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iengrave 03-08-2012 06:10 AM

Removing a Load Bearing Wall
I am planning on removing a load bearing wall between my living room and my dining room. I do not want an exposed beam between these two rooms. What I am planning on doing is to go into the attic and bolting a 2x6 or 2x8 to each roof joist extending down to the ceiling joist directly above the load bearing wall and bolting this new beam to the ceiling joist. Another possibility is to go into the attic and lay a 2x8 on the ceiling joist extending a couple of feet beyond the wall I plan on removing on each end. I will then use the metal hangers nailed to the 2x8 and to the ceiling joist. Will either of these two ideas work. I prefer using the first idea if possible. It will be easier getting short 2x6s into the attic compared to a long 2x8.

Daniel Holzman 03-08-2012 06:37 AM

I had a hard time visualizing exactly what you were thinking, a good, scaled diagram would help immensely. You also need to be very precise in your terminology, for example you refer to the ceiling joist when you may be referring to the rafters. Then again, you didn't say how many stories the house is, you did not mention dimensions, you did not mention which way the rafters (or maybe you have trusses?) run relative to the bearing wall you want to remove. All of which you should include in your scaled diagram that you post up.

framer52 03-08-2012 07:25 AM

The correct answer is maybe, maybe not.

I am having a hard time visualizing what you are proposing also.

iengrave 03-08-2012 07:48 AM

I did mean roof rafters and not joist. This house was built in 1956 and is a one story ranch. It does not have trusses. I do not know how to add a drawing and do not have a scanner to scan in a diagram. If the rafters and joist do not line up, then I will lay a 2x6 on top of the joist in the attic and use the metal hangers and attach the beam from the rafters to the joist and/or the new 2x6. I hope you can picture what I am talking about. To me, it is clear as mud!

M Engineer 03-08-2012 07:50 AM

Contact a structural engineer.

If I understand your first idea, it does not do anything to support the load that the wall is currently supporting.

framer52 03-08-2012 08:12 AM


Originally Posted by M Engineer (Post 873272)
Contact a structural engineer.

If I understand your first idea, it does not do anything to support the load that the wall is currently supporting.

We have a winner:thumbsup:

Daniel Holzman 03-08-2012 08:30 AM

I think framer52 is spot on. The entire point of a header is that the header is supported on either end by posts which extend downward to a solid support point, either a foundation in the basement or a main beam in the basement. The header then supports the joists using metal brackets or the joists overlap the beam (above the beam), which is how it is done in older houses. The beam IS NOT supported by the joists, the joists are supported by the beam.

Maybe it is just your wording, but it sounds like you plan to lay a beam over the joists, thereby supporting the beam by the joists, which is not going to work, and would lead to the immediate collapse of your house once you remove the temporary support for the joists (you need temporary support to put in the header).

It is certainly possible to put in a flush header (flush with the ceiling). It is more difficult than installing a drop header, more expensive, and requires greater skill and caution. Regardless how you go, the header must be designed by a professional (usually an architect or engineer), and the entire process has to be though through very carefully. The flush header is still supported by posts on either end, however the joists get cut where the header goes, then reattached using brackets. Not really a good DIY job unless you are experienced.

psilva8 03-08-2012 09:01 AM

Just to add another voice of reason to the matter:

The wall that is currently there supports the ceiling rafters (joists). Those rafters likely span the entire house and work in cooperation with the rest of the roof structure in:
a) bracing the exterior walls
b) supporting the roof structure

What you intend to do is to remove the support the rafters require ( its possible you also have vertical supports that come down from the peak of the roof onto this wall) then add a load on top of the rafters. This WILL cause your roof to come crashing down.

I concur with the rest of the posts here. You need to hire someone to design the arrangment as well as (judging by your lack of framing knowledge) you need to hire a contractor to execute the work.

My 2 cents. Be safe.

Gymschu 03-08-2012 11:37 AM

.............and threads like these show you why there are building codes.

BigJim 03-08-2012 03:11 PM

I understand this in a different way. I am understanding you want to nail a 2X6 from each ceiling joist to each rafter and suspend the ceiling that way. That will not work at all, for too many reasons, if this is what you have in mind you really do need someone qualified to give you some dirrections.

If you are talking about installing a 2X8 beam above the ceiling joist and tying the ceiling joist into the beam, that also will not work as a 2X8 beam is not strong enough to hold that much weight. You really do need some qualified person to give you some advise who can actually see what you have and want to do.

iengrave 03-08-2012 07:22 PM

Load bearing wall
Thanks for all the advice. I will remove the wall using an exposed beam and forget about the ideas I had. And Yes, I will put in a temporary load bearing wall before I take the other wall down. I will then use a 2x8 header resting on a 4x6 supports. Again, Thanks.

framer52 03-08-2012 07:42 PM

Are you sure you are using the correct size header?:eek:

Daniel Holzman 03-08-2012 07:52 PM

To the ops. I do not size headers over the internet, I have posted several times why. However, you have not mentioned the length of the header, or the exact loads it is planned to support. Regardless, a reasonable guess for a dining room/living room header is 10 or more feet (mine was 11 feet). If you have a floor above, and possibly roof loads transferred to the header, a 2x8 would not even be close, as Framer52 has noted. Please get appropriate assistance in sizing the header and planning the temporary supports, you can get killed if the header and or the temporary supports fail.

framer52 03-08-2012 07:56 PM

Dan, I hope they are listening. It can be so dangerous....:thumbsup:

I just had to inform a customer this week that their previous handyman had screwed up their ceiling and it was in danger of catastrophe. i hope they listened....

I didn't mention, but they do seem to be too "cheap" to do it right. This time I hope they listen......

iengrave 03-08-2012 08:10 PM

if I use 2 2x8s with a 3/4" plywood sandwitched in between, would that not be strong enough for the header. It will be resting on the 4x6 at each end which is only a 10 foot span.

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