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?
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.
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
On Aug 23, 12:36 am, email@example.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.
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.
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.
On Aug 23, 1:34 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Magically take away the stairs (and the opening) and nothing changes
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 :)
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
Thanks for the suggestions
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.
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