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I'm looking for your opinions on this load bearing wall and how it pertains to my roof structure. Here are some pictures

End of beam on load-bearing wall: End of beam

Wider view of load-bearing: Wider view of beam

Attic above wall: Attic above wall

We are looking to open up about a 16' wall which I was lead to believe is load bearing with the double header. So I had the local lumber yard do up the calculations for LVL's and they came back with (3) 1 3/4" x 14" x 20'. After talking with a few people and looking at my roof structure, it seems like this may be overkill for what we have. The wall that we are looking to remove is on the first main floor with only the unfinished attic above it. The basement has columns roughly every 10' or so down the middle. I should also state there are joists sitting on the wall in the attic, it's just buried in the insulation.

Anyone have any experience with this type of scenario?

Thanks in advance!

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    I would dig down and see if there is a splice under the insulation above the wall you want to remove. The wall looks to be 9-10 feet from the exterior wall. Your rafters are sitting on the exterior walls from what I can see. If there is no splice then the question would be are they 2x6 or 2x4 depending on the span if there is no splice it looks to only be supporting the sheetrock and insulation. The columns in the basement are to support the floor of the ground level living space. – Ed Beal Mar 21 '16 at 22:55
  • You're going to have to include a blueprint, and/or some better photos of what's above the wall. Without more detail, it's impossible to say for sure what's required. – Tester101 Mar 21 '16 at 23:52
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Homes are built with the outside walls first supporting the roof rafters or trusses. Interior walls are added later.

Usually the only interior walls that might be load bearing are where an addition was put on to a house on a wall under a downslope part of the roof.

Look at your roof, the walls under any downslope parts of the roof are load bearing. Gable ends are not load bearing. Walls that run parallel to the trusses are not load bearing.

The "beam" you have a picture of isn't sized properly to be a beam. It would have to be a minimum of two - 2x8's nailed together. So it appears it was just used for structure to attach the drywall to.

Good luck!

  • Agreed on the "beam". From the small gap at the top plate, it doesn't even look like it's loaded. – Comintern Mar 22 '16 at 2:43
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What load? I agree with Ed Beal. Unless your ceiling joists are tiny or splitting the span & meeting on top of this wall, I don't see any load nor need for any beams of any sort. Rake back that attic insulation to further confirm no load or what support may be needed.

Meaning, if your ceiling joists are singular full span 2x8 or taller sticks & just running over the wall, then you don't need to do anything before, during nor after removal of the wall. A Double Top-Plate is no indication of anything & many times is just a filler.

Additionally, those many huge LVL's is way overkill, except for putting a Hot Tub or a Bank Safe in the attic. You'd cut the joists, put just 1 of those LVL's (or a 2x12) in that cut & hang the joists from the LVL within the attic.

  • I tend to use a single asterisk for less intrusive, less shouty emphasis - just my $0.02 worth. P.S. LVL=Laminated Veneer Lumber header/beam right? (I had to look it up). – RedGrittyBrick Mar 22 '16 at 9:33
  • Yep. The LVL's are much stronger than dimensional lumber. I just can't imagine what his lumber yard was thinking. That package would be for a basement beam in a 4-story house with old-timey actual plaster & full mud bed walls & floors bathrooms. – Iggy Mar 22 '16 at 13:01
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You can size the beam with a basic load calculator (that's what the lumber yard did). One example is bc-calc (www.bccalc.com). Don't just assume that any applicable load has to come from the roof.

The ceiling joist weren't designed to handle the ceiling's weight (service personnel, joist, flooring, wall board, insulation, HVAC, electrical, fasteners, paint, etc.) from exterior-wall to exterior-wall. A person new to beam specification would be well-advised to just use the weight of the entire ceiling. Bad beam specifications usually come from inaccurate load input.

The studs under each end of a beam spanning 16ft should be sitting on something solid down to the footing level (look in your crawl space). A 16 foot span is significant. Ceiling sag can be a building-wide structural issue. Don't under-build, you'll regret it. You won't regret over-building.

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