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Old 11-06-2013, 09:29 PM   #1
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Load Bearing Wall Question


I would like to preface this with saying that I will definitely be getting an engineer/architect and getting permits and stuff. This is just to see if it is worth paying the money to get someone to do the calculations or if that would be throwing money away.

I have just bought my first house and it has a completely unfinished basement. I have a couple ideas of what I would like to do with it, many of which involve removing parts of a load bearing wall that runs the length of the house.

I would like to do it without a column, which is why I am unsure if it is doable. How much of a wall could I remove without needing a column? An ideal situation for me would be replacing 22 feet of the wall with a support beam.

I have done a lot of DIY work in the past, but it has always been helping a parent, friend, or other family member, and I have never planned anything before. Because of the high impact a mistake would make, I would get a professional to do it/oversee it. Let me know if there is more info you need.

I hope this is doable, and not just a dream, as it would make the eventual room really nice.

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Old 11-06-2013, 09:34 PM   #2
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Really need pictures of your problem at hand. Without the pictures, we really cannot go further with this.

To do it without any Lolly Columns, you would need to have one hell of a very large Steel I-Beam in there, to support that span.

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Old 11-06-2013, 09:42 PM   #3
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This is a diagram of the basement If i had to have some of the wall on either side of the opening remain there, it would be okay, just trying to figure out if it is worth the couple hundred to get the engineer out to do the calculations and stuff.
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:58 PM   #4
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That is a drawing, now a picture. Again, if you are not wanting a Lolly Column to support that beam, you are going to need one hell of a large I-Beam, as I have already stated. Along with that, you would need the foundation also made to support that dead load on the ends.

You are just going to have to live with having Lolly columns, about every eight feet, end of discussion.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:10 PM   #5
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Wrap them in thick rope, make your basement a nautical theme. Or paint them like crayons for a kid's room.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:14 PM   #6
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Building supply stores that sell lots of beams (engineered-wood, steel) often have a structural engineer. In this case, you just want to know if what you want is doable. Call a few places and see if you can sit down for a few minutes with their engineer. Don't expect a detailed analysis for free; they'll expect you to buy the beam from them. But a "is this even possible" discussion...I imagine they'll give you that if it might win them a sale. If you have a blueprint of the house, bring it. Otherwise, make sure to take lots of measurement to answer questions the engineer might have.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carter72 View Post
many of which involve removing parts of a load bearing wall that runs the length of the house.

I would like to do it without a column, which is why I am unsure if it is doable.
what is the proposed beam to support and where is it located?

the ends of beams must be supported. one end could be supported on the foundation wall, the interior end needs something to support it. Usually this is a column or possibly another beam.

why do you wish not to have a column to support it?
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:06 AM   #8
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Good to give the liability to a S.E. instead of yourself.... there are prescriptive loads for engineered lumber available with a short search on the internet; eg.; pp.3; http://www.parr.com/PDFs/LP%20LVL%201.9E.pdf

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Old 11-07-2013, 01:35 PM   #9
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I'd first start by asking.

Where are you located City, State (or county if you dont want to get that specific)
Is your house a ranch, two story, etc...

Most likely to do this you will need a steel I Beam to span that. Then you will need to support at each end either with a column or possibly by creating a beam pocket in your existing block or concrete basement wall.

If by post you will have to demo the concrete slab, excavate and pour new footings to support and redistribute the point load caused by the column into the ground. Give us some more information and we can help you decide if it is worth having an engineering come out.
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in WA View Post
Good to give the liability to a S.E. instead of yourself.... there are prescriptive loads for engineered lumber available with a short search on the internet; eg.; pp.3; http://www.parr.com/PDFs/LP%20LVL%201.9E.pdf
Nice link! Given these prescriptive tables, it appears the OP's span is just a hair longer than what can be supported by an LVL. The good new is that if it can almost be done with an LVL, there's no doubt the span could be covered with a steel beam.
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:49 PM   #11
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I think there are other ELAMs that span more than the 22. Look at the higher grade GP 2.0E.

Last edited by Bugman1400; 11-07-2013 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:54 PM   #12
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Plenty of things span over 22' but without knowing what loads they are subjected to you'll never know if they will fail or not.
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:07 PM   #13
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First of all, thanks for all the replies and sorry for the lack of all the information you needed. Right now, as I am in the planning stages, I do not have the area cleaned up from moving in. I could post some in a couple days when i have some time off, but it is literally just a wall of 2x6 studs.

To answer some questions, I understand that I will need ways to hold up the edges. One side would butt up against the foundations, and the other would continue to be part of a wall, and I am fine if there needs to be columns/posts at the sides of the beam to hold it up. I get that

What I was hoping to get away from was a column in the middle of the floor. I am hoping for this to become a pool room with a bar area, so the column would be right around where the edge of a eventual pool table would be. I am against this.

I live in a single story ranch. Looking at the pdf Gary provided, which was extremely helpful, the main things that you need to look at are the span (22) and the span being carried. The width of my house is just under 27 feet. Using the chart, I should be able to do 18 and 20 with the beams they were showing. A steel beam should be stronger, and would most likely be able to work in my case.

One question I do have, are they a lot more difficult to work with? I have a uncle who does contracting work like this often, but I am not sure if he has worked with steel beams before, and I was hoping to use him and some cousins as cost effective labor. I don't want the cost of this to skyrocket to fast, i would rather make the room smaller, and only span the 18 feet.
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:42 PM   #14
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just remember the longer the span the deeper the beam. how much head room do you have now? an 18" or 20" will take up a lot of head room clearance in a typical basement.

you could have the top of the beam flush with the top of the floor joists and save some height. a steel beam would probably be between 8" and 12" in depth depending on the beam selected.

good luck!
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:44 AM   #15
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I am blessed with ceilings of over 9 ft in the basement. The beam would be right next to the air vents as well, so it would be no problem if the beam was very deep as I am going to either drop part of the ceiling or at least go around the venting.

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