Cut out of load bearing wall

I have very little experience with construction and am looking for help to determine options for changing a load bearing wall. We have a large unfinished basement room (upper is 1 level rancher). The wall in question is 19'6\" (unfinished on one side, finished on the other) and we believe this to be load bearing as it is bolted to the concrete and we can see joist ends on the unfinished side. Initially I wanted to remove about 8' of this wall (mid-span)to create an opening into the finished area (back side of this wall). After consulting with a few people we believe that an opening on this wall will require an engineer's report as well as a great deal of reinforcement of side beams and headers (forgive my terminology - I said I was not construction savvy). Our budget is very tight and we were thinking that perhaps we alter the plan to have a simple 4' opening. If my math is correct a 4' opening would only effect 2 joists bearing weight on this wall. Would this have much if any bearing on this wall if we were to remove only this 4' section? Would it only require some additional 2\"x6\" and header beams? Thank you to anyone who has some knowledge or comments on this issue.
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When removing a load bearing wall it is possible to put a header in the area where the studs will be removed. the header can be under the upper joists in the wall below supported by cripple and king stud/studs, or, in line with the upper joists and use of joist hangers to attach the cut joist to the beam. In this case, either direction, the weight is being directed to a specific area of the floor and not over a distance on the floor as the od studs were supporting. If the foundation under the wall/king stud/studs is sufficient, the header idea would work. The smaller the opening the smaller the header the less demand on the area of the floor where the king stud is. Usually a load bearing wall has a suffient footing under it to handle a simple smaller header to take the place of the studs it is replacing. If one were to remove the entire wall and replace it with a header a serious look at the floor and footing would need to be addressed. No one knows what the esisting wall is comprised of. It could just be a 4" slab? It could be a 4" slab with a footing poured under it. Using Simpson epoxy bolted metal ties (PH1 or PH2 or PH5)to the king studs and the sill plate is a good direction and also strapping beam to plate and studs on upper connection If a person had old house plans that would help. Also a person could drill with a masonary bit to see the concrete thickness in the area of support. An engineer would do this, or specify that additional support was needed (i.e. concrete pad) under new support area. I do not want to discourage your construction though. Many would sneak a smaller header in, say a 4' length, and be done with it. A 4x12........ Good wishes. jloomisconstruction.com

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*Most of the load bearing walls in the basements that I have seen have steel columns in them that were originally installed by the builder to carry the load above. Any wood framing in between the columns were just for finishing the wall. If you have steel columns, you may be able to remove any wood framing in between without having to worry about resupporting the load above. It would be best though to consult with an engineer or architect or even a contractor to confirm what can be done.
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