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Old 03-30-2014, 11:17 AM   #1
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load bearing wall

I am attempting to open the wall between the kitchen & living room. I am pretty sure that the wall is load bearing. The wall runs opposite the ceiling & floor beams and is on the upper floor.

My home is a split level & this wall runs through the center of my home. Besides doorways my walls that separate all the rooms run in the middle of the home on both floors. So there is a wall of the same length running on the 1st floor the exact same length and directly under this one.

My idea is to make the 2 doorways wider on this wall and use jack posts to support the weight then build pillars around them. Will this work?
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Old 03-30-2014, 02:43 PM   #2
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You may want to consider removing the wall between the kitchen and the dining room completely, and replace with a header. I did this in our house, it really is very nice to have direct connection between the kitchen and dining room.

You can certainly make the door openings wider, you will need an appropriately sized header over each door. The posts on either side are typically constructed using a king stud (the taller one) and a jack stud (the shorter one). The jack stud supports the header. If the opening is wide enough, or local code requires it, you may need two king studs and a jack stud. That is what I used for my house, but I installed an 11 foot steel header, so there was a lot of weight on each post.

You are going to want to discuss this project with your local building inspector, and you are probably going to need a permit. Temporary support for the ceiling joists is critical, you don't want the ceiling to collapse during the project, that really messes up your day.

Your posts need to be carried down to an adequately strong structural member. In my case, there was a main beam in the basement that supported the posts. If there is not, then you may need to install a footer under each post in the basement. If you support the posts on a basement beam, it is essential that you calculate the additional load the basement beam is going to carry, since you will be adding two point loads (one for each post), and point loads create different loading than the distributed load of a wall above. Exactly how the loading changes depends entirely on the geometry of your house, and usually requires an on site visit from an engineer, unless you are capable of doing the necessary calculations.

Sometimes if all you are doing is widening a doorway, the building inspector will allow you to do the work without a PE stamped set of drawings. Not in my town, but maybe in yours. Your building inspector will tell you the rules before you start.
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