Hopefully a quick question that won't require a foray into
alt.home.repair . . it's downright scary over there.
I've what I believe to be a bearing wall with a 30" doorway.
The wall is around 12' long.
I'd like to open the doorway into an arch around 10' wide.
How deep does the joist need to be? This is a ranch with the attic
directly above, in snow country (NW NJ).
I'm assuming a sistered Tuba-Ate or Tuba-Ten?
I am an inveterate DYI'er myself, but in a situation like this you will most
probably do yourself, and/or your heirs and future assigns, a big favor if
you have an engineer to take a look at it and design the opening properly.
I routinely pay an engineering firm around 2K to design the framing and
foundation for an entire 2 story house, so the cost should be reasonable for
that small of a job, and worth the piece of mind and future
On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 15:34:56 +0000, U-CDK_CHARLES\Charles wrote:
The "Rule of Thumb" is 1" of depth per foot spanned, so a 4x10
or 2 2x10 with 1/2" ply spacer would be the minimum. Here's a link with a
little more info:
Ditto the others.
1 nominal inch per foot of span. Build a header as a ring for 2x6
Example: for a 7' span use 2x8's (round up to the next size if lumber) and
connect them top and bottom with a ripped 2"x1.5" strip top an bottom to
make the sandwich the full 5.5" thickness of the 2x6 wall.
Architects are overrated. I hired one to help out with a roof truss design
and they came back with a design that *I* proved to be over-engineered. The
point of the consultation was to make sure that I had a safe design without
going to undue expense.... they gave me an overwrought design that required
considerably more material and labor to implement.
Could it be that you asked the wrong profession to do the job and they
overdid it out of ignorance? The LAST thing on earth I would do is hire an
architect to engineer a structural solution ... most wouldn't take the work,
Correct. It was an enginnering question. I believe this was an
artchitectural and engineering firm.
It's a small community in which there is little distiction. My request was
clearly inside the scope of their ability If it was outside the scope of
what they want to do they could have said "no thanks".
I bare the responsibility for not making it absolutely clear that their job
was find the *least costly* solution rather than just a functional one.
If this is a truss roof, all the trusses are the same and they don't all
"catch" the wall in question it is unlikely the wall is holding up anything.
Usually trusses only hang on the outside walls unless you have a complex roof
line or the wall goes the whole length of the house, perpendicular and somewhat
centered on the trusses. If this is one of those designs with a lot of breaks
in the roof line you really need an engineer or a copy of the truss
If you do not know for certain if it is a bearing wall it is impossible to
First step is to determine the load and then size the beam for the load.
2 x 2x8 seems unlikely in any case. Note that different species of wood have
greatly different strengths.
Personally I'm fond of LVL. Always straight and free from knots and you can
get by with a smaller beam.
I'm not engineer and I've only built one house, but can't you determine if
it's a bearing wall by what's directly underneath it? You need support
directly in the basement under that wall, you can determine by the way the
joists are running.
It's a bit complicated.
Most of the house has a full basement. However the full basement stops
"more or less" beneath the kitchen where the excavator encountered more
rock than they cared to deal with.
Beneath the kitchen there's a crawl space, the basement ending in a wall
made of 8" block.
The framing in the basement is parallel to the wall in question. The
wall itself is clearly just a 2x4 wall.
The floor joints are 2x10s on 12" centers, supported directly below the
roof peak (there's a row of columns in the basement directly beneath the
There is electrical and telephone in that wall. It should be evident
whether the wall coincides with the end of the full-basement from below.
If they are not cooincident, then the wall is NOT load bearing?
Though I suppose very little would be lost in using sistered 2x10s in
Not necessarily. Sometimes that can give you a clue, However, you can tell
if it is a bearing wall by what is directly ABOVE it. This is also
complicated by the need for some walls to resist lateral (sideways) loading
which is needed in areas with seismic and/or wind conditions.
On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 15:34:56 GMT, "U-CDK_CHARLES\\Charles" <"Charles
lots of folks seem to know the construction end of it.. I'd suggest
you check with a local contractor (NOT THE CITY!) about building codes
and "common practices" in your area before you start..
Sorry, with a wife in law school and my real estate experience, I
always look at potential liability first..
Not being "up to code" is worse in most places than not getting a
permit to do the work.. also makes it a little sticky legally if you
sell the house..
You better believe it. The kiss of death to a builder is the phrase "not
built to industry standard" ... it can be as small as a 1/2" drop on the
corner of a brand new garage foundation that is perfect in every other way,
and it can influence the sale of the entire property, or worse, lead to
legal liability long after the fact.
In this day and age you can't be too careful with _anything_ you do to a
house that you're not planning on dying in.
My experience is only in Calif., but if you get caught with work done
without a permit, (usually during a sale), the first thing they do is
have a building inspector come out...
If the work is up to whatever the code was when it was done, they
sometimes will let you slide and just fine you and sell you a permit..
If it isn't up to code, they make you tear it out and get a permit to
do it right... not a lot of fun when the buyer wants to close the sale
and you have an offer out on another house..
Who does the checking? I've live in PA and CT and owned a few houses so I'm
not an expert, but none have ever been inspected for permits or work done
When I lived in Philly, sometimes a nasty neighbor would turn in someone. If
the inspector came out, you could "buy" a permit on the spot with cash.
Otherwise, they never bothered a homeowner.
Around here folks are paying third party house inspectors, many of whom have
credentials from either the structural engineering side, or as long time
city inspectors, now freelancing, to do the checking. It's grown to a pretty
good size cottage industry. These folks often use a trail of building plans,
survey's, permits, etc. that are most often a matter of public record at
many local government offices these days. Doesn't take much digging to find
issues that may be a future liability to someone who didn't cross the t's or
dot the i's.
All in all, it's not a bad thing ... thank your local government bureaucrats
and computers for the data, and your tax dollars for the implementation.
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