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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    27

    Default Load bearing wall???

    I read in a DIY book that a load bearing wall would have a double 2x4 at the top. Would the 1st 2x4 be up in the ceiling (hidden) and the other below the ceiling (visible)? I'm tearing out a wall but can't tell if it is a load bearing wall or not. I'm guessing it's not. But want to make sure. It is an opening from the living rm to the kitchen. Looks like a previous owner had cut about 4 of the 2x4 supports out of it and then built two small counters on each end of the opening. There was alot of extra wood nailed in, lots of 2x2's up near the ceiling and along the sides of the 2x4's. Just kind of all over the place. I tore out the counters and opened the whole thing up. The house is only about 24' x 22'. I'm assuming it would still have load bearing walls in it??? I'm guessing one is the living room wall and maybe the other is the bedroom wall? What's your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Needham, MA
    Posts
    559

    Default Re: Load bearing wall???

    load bearing walls do usually have a double top plate but not always, could depend on how old the house is and how it was built. the ceiling joists, i assume this is a ranch house, rest on top of the upper plate, then there's 3/4" strapping attached to the bottom of the ceiling joists and probably 1/2" blueboard. so if you were to open the wall where it meets the ceiling you should see a full 2x4 on the flat and maybe just a 1/4" or so of the one above it. from the dimensions of your house i would guess that the house is 22' deep and 24' across the front. that would mean that (probably) the load bearing wall would run from left to right (looking at the front of the house) roughly down the middle somewhere between 10'-12' from the front of the house or 10'-12' from the back. if it is a load bearing wall you should make sure it has been headed off properly. if it's not, you can eventually get a sag in the area where you opened up the wall and be looking at a larger expense when it comes time to fix the problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Load bearing wall???

    Also,

    Another way to tell if the wall is load bearing is to look for the load. What is above this wall? Is there attic space? Is there another wall above this one? Are there rafters resting on the wall or ceiling joists above? Are there ceiling joists resting on this wall?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Load bearing wall???

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    Also,

    Another way to tell if the wall is load bearing is to look for the load. What is above this wall? Is there attic space? Is there another wall above this one? Are there rafters resting on the wall or ceiling joists above? Are there ceiling joists resting on this wall?
    There is attic space above the wall, filled with blown in insulation, no storage space that I know of. The rest I'm not sure of. I'm guessing there are ceiling joists above it. I noticed yesterday that there is a 2x4 somewhat level with the ceiling drywall in the bathroom. I know that the previous owner moved that wall out into the bedroom to make the bathroom bigger. There is a shower stall installed in that area now. I'm wondering if that was a load bearing wall. The new owner said he noticed a sag in the roof. I haven't really stopped to look where it is from outside. It's snow covered right now. This is a summer cottage built I think in the 60's. Most of them have been turned into year round homes. They are all basically the same, about 22' wide (entry door located here) and 24' deep (the side the gutters would hang from), a kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms and a bath. Alot of them have had the floor plans changed. Mine was opened up all the way across the 22" side and I have a badly sagging roof in that area on the north side. I'm guessing part of my load bearing walls were removed. Heres's some pics of the side counters I removed on the wall in question. Not sure if it helps or not.
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    Last edited by victorian; 01-25-2011 at 08:19 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Load bearing wall???

    The sagging roof is something that needs to be remedied and may be a symptom of a previous owner taking out a load bearing wall that was necessary in order to open up the space below. The additional snow weight isn't helping your structure any, either.

    Here are a couple things to look at to help determine if it is load bearing.

    Do you have roof trusses that span the 22' or do you have rafters from your side wall to the peak?
    If the wall runs parallel to the ceiling joists it is likely not load bearing since the wall would only be under one ceiling joist. However, if there is a main beam in the center of the 22' span that the ceiling joists hang off / or sit on top of then even though the wall is parallel with the ceiling joist it may be supporting the main beam.
    If the wall runs perpendicular to the ceiling joists then it is more likely a weight bearing wall.
    When they "opened" up the space in your home, which direction relative to the ceiling joists were the walls they took out and did they replace them with appropriately sized headers to span the opening?

    Do you have access to the attic space to see if a cause for the sag can be determined from under the roof?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Load bearing wall???

    Quote Originally Posted by bp21901 View Post
    The sagging roof is something that needs to be remedied and may be a symptom of a previous owner taking out a load bearing wall that was necessary in order to open up the space below. The additional snow weight isn't helping your structure any, either.

    Here are a couple things to look at to help determine if it is load bearing.

    Do you have roof trusses that span the 22' or do you have rafters from your side wall to the peak?
    If the wall runs parallel to the ceiling joists it is likely not load bearing since the wall would only be under one ceiling joist. However, if there is a main beam in the center of the 22' span that the ceiling joists hang off / or sit on top of then even though the wall is parallel with the ceiling joist it may be supporting the main beam.
    If the wall runs perpendicular to the ceiling joists then it is more likely a weight bearing wall.
    When they "opened" up the space in your home, which direction relative to the ceiling joists were the walls they took out and did they replace them with appropriately sized headers to span the opening?

    Do you have access to the attic space to see if a cause for the sag can be determined from under the roof?
    Would the ceiling and the floor joists run the same way? I know which way the floor joists are running (the 24' length)in my house. In my house the ceiling was removed and made into a vaulted ceiling. The neighbor vaulted the ceiling in his living room too but didn't go all the way across like mine. Would that indicate if its trusses or rafters?

    I think the attic is stuffed full of insulation. The owner said they blew it in. I did find what looks like water or fire damage up in the ceiling. It was hidden by some drywall where they had made the ceiling come down a couple inches. I was wondering why it was like that and tore it off and found it. It's right by the old space heater pipe. Theres some wood boards hanging down in there. And it looks like burnt insulation.

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