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Old 11-29-2016, 05:15 PM  
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is an angled wall load bearing?


Hello! I just purchased a new single family home with 2 stories and a full basement. The stairs to my house have walls on both sides that run from the first floor ground to ceiling and run on a 45 degree angle in the center of my house, so each wall crosses an I beam at one point on each wall. I want to remove the walls and add an open railing, is it possible for these walls to bear weight? Thanks in advance!

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Old 11-29-2016, 07:21 PM  
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Re: is an angled wall load bearing?


Your question is very common on this forum. The answer is always the same. A load bearing wall is any wall that carries more than its own weight. The load on the wall can come from joists, beams, diagonal braces, or a wall above. The only way to tell for certain if a wall is load bearing is to carefully examine the framing above to see if any load is transmitted to the wall. This usually requires a trained individual to examine the framing, could be an engineer, architect, contractor, or carpenter, or you can do the examination if you understand what you are looking for.
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Old 11-29-2016, 09:22 PM  
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Re: is an angled wall load bearing?


I think Dan will agree and to a limited degree (and not detrminitive if you don't know exactly what you're looking at), it can help also to look for posts that carry that load down to foundation.

Did not understand if the home was new, or new to you.... but if new, you should be able to get the structural plans and likely answer your question.

But, bottom line.... if you are not familiar with construction.... best to get a professional engineer to look at it.
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Old 11-30-2016, 06:46 AM  
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Re: is an angled wall load bearing?


Roof is load bearing. A geodesic dome are all angled and they are load bearing. Your wall would be very unusual to be load bearing and that is good enough reason to be unusually cautious. You need a professional who can roughly figure out how the framing was done then open up the areas/walls to verify.
Take a roof example. The rafters may be self/other load supporting OR hanging on to the load bearing ridge beam. The beam may be a fake as well. There is no way to know unless you open it up.
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Old 11-30-2016, 11:21 AM  
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I tried searching and I understand the basic principles of load bearing walls especially this either parallel or perpendicular to the joists, but the walls are on a 45 degree angle and cross the joists but there aren't any overlapping beams or any reason I can tell that the wall could possibly be supporting. Sorry for the confusion, it's a new house to me but it was built in 2001. I'm doing inspections today I'll try to get some pictures from the attic/basement. Here's the picture from the first floor, the half-wall can obviously come out, but I wanted to cuz out that extra few feet before the stairs turn so I can add a rail.
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Old 11-30-2016, 01:04 PM  
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Re: is an angled wall load bearing?


The important issue is whether the wall supports anything such as a joist. You state that the joists cross the wall, at least I think that is what you are saying. If so, the wall may support the joists. The ONLY way to know for sure is to perform a hands on examination of the top of the wall, and the bottom of the joists, to see if they touch, and the wall is therefore supporting the joist.

You need to distinguish between structural elements such as a wall which are actually carrying load, and CANNOT be removed, versus a wall which happens to be carrying load, but CAN be removed. A wall may have been constructed as a non-load bearing wall originally, however during construction perhaps the carpenter used the wall to support one or more joists, even though this was not necessary. I have seen this in many houses, walls, beams, joists, diagonal bracing which was not originally intended to carry load (may have been a temporary support), but somehow got incorporated into the final structure as a load bearing member.

Sometimes you can figure this out by looking at the original plans, if you have them. I looked at a house a few years ago that had a load bearing wall on the first floor, whereas the plans showed a non-load bearing wall in the same place. The framers decided to use the wall to carry roof load, and they altered the framing to make it work, but of course never adjusted the plans. Pretty common. Like I said, NEVER assume the plans are accurate, and NEVER assume a wall is non-load bearing until you have visually verified that the wall is not carrying something. It is a really bad day when you knock down a wall you think is not load bearing, and part of the house drops with it.
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:51 AM  
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Re: is an angled wall load bearing?


Holy smoke. Looks like the attic hatch was converted into a passage and extra piece cut out to make the headroom. Have seen nothing like it.
I see no angled wall from the photo, but the full wall along the stairs could be under load from the ceiling joists that must criss cross around there. The bump out on the mid landing could be the central post. What's in the basement? You also need railing.

Last edited by carpdad; 12-01-2016 at 06:53 AM.
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