Lally Columns and Load Bearing Wall?

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  #1  
Old 07-08-19, 12:01 PM
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Lally Columns and Load Bearing Wall?

I have a beam stretching across my basement that is held up via lally columns. Beneath one section (8ft), I have a wall framed with 2x4's that I would like to remove. On one side of the section that I would like to remove there is a lally column. I was expecting another one on the other side since that would roughly match the distance between other columns on the same beam. When I cut into the drywall it wasn't there and is instead a few feet further away (probably because of the stairs).

Should I have any concerns about it being load bearing or is the existence of lally columns and the fact that it's only 2x4's be enough evidence that it isn't. My biggest concern is that the lally columns are spaced 8ft apart except this section which is closer to 10ft.
 
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Old 07-08-19, 12:40 PM
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What is the beam made out of, multiple 2x12's ?
What is above that beam?

Bud
 
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Old 07-09-19, 09:27 AM
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It's 4 2x10's and runs 52 feet. The lally columns are all random distances apart. From left to right, the gaps go 8ft, 15ft, 9ft, 4ft, 5ft, 6ft. The 15 foot gap is the one I'm looking at. The top of the stairs heading down to the basement is right in the middle of the 15 feet. I don't have the final blue prints, but a previous version shows lally columns every 8ft which would have put one right below the stairs. It's not there due to a closet and I poked some holes in the drywall to verify that there isn't on on either side.

As for what is above the beam, that part of the house is a basic colonial. Above the actual beam is another wall which I assume is load bearing. Above the span I'm looking at, there is a 8ft entryway into the dining room. One of the sides of that entryway comes down towards the middle of the 15ft span.

The wall is 2x4's and the top plate is also just a single 2x4.

Thank for the help.
 

Last edited by marcdd453; 07-09-19 at 09:48 AM.
  #4  
Old 07-09-19, 11:29 AM
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Boy, you have a tough one to call. Many of the clues I go to to determine load bearing could go either way in your case.

If you look at your floor is there any indication of footers? Are there any other beams attached to your main beam in the 8' wall section?

2x4's are common for load bearing and non load bearing walls so that doesn't help you determine if the wall is structural or not. More telling might be the 2x4 wall (3 1/2" wide) is under a four layer beam (6" wide). Normally if it's structural the support underneath the beam would be the full width of the beam but that is not always the case. Often if you see a double top plate that indicates load bearing but it's not needed under a beam so seeing a single top plate doesn't help much either.

As a total stranger on the Internet who knows nothing of structures and has never seen your home I'm 75% that is not load bearing. I think that because the 8' section/span should be super easy for the beam to support unless you have a pet elephant in the room above.

Sometimes the columns are placed where there are splices in the beam which might explain the odd spacing.
 
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Old 07-09-19, 02:37 PM
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I haven't seen any indication that there are footers bellow the wall, but don't really know what I would be looking for. Slightly different color concrete or slightly raised?

The differential in widths (3.5in vs 6in) gave me an idea. When I get home, I'm will take a look to see how the wall is situated on the beam. I'm assuming that any load bearing wall will be centered under the beam, whereas a curtain wall may be shifted to sit flush with the edge of the beam for a cleaner appearance on one side. Is that a good assumption?

Also, if I were to put a post in the middle of the 15 span I can hide it in the wall no problem, but if I did, I would need to add a footer, correct?
 
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Old 07-09-19, 03:47 PM
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Any load bearing wall, post or column should have a footer under it. I have many repairs and amateur projects where columns were added to a basement slab without problem but to be proper there should be a footer.
 
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Old 07-10-19, 03:23 AM
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If it were me, I'd rent a SDS rotary hammer with a 1/2" bit and drill thru the slab next to the wall and away from the stair by at least a couple feet. If the bit breaks thru in 4" to 6", you know there's no footing and the wall is nonbearing. Do the same thing where you think a column should be and see when you break through; if you go 8" or more, probably a footing there and you can add a column.

Around here a 4 hour rental is about $40, cheap insurance. My guess is that if the beam is continuous, the wall is nonbearing. BUT, 15' is a pretty healthy span (although I have no clue on the loads on the beam) and I wouldn't want to take a chance.
 
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  #8  
Old 07-10-19, 08:40 AM
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Thanks everyone.

I cut so many holes in the drywall that I decided it made more sense to take it all down since it will be easier to just put up two new sheets. I did discover that two of the studs are double 2x4's which I hadn't noticed with just the holes in the wall. so over the span it's Lally<---17in--->2x4<---17in-->double 2x4<---17in-->single 2x4<---17in-->double 2x4<---17in-->double 2x4.

One other oddity, there is electricity on the wall and the wire comes through the top plate dead center so they either drilled a hole in the beam or routed out a channel on top of the plate. I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but I was surprised and curious if it meant anything. .

The drill seems like a good idea that will let me know either way. If there isn't a footing, then I should be safe to take down the wall and if there is then I just replace the last double 2x4 studd with a column to make it Lally-->2x4<---55.5in-->2x4-->Lally
 
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Old 07-10-19, 01:22 PM
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Quick question. I basically have two possibilities. The wall is load bearing and has a footer. The wall is not load bearing and doesn't have a footer. If I just say screw it and add a column then the situation will be either:
  1. The wall was load bearing and the column is now properly supporting the load on footer
  2. The wall was not load bearing and now I have a pointless column holding up my wall, but it's buried in the wall so I don't really care.

Any reason why adding a column w/o footer would be problematic if the beam is already sufficiently supported elsewhere?
 
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Old 07-10-19, 02:32 PM
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The question is not if the columns elsewhere are adequately supported by a footing (which we assume they are), it's whether the beam is adequately designed to span 15' without a column. If you add a column and just support it on a floor slab, it MIGHT be OK, IF the ground under the slab is adequately compacted and has adequate soil bearing capacity. In my experience, 4-2x10 beam spanning 15' sounds under-designed; but again, I don't know what kind of loads the beam is carrying.
 
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