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
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
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.
*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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