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Old 07-23-2016, 10:05 PM   #1
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Scary Looking 30's Framing


I've been working on gutting my bedroom down to bare studs and redoing everything. The house was built in 1930 and mostly resembles a "working man's four square" style of building. From what I can tell, it's traditional balloon framing, only they added in fireblocking between floors.

As I started to tear apart one of the interior walls I saw that none of the studs were full length. The original builders apparently took two shorter studs and scabbed them together (see picture) to make them long enough.

Another weird thing about this house is that the floor joists don't run the same direction throughout the house, some run north-south and some east-west.

I'm trying to figure out if this wall is load bearing and decide what the best thing is to do. I'd thought about making the door wider in this wall.



Was this type of building common for this era? Any input is appreciated.

Josh

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Old 07-24-2016, 01:32 AM   #2
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Re: Scary Looking 30's Framing


it's an interior wall, yes? are those floor joists above? is there anything beneath the wall, foundation or support-wise? if they are floor joists above, what's the size, and total span? those questions will PROBABLY help you/us figure out if it's bearing. Also, on a personal note, my house was built in the 20s and I really love seeing how other people's old houses have weird messed up s--t too. i like the company.
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Old 07-24-2016, 01:48 AM   #3
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Re: Scary Looking 30's Framing


Just fill the short space. It's ok to rip the 2x4 so it fits in there without cleaning away the plaster. Keep the face even. Using screws least disturbs the plaster, use wood or deck screws-predrill and use 2-3 more than you would with nails. You have to be sure the 2x4 goes all the way to the foundation, then you can remove one stud and put a header in to widen the door. Anything wider than a standard door should have double studs to support a header. All studs must go to foundation or rated beam. Oscillating saw takes time but least disturbs the plaster/siding if you want to remove a stud.
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Old 07-24-2016, 11:14 AM   #4
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Re: Scary Looking 30's Framing


Oh yes, seen that lots of times, makes you want to shake your head. I remember hearing Norm from This old house once say, "They don't build'em like they used to, and thank goodness for that!"

I stripped one of the bedrooms in my house to find one whole interior wall was built using scarf jointed 2x4's. Just mitered the end of each 2x and nailed them together. I sistered each one and went on. Apparently they did not have a level or even a measuring tape, not one stud was plumb or 16" or even a uniform on center measurement, every one was different. I was able to sister some on one side and some on the other to kinda make it resemble 16" on center. Every corner was also cracked and loose because they didn't properly tie the framing together. Oh, yeah I love old houses, said I, never.
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Old 07-24-2016, 04:22 PM   #5
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Re: Scary Looking 30's Framing


Let's do the math. 86 years and still standing. It must have worked.

Now if you tear of the old lathe and plaster I would suggest full length studs sistered in since drywall does not have the the same strength as 400 small nails and lathe.
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Old 07-24-2016, 07:16 PM   #6
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Re: Scary Looking 30's Framing


Make sure to pull a string tight across those walls before sheet rocking to make sure there flat, may also have to add nailers in the corners.
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Old 07-24-2016, 10:52 PM   #7
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Re: Scary Looking 30's Framing


Well thanks for the input everyone. To answer some questions, those are floor joists above, they measure just like a modern 2x6 (1.5"x 5.5"). They span over this room about 10 feet and about 18" into the next room is where the joists change directions.

A majority of the house sits on a red brick foundation, and the wall that's in question sits directly on top of the floor joists. My basement isn't under the whole house, the area under my living room, which is the entire southwest 1/4 of the house, is just a crawl space. The picture I posted is looking towards the living room.

One exterior wall is basically ready for drywall, so I've already learned about the wavey studs these houses have. I ended up screwing 1x2s to the studs and then using a power hand planer to get them relatively straight.

I was kind of concerned about the construction, because if this is a bearing wall, the only things taking the load are the nails in shear, the 2x4s are essentially doing nothing.

I plan on doing the living room next anyway, so I may just end up reframing the whole wall so I can put in a proper header over the door. It's only a 12 ft long wall.

Thanks again.

Josh

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