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Old 02-01-2017, 03:00 PM   #1
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Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


Hi All,

So I've been looking through the forums and various youtube videos showing how to identify load bearing walls, but given its a pretty serious mistake if you do make a mistake I wanted to pass it by some of you on this forum.

So it it a closet, about 3 foot wide, and it is next to the kitchen closet about 2 feet wide. I removed the plaster/drywall for both to make some extra room for a bathroom remodel.

I am trying to look for tell tale signs that it is load bearing. The floor joists run parallel to the width of the closet(s) where all the studs are in a line there. The studs also don't even sit on one of the floor joists, there is actually a doubled up floor joist at the far wall that I am not taking down as shown in the pictures towards the back of the closet. That is where the actual wall is there and upstairs (it is a cape built in the late 50's). The ceiling joists also run parallel to the line of studs. I don't immediately see any thing its holding up above it, but I would have to remove the floor up above to see that.

I shake the 2x4s and it doesn't seem very much pressure on them at all, although some are very snug.

So this is just a closet, but I have heard a story here and there that even closets can be load bearing !? So just want to make sure before I cut out the studs. The header above what was the closet door is a doubled up 2x4 with a small 2x4 spacer on the top, so not sure if that is indicative of a load above it, or they were just doing it for code or what. Also they double up a few studs, but it seems like it may have been just for putting the drywall/plaster stuff up easier.

Please let me know what you think. Thanks
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Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170131_203135.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170131_225146.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170131_225152.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170131_225159.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170131_225214.jpg  

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Old 02-01-2017, 06:40 PM   #2
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


The smart guys (i.e. engineers and framers) are going to want to see a picture from the attic.
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Old 02-01-2017, 06:55 PM   #3
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


I agree 100% long before you did this distrution you should have been in the attic and under that area to to see if there was any load bearing supports.
Just looking at the hack job when cutting the sheetrock tells me this has to be the first time you have done this.
A simple utility knife cut at the tape line would have made a nice clean cut.
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:40 PM   #4
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


Where's Daniel Holzman when you need him?

This has to be the number one question asked here on DIYChatroom and the answer is always the same. There's no way for someone on an internet forum to tell you FOR SURE if it's load bearing or not. You really need a qualified contractor or, better yet, an engineer to take a "look see." I mean, it's your home, the biggest investment of your life. Do you want to risk damaging your home without being absolutely certain that was not a load bearing wall? Usually your locality or your county has someone on staff that's a qualified structural engineer that will look at it. I don't know the cost, but, it won't be a fortune. I mean, if it's $200 that's money well spent to make sure.
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice all. I can post some pictures from the attic portion, I just have to rip up some floorboards. Was hoping for some general, like what you usually see for this type of thing. I understand its always best to get a professional. I have put in a picture window in an exterior load bearing wall and putting in strong headers and the studs, was wondering if I need to do something similar here ie reinforcement with a beam. The drywall is not your ordinary, it is double thick and half like a gray almost concrete, with a wire mesh holding the edges together, so that would be difficult cutting with a utility knife. Any ideas on cleaning that up? Thanks guys for your suggestions thus far
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:58 PM   #6
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


That is a standard header for a non-bearing wall. Especially if the wall just behind has a doubler under it and it extends through the next floor to carry the ceiling joists above that. Just cut a couple inches of plaster/wire mesh out next to the running top plate to see if there is blocking/joist above that wall for a point load or not. You will need the extra width to add some 2x nailers to hold the drywall strip when matching the ceiling anyway.

Gary
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:54 AM   #7
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


Pull the closet ceiling out, much easier to add new drywall and have only one perimeter seam/joint to deal with. By the time you shim new drywall and tape/feather the joints, you will be most of the way in the closet area anyway. I found using a concrete roto-hammer (and wide spade bit) without the rotary app. engaged works pretty well.. then cut the wire mesh with tin snips. Frame 101 says if no framing (supporting subfloor to wall) in the joist cavity above the wall, impossible to be load bearing- since there is no material to transmit loads from above.

Basic code requirements for residential framing; "2308.8.4 Supporting bearing partitions. Bearing partitions parallel to joists shall be supported on beams, girders, doubled joists, walls or other bearing partitions. Bearing partitions perpendicular to joists shall not be offset from supporting girders, walls or partitions more than the joist depth unless such joists are of sufficient size to carry the additional load."

"Unless designed by engineering analysis, bearing partitions must be supported by other bearing partitions, beams or girders.This may be accomplished one way by continuing a bearing partition through a joist space to the lower partition, installing headers between joists that rest on the lower partition, and placing headers on top of adequately supported flooring."

"A major problem that frequently occurs is the orientation of heavy loads, such as bathtubs, parallel with the floor joists. Additional joists should be installed to support these loads (see Figure 2308.8.4)"

You might also have struts (braces) and purlins in the attic, shortening the span that used undersized rafters, or perpendicular ceiling joists bearing; in Fig. 2308.10.5, same link; http://www.ce.udel.edu/courses/CIEG4...%20-%20IBC.pdf


Daniel can/has never answered a "yes" or "no" to load bearing questions due to liability and possible license loss resulting from that.

Don't rip floorboards, the struts would be continuous through to wall with the boards around them... you have another floor above so pic would do no good; " The floor joists run parallel to the width of the closet(s) where all the studs are in a line there. The studs also don't even sit on one of the floor joists, there is actually a doubled up floor joist at the far wall that I am not taking down as shown in the pictures towards the back of the closet. That is where the actual wall is there and upstairs (it is a cape built in the late 50's). "

Gary



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Old 02-02-2017, 08:21 PM   #8
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


Thanks Gary. That makes sense to take the ceiling wall down to double check if its holding anything.

Today I took some pictures from the basement (below it) and as you can see from the 'X' which is where the main doubled up studs are from the closets, that there isn't anything it is resting on other than some floorboard.

Apparently the previous owner covered up a spot where the bottom framing of the closet, nails busted out a piece of floorboard.

Now that would definitely not be code right to have the wall sit on floor boards, would it even make sense that it is load bearing then? You can see also in my picture the doubled up floor joist for the wall behind it (the one I am not taking down).

thanks,
Floyd
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Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170202_205301.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170202_205246.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170202_205317.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170202_205446.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170202_205629.jpg  


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Old 02-03-2017, 11:47 PM   #9
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


Makes no difference if it has bearing under it or not---- only if framing is bearing ON the wall will it be "load bearing".

Gary
ps. I would can foam/caulk all wiring/plumbing holes going through your subfloor (your fire separation)...
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Old 02-04-2017, 05:29 AM   #10
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
I agree 100% long before you did this distrution you should have been in the attic and under that area to to see if there was any load bearing supports.
Just looking at the hack job when cutting the sheetrock tells me this has to be the first time you have done this.
A simple utility knife cut at the tape line would have made a nice clean cut.
That ain't no Sheetrock. My lungs are burning and my hands are bleeding just looking at that plaster and mesh.
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:51 AM   #11
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in WA View Post
Makes no difference if it has bearing under it or not---- only if framing is bearing ON the wall will it be "load bearing".

Gary
ps. I would can foam/caulk all wiring/plumbing holes going through your subfloor (your fire separation)...

Thanks for the tip, will do that. Makes sense about load bearing above, since the floor holds up all pressure above it.

I took down the ceiling part as requested, and as you can see from the photos there is like a nailer board above the studs, that is nailed into 2x4 blocking that cross between the joists. The flat nailer board ends right where the closet ends.

The joists are in there normal location as above the floor below. The only thing above the right most 2x4 studs (the ones I am wondering if they are load bearing) is that 2x4 blocking for the joists, and on the other side just the nailer (as you can see the nails going straight through it. Everything else looks like a normal floor cavity with the joists spaced apart 16" and every so often a 2x4 blocking..

Let me know what you think, and I can take more pictures if you need to see anything else.

Edit: the top two images are sideways, where the black is insulation and that's the ceiling cavity.

Floyd
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Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170209_102329.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170209_102500.jpg   Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?-20170209_102538.jpg  

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Old 02-09-2017, 03:01 PM   #12
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


Unfortunately asking online if a wall is load bearing or not is never a good idea. Pictures do help, but there are many factors that are left out of a picture. Its best to pay a guy to come out (structural engineer) to take a look. I just went through this myself.
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Old 02-09-2017, 03:24 PM   #13
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Thx for your advice. Just for others info so the only thing the studs are attached to is that 1x10 nailer. The 1x10 nailer is only attached to the blocking. The blocking is held to the joist by a couple nails on one side angled in. I find it hard to believe load would transfer on to angled in nails, but has anyone seen or heard anything like that, or think of something I could be missing...
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Old 02-10-2017, 11:38 AM   #14
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Re: Bathroom Closet Removal: Load Bearing?


So after finding it wasn't connected to much of anything, I took it down (slowly of course by cutting horizontally to see if any pressure was pushed down on the 2x4 after the cut). On each of them after cutting, the top portion just hung there, signifying to me nothing was pushing down on it, plus the ceiling didn't crack or anything . So I guess that answers my question. Thanks for all your guidance, couldn't have done it without you, especially Gary.

Floyd
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