Is this wall load-bearing?

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Old 11-02-15, 04:51 PM
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Is this wall load-bearing?

We are remodeling our kitchen. Part of the plan has us removing the wall that is currently between our kitchen and dining room. I've been convinced that it isn't load bearing based on the fact that it runs perpendicular to the floor joists and roof trusses.

Crude computer diagram is below. The kitchen is the room in the NE corner, the dining room is in the SE corner, and the family room is on the west side. This part of the house is single story with a full basement underneath. Trusses and joists run east-to-west. To the north of this part of the house is a two-story section with crawl space underneath, main floor of each section offset by two steps. (i.e. the first floor of the two-story section is two steps lower than the main floor of the one-story section).

The opening represented by A is a non-wall that opens into the living room on the main floor of the two-story section. The B opening is an open doorway between the kitchen and dining room. The C opening is a wide open doorway.

A couple of days ago I tore down the upper cabinet bulkhead that was on the west wall of the kitchen. One end of it went right up to the wall that we want to remove. I was then able to take a closer look at the arrangement of these two stud walls at that corner and noticed something that is making me wonder if I'm wrong in thinking that B is a non-load-bearing wall.

In the picture below, the wall on the left side of the picture is B and the wall on the right side is C. It's the SW corner of the kitchen currently. The trusses are sitting on top of the two 2x4s at the top of wall C. (You can see part of one truss in the far upper-right corner of the picture.) Wall B also has two 2x4s on top of it, as well as two more 2x4s (arranged side by side, straddling the top of the two stacked 2x4s).

So here's the part that's making me pause - the upper 2x4 of the two stacked 2x4s on top of wall B extends over wall C. The upper 2x4 of wall C stops at wall B, and presumably picks up again on the other side. The two side-by-side 2x4s on top of wall B extend over wall C as well. Does this in any way mean that wall B is load-bearing?

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Old 11-02-15, 05:18 PM
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I've been convinced that it isn't load bearing based on the fact that it runs perpendicular to the floor joists and roof trusses.
I can't & I doubt that anyone else here can tell you for sure if the wall is load bearing or not. I would suggest that you hire someone, to advise you, one way or another.
 
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Old 11-02-15, 05:22 PM
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If the wall you want to remove is going in the same direction as the roof and floor trusses, it is not load bearing.

The double top plate extending on to the other wall is simply a better building practice for joining perpendicular walls.

Now having said that, it is possible the wall you want to remove is acting as a shear wall to provide lateral support to the center of the house.
 
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Old 11-02-15, 08:22 PM
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Any tips for finding someone reputable in our area if we want to have it inspected in person?
 
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Old 11-03-15, 03:42 AM
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Top plates are overlapped to better tie one wall section into the other wall section as Keith has mentioned. The third 2x4 on top of that is acting as a nailing surface to attach drywall. It has no impact on the wall at all and its only function is to hold up the ceiling.

Can you pull back and provide a wider shot of the area that includes more ceiling joists/trusses. If they are trusses then it will be easier to answer your question for sure. A shot from inside the attic would also tell us about the roof system.
 
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Old 11-03-15, 12:20 PM
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Can you pull back and provide a wider shot of the area that includes more ceiling joists/trusses. If they are trusses then it will be easier to answer your question for sure. A shot from inside the attic would also tell us about the roof system.
I can't provide much of a wider shot from the main floor, but I can from the attic, although there's so much insulation piled up in there now I'm not sure how much you'll be able to see. I started scooping the insulation out of the upper kitchen cabinet bulkheads on Saturday and it seems like it's just about doubled in size now that it's been stirred up/disturbed. There's large hills of it over the kitchen and west room now. I'll climb up there tonight and take a couple pictures and post them. I can also show some more of the top of wall C where I removed the cabinet bulkhead.
 
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Old 11-05-15, 08:10 PM
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Here are some more pictures of the surrounding area.

In this one, wall C is shown on the right and wall B is on the left.
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Wall C where it juts out a bit and then continues between B and A.
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Truss area over wall B. The two white electrical cables in the center of the picture are on top of the side-by-side 2x4s that are on top of wall B.
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Upper truss area.
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Old 11-05-15, 08:19 PM
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Yeah, I am going to say that it is not load bearing based on these pictures.
 
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Old 11-16-15, 02:17 PM
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The pictures below show a vertical 2x4 that is attached to a truss base at one end and a peak truss plate at the top. Unfortunately, the bottom of the 2x4 extends into the new ceiling area, as you can see by the length that shows beneath the truss base in one of the pictures. Is there any reason it would be a bad idea for me to take a recip saw to this extra length and trim it off?

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Old 11-16-15, 02:27 PM
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There is no issue at all with trimming it to be flush with the bottom of the joist.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 10:53 AM
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Now having said that, it is possible the wall you want to remove is acting as a shear wall to provide lateral support to the center of the house.
I've been trying to figure out our options here. I've done a bit of online reading regarding the theory behind shear walls, which was interesting reading, but it didn't help me determine if our wall is providing needed lateral support. I've contacted a couple of engineering firms in our area to see what it would cost to have them come out and answer the question for us and the most affordable quote is $375. We are unfortunately on a rather tight budget for this remodel.

If we assume for the sake of discussion that the wall is providing needed lateral support to the center of the house, is it the type of situation that we could likely remedy by installing a ceiling-level beam in place of the wall? If so, wondering if it might be more cost-effective to just go with the beam option just in case it is needed, rather than paying the fee to find out if it is needed, and then paying for the beam as well.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 11:18 AM
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What are the dimensions of the house? Unless the length of the house is more than 30 feet or so, it is very unlikely removing this wall will have any impact on lateral support. You can still remove the wall and retain any lateral support it may be providing by putting in continuos diaganal bracing along the tops of the ceiling joists.

Considering the roof system is a trussed design with plywood sheathing, it is very doubtful this wall is doing anything structually to the house.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 12:19 PM
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This section of the house is 22' x 26'. The load-bearing wall runs parallel to the 22' sides. The adjoining two-story, offset half of the house is 24' x 26'.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 08:34 PM
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I see no reason that wall cannot be taken down.
 
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Old 11-23-15, 02:47 PM
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What's the preferred way of taking down this wall? I'm really wondering about the two side-by-side 2x4s that were put on top of the wall for attaching the drywall. Should I try to keep those intact and just remove the wall that's underneath them? I'm thinking they'd likely have a pretty significant amount of flex in them with them only supported/attached at each end. If I do remove them, then I need to figure out how to patch the ceiling where the wall is being removed. Space wood blocks perpendicular between the ceiling joists on either side of the ceiling gap and attach the new drywall sections to those wood blocks?
 
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Old 11-24-15, 12:33 PM
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The preferred way to remove a wall? A sledgehammer and wrecking bar

Yes, remove everything from the old wall and patch the ceiling as you have suggested.
 
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