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Removing a Wall, Installing a Header


johnryan's Avatar
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02-09-11, 11:29 PM   #1  
Removing a Wall, Installing a Header

Single story home. We want to remove the wall between two rooms. Sheet rock was removed. Can we replace the wall of 2x4s and 6 ft beam with an 18ft beam, supported by a set of 2x4s on either side? Will this give the same support as the wall of 2x4s?

Here is what we have - 6 foot header over existing entryway sitting on 2x4s. Meets 12 feet of wall:





 
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Wirepuller38's Avatar
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02-10-11, 05:52 AM   #2  
Wall Removal

The photos are great.

Now, the question is: Is this a load-bearing wall?

 
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02-10-11, 07:18 AM   #3  
The first thing that needs to be done is to determine if the wall is load bearing. If it is perpendicular to the floor joists than it is load bearing. I suspect it is load bearing judging from the size of the header in your photo.

Replacing a load bearing wall will require a support beam that is engineered to provide adequate support. Usually a structural engineer will size the beam. A temporary support wall must be built to support the load until the bearing beam is in place.

 
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02-10-11, 08:11 AM   #4  
You will need to consider what is or could be above this new header and where the supports are below. I'm not an engineer, but IMO you would not want to support a load bearing header that length onto just a couple of 2x4's.

You should have an engineer decide, but I have seen headers placed above the ceiling joists in an unused attic space where the new header can be several feet longer on each or one end to find better support. That would give you a cleaner look to your renovation with a flat ceiling. The ceiling joists then get strapped up to the new header. Again, just because I have seen it, doesn't mean it is an approved method, so talk to an engineer.

This method also might allow you to put your new header in place and secure it before you remove the existing one. That avoids all of the temporary support needed for a typical replacement.

Bud

 
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02-10-11, 08:19 AM   #5  
The wall does run perpendicular to the floor joists. Are there any other signs, perhaps from an attic perspective, that would help verify that it is load bearing?

"A beam that is engineered to provide adequate support" - do you mean the size of the beam or are you referring to the support on which the new beam will sit?

That 6 ft beam is roughly 11" high and about 4-6" in depth (roughly, the depth of a wall). My thoughts were to get a beam of those dimensions but 18 feet long. Would that not be enough to support the load?

HAHA Sorry about the pics. They should be visible now...

 
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02-10-11, 08:34 AM   #6  
Wall

Does the wall run perpendicular to the ceiling joists?

 
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02-10-11, 09:25 AM   #7  
.... and the longer the span, the larger the header needs to be in order to carry the same load.


retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

 
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02-10-11, 03:24 PM   #8  
I will preface this with a warning. Get an engineer involved. He may or may not approve of what we suggest. He's the one with hands on eyes on view.
I would build two supporting walls about 2' from the existing one to hold the house up temporarily. Prepare two (or three depending on stress factors) 11 1/2" LVL beams 18' long, remove your wall and header. Install double jacks at either end of the new wall area, cut the ceiling joists back to allow the beam to sit flush with the bottom of the joists, apply joist hangers to connect the joists and the new beam. It will be sitting on your jacks at ceiling level plus 1/2", the joist hangers will hold the ceiling to the beam and you can finish the ceiling and it will be flush rather than having a beam sticking down into the room.
This is a complicated task and will take several strong people to accomplish, so get the blessings of the engineer first, then do some studying on the methods we have proposed.
IF you have trusses, all bets are off and you will need to use an exposed beam.

 
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