Open up a doorway on a load-bearing wall

Old 12-14-04, 02:08 PM
Big Country
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Open up a doorway on a load-bearing wall

I want to open up a 30" doorway on a load-bearing wall to at least three times the size. If anyone has done this before, please advise me on things to watch for, or any problems you may have run into doing something similar. This doorway connects our kitchen and family room and the wall is about 5" thick covered with drywall. Suggestions on how the framing for the new entrance way should be would also be welcome.
Old 12-15-04, 11:26 AM
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opening new door

Simple job for a diy'er lmao

First off you may want to consult a structural engineer to ensure the existing load can be handled over that span!

I have had to replace a wood beam in a basement due to buggy problems, the job is slow and patience is a must.

To tackle this I would remove the existing drywall to the point you want to go to. You will probably have to remove existing electrical. If I was doing the job I would use a laminated beam the width of the walls (they sound to be 2x6) and the height recommended by the engineer (may be different than the existing door). I would then build a temporary wall on at least one side of the existing wall. In the basement I repaired we built on wall on both sides using 2x4. once the temp walls are in place I would remove the existing wall put up the lam beam and use triple jacks at each end (when you open the ends and order the beam up keep in mind that you will use the triple jacks at each end ie 4.5 inches each side.)

You will probably have to tear out the existing door opening as you will want the beam (or triple 2x) to continue through the entire span.

Remember to add the 4.5 inches on each end for the triples (it would suck to be 9" smaller than your intended opening)

If you decide to go with a triple beam choose your wood with as little crown as possible and then make sure to put crown facing up toward the 2nd floor joists (sucks to have a sag in the second floor)

prepare for possible drywall crack on the second floor when load shifts

drywall will have to be repaired where you build the temp walls

when you build the temp walls place the studs directly under the 2nd floor joists with both a top and bottom plate.

Think I covered most of it... and am sure you will get further input

good luck
Old 12-18-04, 07:52 AM
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temp beam

A quicker way to temporarily support the wall is with a temporary beam and a couple teleposts(ceiling jacks) which you can rent quite cheaply. The temp beam could be 3 2xs nailed together depending on the load. It doesn't have to be quite as heavy as the permanent beam because you can put the jacks a couple feet in from the end of the span to distribute the load more evenly. I would suggest 2x8's 0r 2x10's would be plenty, unless your holding up two stories and a couple feet of wet snow. Consult an engineer to be sure. I usually place the beam about 2 feet away from the wall to give room to work. This method doesn't typically cause any damage to the ceiling. When you open up the wall make sure you leave the double top plate in tact, and any nails that are sticking out should be cut off NOT pound in. You can also make your own laminated beam with 2 2xs and a piece of 1/2" plywood in between glued and screwed together. The engineer won't tell you this, but you are a do-it-yourselfer after all, right?. A load span chart will give you a good idea of how heavy the beam should be and if it says two 2x8 are enough then use 2x10's to be safe and laminate them. Good luck.

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