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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a wall that my wife wants to remove but I do not know if it is a load bearing wall or not. I would like to get some feedback before paying an engineer to come in. If the wall is load bearing we will leave it as is because there is not enough money in the budget to add beams, etc. However, if it is not, then we would like to get permits and pay the engineer to sign off on it and have it removed.

I have pictures but I am not sure if they will attach correctly. Please let me know if they do not.

One thing that I do know is that the main beam in the basement runs parallel with this wall and that the floor joists and ceiling joists in this area also run parallel with the wall.
 

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Without photos everything is a guess, even drawings speak volumes. As a general rule load bearing walls would run parallel to the beam near the center of house oer that beam.
 

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The topic of load bearing wall comes up a lot on this forum. A load bearing wall is any wall that carries more than its own weight. In order to determine if a wall is load bearing, it is necessary to carefully examine all the framing above the wall to see if any framing bears on the wall. Typical framing that may bear on a wall includes another wall above, floor joists, a pony wall, or diagonal framing (common in attics).

It is never possible to make an absolute determination about whether a wall is load bearing from photos alone. A hands on investigation is always necessary, and it may be necessary to open up the ceiling, or get into the attic above. You need an experienced inspector to figure this out, could be an engineer, architect, experienced carpenter, or a contractor. If the wall is NOT load bearing, you can simply remove it, of course check with your local building inspector to see if a permit is necessary. If the wall is load bearing, you will need a design for a header, supports, possibly footings for the support posts, and details of the necessary connections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I added some more pictures from before I tore the walls down. I believe this area was once entirely considered an attic. When we bought the house the room was already finished and was considered a bedroom and there was one unfinished room up there that was called the attic. The reason I believed that it was all the attic was because the room was added somewhere in the 70s or 80s when people used particle board for wall finishing. The house was built in the 30s I believe. The other reason is the staircase. The way the landing is looks just like the attic in the house that I grew up in.

I tore the plaster down because of an issue with calcimine paint on the one side and the room was particle board with a plaster swirl finish that we hated. We were originally just going to drywall everything and then decided that if the wall wasn't needed that we would remove it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I can get up there later and take a picture of the framing that is above the walls in this area if it will help.
 

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JRocket1207, particle board has never been used for Wall Framing. Masonite was used around the 1950's instead of Drywall in some areas.

That whole space is considered attic space. All you need to look at, is which way the joists run either across or along the wall you are wanting to remove.
 

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I don't think there is any way thats a load bearing wall but I'd toss in a bunch-o-collar ties first. If its in an attic there is nothing above it to bear.
 

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Also if you are keeping that old railing at the top of the stairs, it needs to be raised to 36" under today's code. You may be able to take the whole assembly to a shop or even someone that does any cabinet making, etc. and have them keep the original and just make a box for the Newel Post and make higher railings, to bring it up to code, but still keep the original style.
 

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Yes, the last picture shows the left hand corner of wall is supporting a horizontal doubled rafter, possibly from an old skylight or chimney... it runs perpendicular to the main rafters. Your rafter require furring/doubling if over-spanned. The window requires safety glazing as it is in the egress path.

Gary
 

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The topic of load bearing wall comes up a lot on this forum. ...

It is never possible to make an absolute determination about whether a wall is load bearing from photos alone. A hands on investigation is always necessary, and it may be necessary to open up the ceiling, or get into the attic above. You need an experienced inspector to figure this out, could be an engineer, architect, experienced carpenter, or a contractor.

Listen to this man
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Also if you are keeping that old railing at the top of the stairs, it needs to be raised to 36" under today's code. You may be able to take the whole assembly to a shop or even someone that does any cabinet making, etc. and have them keep the original and just make a box for the Newel Post and make higher railings, to bring it up to code, but still keep the original style.
I was actually thinking to remove the railing and just put a framed "box" with a top plate there because I didn't want the rails so I will keep this in consideration when doing so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When I said particle board for wall framing I meant to say wall finishing. It was definitely particle board that I tore out of that one room. I added some more pictures including the outside of the house.

Now my concern is that if that is a load bearing wall then it does not seem very well put together. Most of the wall is not even in contact with either of the joists above. That was one reason I was thinking that it couldn't be a load bearing wall because it barely looked like it was attached.
 

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The topic of load bearing wall comes up a lot on this forum. A load bearing wall is any wall that carries more than its own weight. In order to determine if a wall is load bearing, it is necessary to carefully examine all the framing above the wall to see if any framing bears on the wall. Typical framing that may bear on a wall includes another wall above, floor joists, a pony wall, or diagonal framing (common in attics).

It is never possible to make an absolute determination about whether a wall is load bearing from photos alone. A hands on investigation is always necessary, and it may be necessary to open up the ceiling, or get into the attic above. You need an experienced inspector to figure this out, could be an engineer, architect, experienced carpenter, or a contractor. If the wall is NOT load bearing, you can simply remove it, of course check with your local building inspector to see if a permit is necessary. If the wall is load bearing, you will need a design for a header, supports, possibly footings for the support posts, and details of the necessary connections.
Exactly. It is not worth accidentally removing a structural wall! Get an opinion from somebody who knows what they're doing and maybe even has insurance. If it is a contractor rather than an engineer, architect, or experienced carpenter, make very sure that it's a *good* contractor. Ask for references from cases where he has removed walls, for example. Call the references and make sure the buildings are still standing and the space where the wall was removed is not sagging...
 

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That wall is carrying the doubler I mentioned. The doubler is carrying 1/2 the front dormer roof, including the valley (which is sagging, per picture). Hire a SE for the liability alone.

Gary
 

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I was actually thinking to remove the railing and just put a framed "box" with a top plate there because I didn't want the rails so I will keep this in consideration when doing so.
There is always a market for the older stuff. If you have any salvage places around, take it there.
 
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