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Hey guys, first post here. By NO means am I a professional, and I am seeking professional help on this project, but I wanted to see what users here had to say first.

I am working on a house right now, three stories. On the third story, there are kneewalls around the outer edge of the house. They aren't continuous, there are five sections that were made storage units.

What I want to know is how can I tell if they are load bearing? The 2x4 in the middle of the kneewall makes me think that they are not, but again, I'm no professional. I am interested in making pull out beds so I can utilize the entire floor. The link below takes you to an album that shows you what I am working with.

There is a picture of the current kneewall (one of the closets), a picture of what I want to do with it, and a picture of the print of the entire floor (sorry about the sloppy annotations, someone wanted a quick readout of the dimensions).

I had someone come in already (not a licensed contractor) and they said that I should be fine as long as I do a decent job of reinforcing whatever I decide to take out. Any suggestions?

https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=82e6426bacabd1e1&resid=82E6426BACABD1E1!206&parid=root
 

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Retired Moderator
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I couldn't make out the construction from the photo--

How old is the house?
How big are the roof rafters?
Are there collar ties? (2x6 running horizontally between the rafters like a ceiling)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am not sure about the age of the house. The rafters are 2x4's. And do you mean rafter ties or collar ties? There's a difference right? Either way, there are 2x6's running horizontally.
 

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Retired carpenter
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A two-story house with a finished (at one time) attic: 2-1/2 story house.

Being that your house is over 27 feet wide and those rafters are only 2x4s, I'd say those knee walls keep your roof from sagging.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the clarification. I will double check the size on the rafters, I am almost positive they are 2x4s but I will double check. If they are 2x6s would it make any difference?
 

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Civil Engineer
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The definition of a load bearing wall is any wall that carries more than its own weight. I couldn't tell from the diagram, but from the photo those look like conventional knee walls, which carry part of the vertical load from the roof, so by definition they are load bearing. Whether or not they are necessary is a function of the size and geometry of the rafters, which I assume you are checking. For purposes of going forward, you should assume that the knee walls are both load bearing and necessary, until you get a professional opinion by a competent individual to the contrary.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hired a structural engineer. Thanks for the help guys. Probably will post more throughout the project.
 
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