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irishwalleye

Interior load bearing walls

14 posts in this topic

Split-entry designed house. Looking to change floor plan.

How do I identify load bearing walls that should be left alone prior to even starting a project?

The only walls that I would like to remove are on the upper level of the house.

Thanks

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Take a peak in the attic and look at the roof structure.

Most houses are either rafter framed or have roof trusses.

Roof trusses typically clear span from one side of the house to the other. In this case, all interior walls should be fair game for removal.

If you have rafters, they typically are supported down the center of your house.

For your lower level, most floor joists will span to the center of the house again where you'll find either a continuous beam in the basement with columns or a bearing wall.

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Hanson, can you explain how one can tell between rafter's and trusses?

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We'll try... here's a couple diagrams that might tell the story better.

This shows typical rafter framing. Rafters were commonly used before premanufactured roof trusses took over. Rafters are individual pieces of framing.

What is very common in rafter framing is the attic floor framing (ceiling framing) has a bearing point down the middle of the house. You are never going to get a 2x8 to span 20' without major deflection problems so they would divide the span into 2 sections which creates a bearing wall down the middle of the house. The wider the house, the more chance that there are multiple bearing points since you can only work with dimensional lumber up to certain lengths.

This is much more common in older homes, like pre-1960.

You need to be very careful identifying which walls are supporting ceiling and roof structure above in houses structured like this.

rafterframing.jpg

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Now here is premanufactured wood truss framing.

All the separate roof trusses are produced in the factory as a system, shipped to the site on a truck, and lifted into place with a crane or army of strong men.

A truss has 2 bearing points, one on each end. In a residential home, this is typically the exterior walls.

Spans of 40', 45', and even out to 50' I believe are possible with trusses now.

rooftrussframing.jpg

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As a general rule on a rafter roof if the interior wall runs perpedicular to the rafters then leave it alone. If it runs parallel to the rafters then its fair game to be removed.

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Bearing walls in the lower level (if unfinished basement) usually require blocking between the studs.

another thing to look for.

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I would say hanson pretty much layed it on the table. If you fully understand that you should good to go... If you do not; definetly get some help. Your wife will thank you later!

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I guess I deal with this type of stuff daily working in the architecture field. If you don't know what you are looking for, don't attempt it yourself. If you can tell the difference between the 2 systems, at least you'll understand the feasibility of your project.

Do you know what year your house was built?

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Do what King Canada suggested, get someone out there to look at it. The possibility of someone not understanding what is being explained is too much of a risk.

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House built 1984 -- The misses and I dont like the idea of having our bedroom and the kids on separate levels especially since they are young.

I was planning on asking for professional help but am just looking at the feasability of the project before asking someone to come out.

I haven't looked in the attic yet as this is a house we will be moving into. From what I have seen so far, there is mainly one wall between two bedrooms, on the upper level of the house, that I want to remove (maybe a 10 foot span).

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