you can take down the wall but not the column. Obviously pictures will be a huge help.

ssgtjoenunez 02-27-2013 09:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brockmiera (Post 1125989)
When was your house built? that small wall may house a steel pipe column that supports the midspan of steel beams that are supporting your second level. In that case you can take down the wall but not the column. Obviously pictures will be a huge help.

The home was built in 2002. I'll snap some pictures when I get home later. The only place where a steel pipe column could potentially hide doesnt seen to have one - I had to replace some baseboard and shoe moulding and drove a nail all the way into it and never hit anything other than framed out 2x4s.

This will make a ton more sense when I snap some pics later.

Thanks

framer52 02-27-2013 10:31 AM

It doesn't have to be a steel column to be a support wall as doubled up 2x4's will also work.

Is this a one or two story house?
Does it have trusses or rafters?

No real quick way to determine if it is a support wall.

Is there a post in the basement or crawl space or basement near this wall? Or is there a beam under the wall?

Get the picture? Lot of things to look at to determine if it is load bearing.

ssgtjoenunez 02-27-2013 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by framer52 (Post 1126019)
It doesn't have to be a steel column to be a support wall as doubled up 2x4's will also work.

Is this a one or two story house?
Does it have trusses or rafters?

No real quick way to determine if it is a support wall.

Is there a post in the basement or crawl space or basement near this wall? Or is there a beam under the wall?

Get the picture? Lot of things to look at to determine if it is load bearing.

As noted in the original post, this is a two story house. There is no basement or crawl space (live in TX) - the wall sits literally on top of the slab. I just replaced the tile in the kitchen and had to strip the adhesive from the old vinyl down to the slab so I'm sure of that.

Pictures will make this much easier. Those to follow later on this evening.

Thanks

ssgtjoenunez 02-27-2013 09:07 PM

8 Attachment(s)
Here are some pictures of that interior wall. Hopefully this will help you guys help me determine if its load bearing or not.

Thanks in advance!

kaschmid3 02-27-2013 09:56 PM

Nice pics yo determine load bearing would need to know what is above those walls ie another wall An overlap of floor joists roof point loads etc

GBrackins 02-27-2013 11:27 PM

to span from the front to rear of a house with a floor system can be accomplish with a floor trusses. this typically eliminates interior walls they cross from being load bearing. as the truss span becomes longer the truss becomes taller. for example I'd expect a floor truss (made from 2x3 lumber) spanning 24' at 16" o.c. to be around 18" in height. What is the thickness of the second floor (from 1st floor ceiling to 2nd floor finish flooring)? If it not about 20" thick (if the dimension between the front and rear walls is more than 24' then the height of the floor assembly would increase also) then I doubt you have trusses, which means there must be an intermediate support for the floor system, such as a load bearing wall or beam or how else would it stay up?

This does not mean the wall is load bearing. If the openings in the wall do not go up to the ceiling there could be a beam (under the floor system) supporting them.

From you photos I would suspect that the solid portion of the wall is load bearing with a header (beam) over the opening. Columns would support the beam at it's ends.

The way one typically tells is by either going to the building department to see if they have a copy of the plans the home was constructed from (of course this is not a guarantee it was built this way) or pull down some drywall and take a look at the construction. Usually you'd pull drywall first to verify the construction before attempting any demolition.

If not sure I'd recommend hiring a professional engineer to evaluate your home before attempting to remove any portion of the wall.

Don't know if this helps or not ....... Good luck!

brockmiera 02-28-2013 09:14 AM

From those picture, figuring out if it is load bearing is near impossible. Do you know which direction your ceiling/floor joists run? The long wall perpendicular to the wall in question, does it run the full length of the house? How far is it from the door in picture one to the looks like a closet door in picture 7?

ssgtjoenunez 02-28-2013 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brockmiera (Post 1126730)
From those picture, figuring out if it is load bearing is near impossible. Do you know which direction your ceiling/floor joists run? The long wall perpendicular to the wall in question, does it run the full length of the house? How far is it from the door in picture one to the looks like a closet door in picture 7?

Joists run the opposite direction of the wall in question. That long wall perpendicular does not run the full length of the house - though most of the first floor. From exterior wall one (kitchen) to the entryway but stops about 7.5 feet short of the other exterior wall.

I dont have the measurement from door to door though door in picture 1 is garage entry and door in picture 7 is exterior door to the backyard.

UPDATE: the wall in question is just over 14 feet long.

brockmiera 03-01-2013 02:50 PM

If the joists are running perpendicular to that wall then I'd say it is definitely load bearing.

Daniel Holzman 03-01-2013 06:03 PM

The quickest way to determine if a wall is load bearing is to remove it. If the house falls down, you have convincing evidence that the wall was load bearing. I have done a few inspections of houses where this technique was skillfully employed, and revealed incontrovertible evidence that the removed wall in fact had been previously doing important work. Fortunately the individuals who employed this time tested method survived the experience.

For those not interested in performing a potentially one time experiment, the ONLY way to determine if a wall is load bearing is to carefully examine all of the framing in the house to determine if the wall is holding up anything beyond its own weight. This can be done if you have the framing plans for the house, AND YOU KNOW THEY ARE ACCURATE. Most people do not have plans, therefore the best way is to check the framing above by visual inspection. This may require drilling a small hole to access the space above the wall, and inserting a flexible camera (can be rented) to see what is happening.


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