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rvesci 12-25-2010 07:37 PM

load bearing walls
i want to take out a load bearing wall and relace it with columns to open up the floor plan. How much wieght would the load bearing wall have held if it was an 8 foot wall with 2x4's 16" OC? The colums I am using support about 10K pounds each and I am thinking of using two. The only thing above is a bedroom that the bearing wall was supporting. Is there a formula for calcuating how much weight a 2x4 framed wall supports. Thank you!

oleguy74 12-26-2010 03:38 PM

that will require load calcs and enginered plans.and a permit.

jklingel 12-28-2010 04:52 PM

I got this from another individual that I trust. FWIW: "A single SPF#2, 9' x 2x4 that's restrained laterally by sheathing or blocking can support 1820 lbs and a similar 2x6 can support 7061 lbs without buckling (almost 4 x as much). A double 2x4 can support 3639 lbs, or about half that of a single 2x6. The only advantage of the double 2x4 is, in the event it loses lateral support, it can support 5 times as much weight without lateral buckling as the single 2x6 (2674 lbs compared to 525 lbs)."

All that said, get an engineer to check out the whole situation. Playing with a load bearing wall is not DIY, IMO. If you remove the wall, then the beam that replaces it should be design-based, not guessed.

troubleseeker 12-28-2010 08:18 PM

How much weight this wall could have supported is irrelevant. If you don't want a sagging ceiling in the future, you shoud have an engineer calculate the required beam size and column spacing. Since the two are directly related, he can design towards your asthetic goal; a larger beam with fewer or possibly no columns, or a smaller beam with more columns.

Daniel Holzman 12-28-2010 09:51 PM

I don't think you really understand the mechanics of your setup. As noted by previous poster, a wall constructed of 2x4 studs can typically support more load than is imposed by the house. You CANNOT compute the actual load supported by a wall by computing the load bearing capacity of the studs. You compute the ACTUAL load on the wall based on the house geometry, and the code mandated live and dead load of the portions of the house supported by the wall.

Once you know the actual load, you can design a header and post system to support the load when you remove the load bearing wall and replace with the header. Typically this type of design is done by an engineer or architect. While this is not rocket science, it isn't cookie cutter either, and the design depends on specific details of the construction of your house, information which is difficult to develop without a personal site visit by the design professional.

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