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Old 02-01-2011, 03:07 AM   #1
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load bearing walls

I watched the framing on my house and certain things that happened leave me with less than full confidence. How much weight can 2x6 x 10' boards, used in the interior stud framed wall, support? The top of the stud walls have a double 2x6 top board.

How does one calculate weight bearing load ? The house is a simple rectangle 40' wide front to back x 65' long. The ceiling truss system is "A frame" brought to the site. The trusses are stapled with simpson plates. The roof trusses are over 48' across the bottom cord which allows a 8' hangover in front that makes the roof of the front 2 story porch. The house rectangle is divided inside in thirds with 2 interior weight bearing walls in the basement , 2 above those walls on the main floor, and 2 above those walls on the 2nd story. The weight carries straight down from the second story to the basement interior walls.

All framing is 2x6x10. The basement is finished to 9 ft to sheetrock ceiling. The exterior walls in the basement are 8 inches thick poured concrete 4000 psi.

The A frame ceiling trusses sit on the front and back wall and do not bear down on the interior framed walls (those two I am worried about). All floors are hardwood (which weighs more than carpet). Bathrooms are marble/granit. I have granit counter tops in the kitchen. (which are heavy).

Besides the weight bearing issue, One of my biggest concerns was watching them put the engineered open web 22ft+/- ceiling/floor trusses on top of the 2x6 stud wall plates. The ends of those trusses only sit on about 1 inch of that top 6 inch wide wall plate (actually 5 3/4) because of the firewall board that was placed between the end of the ceiling truss of one room and the end of the next truss for the next room that shares the top of the same wall plate.

Also, I didn't see him put in any blocking in the wall between the upright boards to stiffen them.

I now sit in the finished basement and just imagine all the weight these 2 interior walls are holding up and I wonder how much weight can 2x6 boards placed 16 inches oc across a 40 foot span hold up? The truss company engineer designed the truss placement; and the county inspector did approve the framing but admitted he was not an engineer.

thank you
worried homeowner


Last edited by worriedowner; 02-01-2011 at 03:19 AM. Reason: inches need to be spelled out won't take the symbols
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Old 02-01-2011, 03:43 AM   #2
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Truss companies engineer the trusses and their minimum bearing. The inspector doesn't have to be an engineer, he just checks if the stuff is built to code and according to the plans that were approved by the building dept. (which should include engineer's notes.)

Engineer's have a lot of liability. Anything goes wrong with something that has their stamp, and they can lose their license and even go to jail. It's more than just their livelihood at stake.
Also, there are a lot of homes built with 2x4 exterior walls, even. Part of the reason we even use 2x6 now is for the insulation value.

Are you one of those folks that when you watch a tv show about weird diseases you start to feel weird and go get a doctor checkup just to make sure?

Dude (or ma'am), just relax and enjoy your new home.


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Old 02-01-2011, 05:13 AM   #3
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As a GC I can tell you that you are right to be concerned, considering some of the shenanigans I have seen perpetrated on home owners. However, engineered trusses have been used for decades with few issues and 2x6 walls are more than sufficient.

If the home is still in framing, you might take some photos of areas that you have concern about and post them. Get a copy of the Truss Schedule from the Builder or the Inspector and take it to an Engineer for a second opinion. If the home is already complete, then you are just closing the barn door after the horse got out.
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:12 PM   #4
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The previous commenters gave you good advice - contact the truss engineer if you have any concerns. And you should do it sooner rather than later, not because I think your house is unsafe, but you don't want to piss off the contractor by waiting until he covered up all of the framing.

I didn't pour over the details of your post but I wouldn't be too concerned with the 2x6 walls failing axially. When braced properly to prevent buckling (wall sheathing is a typical brace for studs), a wood stud can hold up thousands of pounds. However, the 1" of bearing surface for the trusses would make me raise my eyebrow. The current UBC requires a minimum of 1.5" bearing surface but an engineer can always waive that requirement if he/she can show that 1" is sufficient.

Just call the engineer - you will feel much better afterwards!
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