Balloon Framed Wall

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  #1  
Old 03-14-06, 10:59 AM
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Balloon Framed Wall

Hi! New here.

Could someone explain to me the ramifications of removing a balloon framed wall?

I have an interior wall on a one floor house that is labeled as a "Balloon Wall" on the blueprint. I am thinking that it is a balloon framed wall. The house was built in 1994 and like I said is 1 story. It does have vaulted ceilings in the great room - this balloon wall runs the full height of the vaulted ceiling and separates the dining room from the now-enclosed back porch.

we want to tear down this balloon wall and open up the whole area. We have had an architect look at the wall, the blueprint as well as go up into the attic. He said the wall was not a load-bearing wall and could come down.

I can't find anything online though, everything I've read has to do with balloon framed walls in buildings with more than one floor. I only have one floor. PLus it was very common in older houses, but this quote may apply to mine:

There are still situations, how-ever, where a variation of the balloon frame system is useful. One such situation is where the continuity of studs longer than the normal ceiling height is essen-tial to the strength of a wall. Examples include para-pet walls and eave (side) walls that must resist the
lateral thrust of a vaulted roof (as in a 11/2-story building).


Any more insight? I read that balloon framed walls have continuous studs from floor to roof and that they eliminate the need for gable-end trusses....which sounds like it is a wall you do NOT want to tear down....but again, these instances are always talking about 2 or more storied houses.

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 03-14-06, 12:23 PM
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Balloon framing is not restricted to two-story structures. When a wall exceeds one-story in height, the collar ties for the roof framing bear most of the load that tries to push out the walls. By using the ledger board inset into the wall studs (balloon framing), the ceiling joists tied to that ledger will keep the tops of the walls pulled together as well.

You have:
1. a "great room" with vaulted ceilings
2. a dining room (assumed not vaulted)
3. an enclosed back porch
I assume that the "great" room and the dining room are on one side of the balloon wall, the back porch on the other. Is that correct?

A. The ledger board in the balloon wall is what supports the roof rafters of the covered back porch.
B. The ledger board on the other side of the balloon wall supports the ceiling joists and roof above the dining room.
C. I would not expect there to be a ledger board in the balloon wall for the great room that is vaulted.

My concern would be - what's going to hold up the porch roof on the interior side if that balloon wall is removed?
 
  #3  
Old 03-14-06, 12:51 PM
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Thanks for the detailed reply.

Let me try and answer some questions.

My vaulted ceiling/pitched roof covers really "3" rooms that all open into each other: the kitchen, dining room, and living room. I drew up a quick, but poor, layout if looking directly down on my house:



The two red lines are the two walls we want to take down. That old porch was the house's old porch and shares the same roof as the house. A few years ago I had a new bigger porch added to the house and the "exterior" wall of my old porch that was screened in, has seen been enclosed and is an interior wall.

EDIT: I should not have dotted that one wall...that wall used to be a screen wall with a screen door that led from the old porch to the yard. That porch is not enclosed and that wall is no longer screened - it is a city-approved insulated and fully enclosed wall.

The dining room wall that is also the old porch wall is a balloon framed wall that goes all the way up to the height of the vaulted celieing. The other wall which faces the living room, contains a giant sliding glass door. This will be removed as well, obviously. So the idea being to tear down those two walls and create one big room.

that one kitchen wall I have drawn does not extend to the ceiling, in fact it just separates it from the living room.

You have:
1. a "great room" with vaulted ceilings
2. a dining room (assumed not vaulted)
3. an enclosed back porch


1. Yes
2. No - it is vaulted - shares the same ceiling and pitch as living room and the kitchen
3. Yes - but this was added on by me and it extends the lenght of the house. The old square back porch was enclosed by three walls and is now enclosed fully by a fourth wall.

I assume that the "great" room and the dining room are on one side of the balloon wall, the back porch on the other. Is that correct?

Not really...the balloon wall juts in between the two....

My concern would be - what's going to hold up the porch roof on the interior side if that balloon wall is removed?

Well it appears that the roof is continuous and is not supported by the balloon wall that is also the one dining room wall, nor is the sliding glass door (the door that used to lead out to the porch but now leads to an interior room) in a wall that is supporting the roof.

Does this help at all??? I'm getting confused....
 

Last edited by alb104; 03-14-06 at 01:01 PM.
  #4  
Old 03-16-06, 10:40 AM
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where are you located

some places started requiring them after Hurricane Andrew due to the fact that a lot of the houses that were lost were vaulted ceilings with regular gables that blew in.
 
  #5  
Old 03-16-06, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by A_unique_name
some places started requiring them after Hurricane Andrew due to the fact that a lot of the houses that were lost were vaulted ceilings with regular gables that blew in.
Really! Well I am in Florida, but in the Orlando area .... we weren't affected by Andrew at all up here though. But who knows....interesting!!

As an aside, I read the blueprints and for those two walls it reads:

NOTE: 2X6 BALLOON FRAME WALLS ARE NON-BEARING. DO NOT CONNECT TO TRUSSES ABOVE.

So. They aren't load bearing walls, for sure.
 
  #6  
Old 03-16-06, 01:29 PM
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I'd bet

that is why you have a balloned framed wall. It is possible to design for wind using other methods but you'll need a PE to seal it. BTW I lived in O'town for 13 years!
 
  #7  
Old 03-17-06, 04:41 PM
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alb104: I have to agree with your architect. I believe this wall to be what we call a decorator wall.
It is a ballon wall only in the sense that the wall studs were cut to length in conjunction with the rise of your vault. There should not be any problem in removing the wall. It does not appear to be holding anything up. It is only attached to the trusses to keep it upright. It is not the type of wall
required in some of the new hurricane codes. Have fun, and don't step on a nail. Good Luck.
 
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