Load bearing or not?


I want to install a pocket door in the framing on one side of my basement steps but am not sure if the wall is load bearing or not. The framing on the side of the steps has a vertical stud every 16 inches. There is a double joist that runs along the top of the step wall studs. I want to turn two of the studs sideways to make room for the door. Anyone see any problems with this? Thanks John
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I can't see anything at all. From the doubled joist it is possible that the wall is not doing any real structural work, but I can't make that call without seeing the situation.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

I'll second that- we can't see your house from here. The doubled joist sounds like the edge of the stairwell opening in the floor system, and there are about eleventeen different ways that load may be directed downward. You really need an on-site consult from, at a minimum, an experienced framing carpenter. We can probably take some better guesses if you can post links to some pictures showing the spot from all directions, and showing where the nearest steel columns are in the basement. We will want to see both ends of that doubled joist.
-- aem sends...
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wrote:

The first step is to look at the joists over this wall and see if they are being carried some other way. If the ends are over this wall it is load bearing. That may not be all you need to look at but it is a start.
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On Aug 23, 12:36 am, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I agree with AEM. You need someone experienced to take a look at it. Without even a pic, no one here can tell you what is or isn't load bearing. Even with some pics, I wouldn't feel comfortable giving or taking a solution based on that.
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Heres a few pics of the wall Im talking about. I pointed out a few of the studs I need to turn. The double joist at the top runs from the I beam in the middle of the room to the cinder block wall. The other side of the steps is dry walled but has the same set of double joists at this side. Thanks for any help. John
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll115/jrv331/pic1.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll115/jrv331/pic2.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll115/jrv331/pic3.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll115/jrv331/pic4.jpg
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wrote:

Based on the fact that your joists are parallel to this wall and there is no blocking in the wall, my guess is not load bearing. You still need to look above this to be sure what is up there. Another wall directly above this one might suggest down load. If you are going to put the studs back, you could shore it up, cut them out, put them back turned and remove the shoring.
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On Aug 23, 1:34 pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I don't know, I'm not so sure. The fact that the joist above it is doubled clearly indicates that doubled joist is carrying some significant weight from above. The studs that are there now are part of that overall support structure. Whether there is still sufficient strength from the doubled joist being only supported on both ends is questionable.
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On Sat, 23 Aug 2008 11:21:43 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The doubled joist is because there is a stairway there. You are missing a joist or two where the steps are..
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

It's a header over the shelf area. You can see where two studs have been removed to provide clear access to the shelves. So they ran the header piece from post to post. I bet it's nailed/bolted more over that free span. How about taking a look and letting us know if that is so?
As gfretw pointed out, studs will bow under a great weight, so there would be blocking between the studs to prevent that - *if* the doubling meant what you are thinking it means.
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I don't think so. The OP clearly stated that the "joist" is a double joist, running from the block wall to the center beam of the house. That doubled joist is ABOVE those 2x4 headers that you're talking about. And it could be carrying a large load from the floors above. How large or how important those studs in the wall are in helping support that load, we don't know.
Also, your observation about the removed studs for the access to the area under the stairs is interesting. Why did they use doubled up vertical studs on either side of the larger opening? If those studs that he's proposing to remove aren't part of a load bearing wall, there would be no need to double up the header, double up the stud at the larger span where the opening for under the stairs is. If they aren't bearing load from the double upped joist above, they are only there to hold the sheetrock on the other side and there would be no need to double them up when spanniing the opening.
I bet it's nailed/bolted more over that free span. How

Well, I wasn't going to mention it before, because I didn't want to go down that rat hole. But if you look at the photos, it seems to me that some studs do look slightly bowed.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:
...

...
The double joists support (I suspect, but it's not been confirmed what's above the floor which has been asked but not answered) the wall alongside the stairs upstairs I believe.
The wall in question just looks like a fill-in wall w/ a double top plate most likely done after the initial construction when the basement other side of the stairs was finished. The double plate is most likely not structural but simply there for nailing surface for a moulding at the ceiling if I had to hazard a guess.
The question to OP is, are you going to remove the studs or simply turn them 90-degrees? If the latter, they're still there anyway.
There's simply too much unknown to tell for absolute certainty but my hunch is "no" to the question...
But, you really should probably get a real opinion if you're going to actually remove structure unless can confirm some other way the hunches here.
--
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

it makes for an interesting little logical puzzle, eh?
(maybe it's my color blindness, but the photos don't show up everything to me) But I took it to mean there was a second piece nailed to the joist.
as you know, there already have to be two parallel joists above the bottom plate, just as usual in any house, then the top plate, then the wall of the story above. That's sufficient to support the wall above, as usual.
the doubled piece is an *addon*, if I understand the OP
So, people don't design and build houses and then come back and add on pieces - unless something changed.

what I see is a horizontal member, oriented vertically, and scabbed on to the normal (inner) joist. Just like I did in my attic when I saw a crack in a rafter, btw.
The scab looks to be 2" less than the 2x8 or 10(?) joists.

regardless, I think we can say that the presence of the steps is irrelevant. While you normally double joists around a stair opening, that doesn't apply when there is a studded wall supporting the whole run of that edge of the opening.
Magically take away the stairs (and the opening) and nothing changes structurally.

just like at any door opening, I'd think
my guess is they removed two studs, then scabbed the span to compensate - with a piece of lumber that was handy. From what I understand and think I see, it is indeed a scab and that means addon in this situation. I'd agree that
So, a forensic carpenter (hehe) would find nail holes from the removed studs, plus maybe some sawzall marks. And lots of nails or screws in the span above the shelf area, just as how you'd build up a beam from 2 or 3 pieces.
[and more below]

I bet most have got a bow, a crown and a twist :)
When we used to go to Lowes or wherever and pick through lumber, we'd look at what was left and know that the bananas and pretzels left over would end up shipped to some million dollar mansion somewhere, which is ironic. Big contractors just take what's delivered to them, I think.
But those in the photo aren't as bad as that :)
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There are no more nails above the open shelf area than the rest of the area. I wasnt planning on removing any of the studs just turning a few sideways. I just figures with them being sideways its less support than the way they are now. I planned on adding a few more where I could to make up the difference. I want to use a pocket door to save space for the swing of the door. I doesnt matter if the door pops off track once in a while as Im leaving the frame work open and will have complete access to it. I might just go with the idea of adding a second frame in front of the esisting frame work - might be the easiest in the long run as I can frame it my self and make sure its all square. Thanks for the suggestions John
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John wrote:

Sigh. Why do they always run the basement steps right into a block wall? The designer of that house should be beat on- basement steps enclosed on both sides are very claustrophobic, and hard to carry stuff up and down. Adding another door will only add to the claustrophobic feeling.
But having said all that- the doubled stud next to the openings (for this door and for the closet under the stairs), and the box section joist next to the double joist, tells me the wall is sort of load bearing, in that is is carrying the stairwell wall above the floor, plus whatever rests on that. Not that anything would collapse, they just want it to be stiff so the drywall in the stairwell doesn't crack. By doubling a couple more studs between the stair door and the closet door, you could probably get away with a pocket door. A easier alternative, since that side is unfinished, would be to just frame up a double wall right there, and put the pocket in that.
Is there another exit from that side of the basement? Is some special reason you want to use a pocket there? Murphy's law being what it is, and pocket doors being more prone to jamming than regular doors, I'd hesitate to put one in an escape path. I'd be more inclined to put in a normal door that swings against the unfinished block wall. Or maybe a set of center-opening doors, if all you are looking to do is hide the view of the workshop from the party room. Will blocking that door mess up the airflow to the finished side of the basement, and/or to your furnace? Do you maybe need a louvered door there? In the old days, a set of center-opening closet doors would be the typical solution there, opening toward the unfinished side.
-- aem sends...
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Even the pros can make a mistake on this one when they are there. We certainly can't give a certain answer from here.
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