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Old 07-15-2011, 03:30 PM   #1
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Want to open up a load bearing wall - I need advice on a header to carry the load


A little info about the house. Craftsman house built in 1905. Located in Los Angeles, California.

Appears to be 'balloon framing' (2 x 4 studs appear to go all the way up through the 2nd floor)

A new concerete perimiter foundation was poured in 2009.

I'd like to open up the wall between my kitchen & laundry room. The laundry room was originally an enclosed porch. The wall separating the kitchen from the laundry room was the original back wall of the 2 story house. The concrete perimeter gave a foundation to the laundry room... making the back of the laundry room the new actual back wall.

The span I'd like to open is approximately 11'



The 2 x 4 top plate is not actually underneath the 2 x 8 joist of the 2nd floor. There are 2 x 4s that extend up vertically in what I believe is called 'balloon framing'



This is the corner where the load is currently supported. It's a 4 x 4 with 2 - 2 x4s next to it that also framed the door from the kitchen to the laundry room.

I don't know how to calculate header size to correctly carry the load. Can someone please help with the appropriate math? I will take whatever pictures necessary.

thanks!

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Old 07-15-2011, 05:29 PM   #2
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Want to open up a load bearing wall - I need advice on a header to carry the load


I am having a really hard time understanding exactly what wall you are talking about. I did not see anything that looked like 2x4 balloon framed studs in the pictures, maybe my eyes are going bad. It looks to me like you have post and beam framing, those look like pretty substantial structural elements.

To determine the required size of the header, you need to first prepare an accurate, dimensioned drawing of the header and the tributary area that the header will be supporting. Then you determine the dead and live load in pounds per square foot for the tributary area. This becomes the load on the header. You are in Los Angeles, so you need to determine if you have to design for seismic loading, given that this is major structural work, you absolutely need to discuss this with your local building inspector, as they may require seismic retrofit for the structure.

Once you have the tributary area, you need to determine the mandatory code loading for each area. The load varies depending on the use of the space (bedroom is different from kitchen, which is different from loft etc.). If there are any point loads, like a heavy bathtub, or a column, you need to figure that into the loading.

Once the loading is determined, you size the beam to handle the maximum bending moment, or you use tables to size the beam. Or you let a structural engineer figure it out.

As for helping you with the math, sorry, the math is pretty complicated, and this is an internet chat forum, not really a suitable place to discuss the theory of elasticity.

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Old 07-15-2011, 05:51 PM   #3
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Want to open up a load bearing wall - I need advice on a header to carry the load


It's possible that I don't know the definition of balloon framing, but I thought it was when the 2 x 4s run the vertical height of the structure without a beam separating them.

I took a pic from the other side to see if it will help clarify:



the 2 x 4s run up behind the 2 x 8 (or in this pic... in front of the 2 x 8) to form the wall of the 2nd floor. From what I read, it sounded like if this were post & beam, then the 2 x 8 should rest on top of the 2 x 4 top plate... or am I mistaken?

anyways, I have contacted a SE, but would really like to go into the situation armmed with a little more knowledge than I have right now. I was kinda hoping for a "what's reasonable" so I can carry on an intelligent conversation with the SE... or at least ask intelligent questions.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:32 PM   #4
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Want to open up a load bearing wall - I need advice on a header to carry the load


Well you let the proverbial cat out of the bag by saying you are in California.
If you are going to get permits for your job you will be required to have Site, floor, elevation, electrical Ca. Energy Standards plus all the structural stuff,
Engineering is required for anything in Earth Quake zone D which all of LA and Orange Counties are in. There are prescriptive methods of construction but only for a single floor not in Earth Quake Zone D.
Ah, living in paradise ain't all it is supposed to be.

Armed in what way? The engineer should be there to help you, not that you need to protect yourself in anyway from him??


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Old 07-16-2011, 09:16 AM   #5
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Want to open up a load bearing wall - I need advice on a header to carry the load


Quote:
Originally Posted by graysqwrl View Post
A little info about the house. Craftsman house built in 1905. Located in Los Angeles, California.

Appears to be 'balloon framing' (2 x 4 studs appear to go all the way up through the 2nd floor)

A new concerete perimiter foundation was poured in 2009.

I'd like to open up the wall between my kitchen & laundry room. The laundry room was originally an enclosed porch. The wall separating the kitchen from the laundry room was the original back wall of the 2 story house. The concrete perimeter gave a foundation to the laundry room... making the back of the laundry room the new actual back wall.

The span I'd like to open is approximately 11'



The 2 x 4 top plate is not actually underneath the 2 x 8 joist of the 2nd floor. There are 2 x 4s that extend up vertically in what I believe is called 'balloon framing'



This is the corner where the load is currently supported. It's a 4 x 4 with 2 - 2 x4s next to it that also framed the door from the kitchen to the laundry room.

I don't know how to calculate header size to correctly carry the load. Can someone please help with the appropriate math? I will take whatever pictures necessary.

thanks!
Are you planning on getting permits?
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