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2x4 Load Bearing Wall or 2x6?

dsai's Avatar
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09-16-04, 09:34 AM   #1  
2x4 Load Bearing Wall or 2x6?

To anyone that can healp. I am adding a second story to my Cape Cod style home and an issue came up between my Architect and GC.

Currently there are 2x8 joists for the second floor which the architect speced sistering 2x10s to. There are no planned changes to the load bearing wall on the first floor which runns down themiddle of thehousemade up of 2x4s 16" oc.

The GC expressed concern that the wall was bearing a lot of weight and we should do something to strengthen it but the Architect felt the standard 2x4 construction would be fine.

I appreciate any help on this.


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Scraper4's Avatar
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09-16-04, 10:14 AM   #2  
Well, not being a professional myself....

I'd tend to lean towards the GC's opinion. He's probably the one with better "hands-on" experience in this matter.

Overall, unless there's significant plumbing/electrical/HVAC running through the wall in questions, it shouldn't cost too much to sister some additional 2x4's next to the current ones. A solution which "may" satisfy both the GC and Architect

I'd rather spend a little money and time now to avoid disasterous problems later.

Good luck with the addition!!

Ed Imeduc's Avatar

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09-16-04, 10:18 AM   #3  
We do all the time with 2X4 studs make sure you have fire stops in about the middle of them. This helps as a brace.


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09-16-04, 10:24 AM   #4  
I would get a second opinion. Have a Civil Professional Engineer come in ask him to calculate the load on that wall and can the 2x4's handle it. If I were you I would not mention the Architect/GC conflict this may or may not bias the P.E. He will be removed from the current situation and has knowledge and the pedigree (legalities and is tested and liscensed) to make this kind of call.

hope this helps,

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09-16-04, 10:59 AM   #5  
Kind of depends

It depends on the height of the wall and the load from above. It is certainly NOT uncommon for a 2 x 4 1st floor wall to carry the load from a wall above. That is assuming the 2 x 4 wall is 8' and the load is acceptable.

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09-16-04, 01:12 PM   #6  
Thanks so far

Thanks for all the replies so far. It kinda s*cks when your caught between the Architect and GC.

The wall is standard 8' high and all that's on the 2nd floor are three bedrooms 2 baths and closets. @1000 sf (25 wide 40 loing). the joists span the 25' side so each is spanning @ 12.5'

Again I appreciate everyone's input so far.

Thanks again

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09-16-04, 02:41 PM   #7  
The contractor wants to replace the wall, but didn't suggest continious blocking and shear paneling?

Listen to the architect.

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09-17-04, 01:11 PM   #8  
I'm a Contractor. Agree with architect.

There is nothing at all that should need to be done to the 2x4 wall to increase it's bearing potential.

2x4 bearing walls are used all the time for interior and exterior wall bearing with no problems.

The only time other than 2x4 wall studs are used is when there may occur the need to install ductwork, piping or conduit inside the stud spaces and a standard 2x4 wall is not wide enough.

And under the rare instance the wall would need to be beefed up, sheathing the wall with plywood on one or both sides, adding bracing and other techniques can be used without having to change the 2x4s at all.

Architect is correct.

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09-17-04, 04:31 PM   #9  
There's probably millions of houses built with 2x4 walls two storey and three storey homes. Your GC better get a reality check before he goes any further. Are you sure he is qualified to do the job? I've never once heard this before. I've framed house over the years with 2x4 walls 8' 9' and 10' It's being done every day.

We frame 2x6 walls all the time but thery're on the outside walls for insulating reasons not structural reasons. We frame two story walls out of 2x6's as a matter of fact I'm going to be framing an addition with a two story front wall that will be 2x8's as spected on the plans but they're carrying 24' 2x12 rafters that will be cathedral but this is totaly different then what you are talking about.

I wouldn't worry about a thing your 2x4 walls are just like every other house is and no problems at all. I would seriously think about how qualified your GC is to even suggest that. It's standard framing nothing more nothing less.

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