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Removing part of load bearing wall?

6891 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Gary in WA
I would like to open up about third of a load bearing (we believe) wall in my finished attic. In the first pic I'd like to move 2 or 3 of those studs on the left to bump with the far left and right studs.

In this second pic, the room on the right has a flat roof, while the room on the left has a gable roof. (This is the full view of the wall from the first pic)

Would this be safe to do, and what would be the best way of moving the studs?
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You need to have beams sized for the load
Only someone with the sizing software can determine beam size
I had my beams sized at a local lumber company for free
What measurements would I need to take and what would I need to tell the lumber yard?
They need to know:

The width of the opening to span
Walls/lack of walls from the basement to the roof (above below this wall)
Which way the roof slopes in regards to the wall
Which way the ceiling & floor joists run in that area

Sounds like you are only going to have a 4'-5' opening?
They will want to know if there is a wall below this wall
Then another wall supporting that wall in the basement

Basically you will be supporting a portion of the roofs
They then calc the load
Doesn't sound like this will be that bad

Before taking the studs out you build a temp support to hold the ceiling etc up. Depending upon the load in some cases you need to build a wall on either side. All depends upon the joists/loads etc
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Is it possible that you could provide pictures of the roof lines from outside?? I sure would like to see the areas youre talking about from the exterior. Also..directly above the wall in question, do you have access to that area. I wonder if the structure was design to use your wall as bearing or is there existing support already in place? Was the flat roof an original design or a project after the fact.

In fact...if the top plate is setting into the ceiling sheet rock, then wall was built at the onset. However if the top plate sits up against the ceiling sheetrock, then I believe that it may have been built after the original roof structure was put together and it may not be bearing at all.

Everything Dave says is right on, however seeing more of the situation may take you in a different direction.

Just a thought.
I agree with CrossWorks. Pictures of exterior required. Take a hacksaw blade, slide it up at both sides of wall in question, to check for: solid backing- running with, or rafter ends- bearing wall. The closet rake ceiling shows the roof line, but the room looks like a big dormer. It may be rafters supporting the over-frame. Be safe, GBAR
I've uploaded a bunch of pics to my photo album. Theres many 2nd story interior pics and pics of the 1st story and basement main hallway in the first album and a few exterior pics in the 2nd album:
Looks to me the back shed roof dormer rafters are bearing past (on the ridge) that wall built under the ends of the ceiling joists. As Scuba Dave said - take the pics. and measurements to someone liable for their decision. Be safe, GBR
Although it's nice that you've provided all these pictures, I'm still left with having to assume the situation. It looks as though you have a 2 degree pitched roof with that shed dormer. And in that case, there apparently may not be an attic access door. So, short of going to a structural design technician, since you are in the remodeling phase and will be doing some sheet rock taping, I'd say poke a hole in the ceiling big enough to peak through and if you find that the ridge is not supported by the wall in question (with vertical supports) and or support studs are tied inot the ceiling joists from the ridge, then... IT SHOULD BE!!

I suspect that when the dormer roof was framed, they may not have supported the ridge onto the ceiling joist. If you see supports that are tied into the ceiling joist from the ridge, then it's load bearing.
So yes, based on your pictures and information, this wall WILL be load bearing if it was framed properly. If there are no supports to that ridge, I am 99% positive that the ridge will sag over time if your in an area that gets the winter snows. If you never get any snow, then the only weight is that of the roofing materials and framing. In which case, if you don't see any sag at this point and the structure is older then 10 -15 years, then if there was going to be any sagging, it would of happened by now. But in any event, if and when you open up the ceiling to take a peak and find no support, I would add a couple anyway (2- located every third mark based on the width of the dormer roof) and don't worry about the opening for the wall. I sure wish I could be there to see, all this could answered in meer moments of looking at it.

Hope I didn't throw to much at you. Looking at the drawing below, you should have support just below the ridge where you see the red lines. This indicates where bracing should be to help support that ridge over the spam that represents the width of the dormer. There are seperate red drawings there; each one shows an option. Either straight down from under the ridge to the ceiling joist or to right and at a slight angle coming down on the joist.


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Would I be able to ( safely ) keep it simple by moving the furthest left stud all the way to the left and (if needed) adding another stud to the next stud, making a ~35" opening (studs are 16" on center.)?
Usually the largest open space you can span without a header is 24"
That is using 2x6 studs & depends upon the sheathing/wall board
But for a supporting load bearing wall a header I think would be required
So 35" would be too big without a header
Things don't collapse (usually :eek: ) right away, but things start to sag over time. And you can't always judge what will be effected, The roof could twist/sag causing windows/doors not to open & shut right (worst case maybe besides collapse)

Or are you saying a header w/35" opening?
That should be fine - using a double 2x8 or better as a header
Bigger is always better. I use double 2x12's whenever possible
UBC and IRC show girder spans for interior bearing walls chart. To support one floor, building width of 36'.......

2-2x6 = 3'6"span 2-2x8 = 4'5"span 2-2x10 = 5'5"span 2-2x12 = 6'3"span From the 2003 book, use at your own risk.

And that's a floor load, way more than a roof load - unless you have snow, and snow, and snow.

I would, however, put another header on each side, under the trimmers, on the floor, going back to the next studs.. That way you can distribute the load over more floor area, not punching a hole at the bearing point. Be safe, GBR
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