Load Bearing Walls?


Old 11-19-99, 03:17 PM
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I removed a half wall between two rooms. I would like to remove the posts that go from ceiling to floor to create one big room but I am not sure if they are load bearing. They do not appear to be attached to the foundation very well if at all. They are 4 x 4 studs that attached to a 2 x 4 at the bottom. Is there a way to look in the attic to see if they are load bearing? The distance between walls is about 26 feet with these posts being about 12 feet from one of the walls.

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Old 11-19-99, 03:18 PM
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If the posts appear that they support some sort of girder or beam with joists attached to that beam then the posts must remain. However, if you can see in the attic that the framing members supporting the floor above have an uninterrupted span between the two walls, then the posts are non load bearing. The load is being carried by the two outside walls.
Old 11-19-99, 03:19 PM
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James is correct. However, you did not mention what the two rooms were before you opened them up. Most codes require that all bedroom door walls, kitchen doorway walls, and bathroom walls and any interior dividing walls be load bearing. Good Luck
Jack the Contractor [email protected]
Old 11-19-99, 03:20 PM
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To Jack the Contractor

Unless you are in a severe earthquake zone the only walls that must be load bearing are the ones actually carrying the ceiling joists. I have never seen a code require specific walls to be load bearing as you describe.

You can usually determine a load bearing wall by inspecting for columns/posts and footings in the crawl space or basement, and by checking where ceiling joist ends overlap a wall below in the attic.
Old 12-08-99, 07:25 AM
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Christine: Just saw your reply. I have been building homes for many years. I have built over 3000 homes, and I can assure you that the bearing walls in a home are just where I indicated they would be. The unified building code very clearly spells them out. Jack the Contractor
Old 12-08-99, 10:17 PM
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If yours is a newer home, a quick look into the attic should determine if it is built with roof trusses or conventional framing. Roof trusses have 2x4 "webs", usually in the shape of a "W" with perforated metal plates at all the connections. If by chance your house has roof trusses, they are generally "free spanning" and only need support on the exterior walls. If in doubt, you might be able to get a local home inspector to look at it for you. I understand your wanting to achieve that "open" feeling... the space is nice!
Proceed with caution!
Old 12-13-99, 01:12 PM
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If your house is a single story house and the ceiling of
the room in question is common with the lower cord on
the roof trusses, then you could probably remove the walls.
(But, have it inspected by an expert first to be sure it
is alright.) If the room in question is in the basement or
if there is another floor above it, it most likely has a
load bearing wall. In this case you should install a
laminated beam in the area where the wall has already been
removed. Again, contact your local builiding official for
code compliance on this. The fact that you encountered a
4x4 tells me that it is probably a load bearing wall.

Clifford A. Olson, Home Inspector
AC Home Inspector - *Free* ezine
[email protected] Subject=DIY
or go to http://www.caolson.com/ac-home-inspector/
Old 08-23-04, 09:10 AM
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Question to Jack

James is correct. However, you did not mention what the two rooms were before you opened them up. Most codes require that all bedroom door walls, kitchen doorway walls, and bathroom walls and any interior dividing walls be load bearing. Good Luck
Jack the Contractor [email protected]
Jack - I just remove a wall between my kitchen and lving room the wall run parallel to the joist which in trun is perpendicular to the beam (paralell to the ridge line -which is where all the supports are under the basement. When I first remove the lat and cement from this 5 ft span wall, I noticed the 2 X 4 studs are not even centered to the joist on the ceiling, therefore was not load bearing, plus the studs does not carry weight on them eveidence by when I shake them theres no weight. Will I have problems with this? I am planning to attach two cabinets from the ceiling joist which will also have an exhaust hood fan. Thanks for your reply
Old 09-20-04, 10:26 AM
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Removing section of the wall

I just bought a condo in a high rise building in NJ. Wanted to remove part of the kitchen wall and replace the area with an eat-in counter.
Got the idea from another condo sold in the building. I'm not sure if it is a load bearing wall, but according to the floorplan, there is a 2' X 2' beam at the corner of the wall. From the doorway to the beam is roughly 5 - 6' wide of the wall I want to demolish. In this wall, there is a phone jack, 2 outlets, and a light switch.

Thanks for your help in advance. I'm trying to save some money and "do it yourself".

1. Can the owner request the permit?
2. Can I do it myself? Or does this job require a license contractor?
3. What does an inspector look for in this instance?

This is probably a stupid question. I read that if you are working on less than 25% of the wall area, a permit is not required. So, if I remove 25% today, and another 25% a year later. Can I get in trouble for that?


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