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Old 09-11-2012, 09:39 PM   #1
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


I am planning to move a wall between a full bathroom and a bedroom, 12 inches into the bedroom, to add some space in the bathroom. Ranch house, so only attic above the wall. I assume its load bearing; I noticed a beam (pictured) in the attic. Also attached is a diagram of the house, and the load bearing walls. The black walls are on the first floor, red line is the beam in the attic, above the bathroom. The wall circled in yellow is the one I'd like to move.If I build the replacement wall PRIOR to demolishing the original, is there any reason that I cannot proceed?
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:45 PM   #2
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


That 4 X 4 looks like someone was trying to fix a sagging ceiling, or had something heavy hanging from the joist below that area of the attic. That's not how a load bearing wall would have been built.

It's always best to have an expert come on site to look something over like this before doing anything.

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Old 09-11-2012, 10:00 PM   #3
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


Thanks, I agree, don't think that beam is supporting the load, however I am pretty sure that the two walls on either side of it (on the first floor) ARE supporting the weight. Assuming it is a load bearing wall, I should just be able to build a second wall to take the load, and then demo. I had an "expert" come out who said I could just knock the wall out. He didn't strike me as a good decision maker, and I will not be paying another "expert" hundreds of dollars. Any reason the replacement wall will not be sufficient?
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:05 PM   #4
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


It looks like your ceiling joists join above this wall?
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:07 PM   #5
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


Which would make it a supporting wall.
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:23 PM   #6
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


No, the ceiling joists come together in the center of the house. If you refer to my first picture, the wall I am hoping to move is about 3 feet to the left of center, where the beam is (and the joists come together).
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:26 PM   #7
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


Yes, that 4x4 looks not to be structural but placed there to support something hanging down like a chandelier or punching bag.
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:31 PM   #8
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanKizo View Post
No, the ceiling joists come together in the center of the house. If you refer to my first picture, the wall I am hoping to move is about 3 feet to the left of center, where the beam is (and the joists come together).
Confused by this
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:33 PM   #9
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


That 4x4 could be a beam in the attic with the joists hanging from it. Does it go over above the wall?
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:34 PM   #10
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


What kinds of qualifications did this"expert" have and how did you find him/her?

When I hired a structural engineer, he performed an onsite review and sent me a written report in couple of days. Before hiring him, I checked the state license board to make sure his P.E. credential was legit.

As far as your project is concerned, I would highly advise AGAINST building "a second wall to take the load, and then demo". There are lots of competent and tradesmen/women and professional engineers on this board but they cannot do a thorough analysis without being onsite, imo.

Try local searching "professional engineer" and when you get a handful of names, check with your state licensing board and BBB, etc.

Good luck
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:02 AM   #11
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


I'm not sure I understand what is going on here. The black lines are all existing walls on the first floor, and the red line is the "beam" in the attic, right? But it looks like your ceiling joists are overlapping along where the "beam" is... That means they *should* have a wall supporting them from underneath, no? At least my understanding is that all ceiling joist overlaps must be supported underneath by a wall/beam at least 4 inches thick, otherwise you need to have a single continuous ceiling joist from one outer wall to the other.

I agree with the other posters - that "beam" looks to me to be a stongback

http://www.renovate.org.nz/assets/Up...-Fig-1-5.1.jpg

or maybe just to hang something from the underside.

Looks to me like there used to be a center wall running the full length of your building when this thing was originally built, hence the overlap of the joists over empty air, and someone else already moved that wall to create the two walls you have now, and they didn't replace the ceiling joists.

And they probably didn't because they would have had to have used a larger ceiling joist in order to achieve the span needed for a contiguous piece, or at the very least replace the joists such that the overlap occurs over one of the load bearing walls.

I'm not sure if a three-piece ceiling joist system (outer-to-inner, inner-to-inner, inner-to-outer) is allowable or not, but if your engineer says it's ok it might be an option worth looking into, and is what should have been done originally. That or put in a contiguous joist.

of course i could be wrong, just my 2 cents.

Last edited by weekendwarrior9; 09-12-2012 at 04:05 AM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:18 AM   #12
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


after reviewing the photo and diagram it appears that one of two things has happened:

1. the home was not designed/built properly
2. an improper modification of the first floor wall was made after the original construction was completed

I say this due to the fact that the ceiling joists are lapped without a load bearing wall underneath. Attic storage by code requirements is based upon a 20 psf live load for a limited storage attic, if fixed stairs lead to the attic then the code requirement is 30 psf. To have a load bearing point (where two ceiling joists are lapped) without a load bearing wall requires a beam designed to carry those loads. It appears that the ceiling must have sagged due to lack of support and the 4x4 appears to be someone's method of trying to deal with the sag.

is your home a concrete slab on grade, or do you have wooden floor joists for the floor assembly?
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:47 PM   #13
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


Ya, I suspect option 2 happened. I don't know a builder that would just overlap two ends over nothing for fun.

If he can't replace the lapped ceiling joists with a properly sized contiguous piece due to the rafter heights (i.e. taller joist won't fit), what about replacing the lapped with a contiguous of the same size, then putting in a real beam in place of that 4x4, maybe a 4x6 or a 6x6 (need an engineer) and having it sit on the outer wall and the load bearing center wall until it gets to where there is direct support to the foundation underneath, making sure that he triple ups the studs in the end wall and the load bearer, and of course attaching the joists to the beam with the appropriate simpson hangers?

Seems to me to be the cheapest option, presuming an engineer signs off on it.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:05 PM   #14
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


I agree weekend, #2 is the most likely .... a builder wouldn't do that, but a DIY'er might not knowing any better (removing the wall from below)

the loads transferred by the load bearing walls (by using another ceiling joist member to connect them together) or a beam must be transferred to the foundation or solid undisturbed ground. I doubt the existing floor framing system (unless concrete slab on grade) was not designed to carry attic load, which can lead to a bouncy floor and potential damage if the joists are undersized.

The loads must be calculated and a means of support must be designed. I would recommend contacting a local professional engineer that works on residential projects. I know it costs money for their service, but you'll be able to do it correctly the first time. Otherwise you'll try one thing and when it don't work you'll have to try another. In the end the money spent with the engineer will save you time and money in the long run.

Good luck!
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:48 PM   #15
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Moving a Load Bearing Wall 12 inches


BTW, what is the size of your ceiling joists? Joist spacing looks greater than 16 o.c.

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