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cnfacc 02-26-2013 10:11 AM

Renovating apartment, but we're worried about a load bearing wall
Hi City-Data / Architecture forum,

We're currently in the process of renovating our apartment, but we're concerned whether a wall was load bearing.

We originally wanted to open up the kitchen, but was told the wall we wanted to remove was load bearing.

Our contractor then came in and poked around and told us it wasn't load bearing.

They then told us that the wall had to come down regardless and could be rebuilt again if we're worried.

The problem is that now we're worried and I was hoping you could provide some insight or opinion of whether the wall we took down was load bearing or not.

I've already started to look into getting a structural engineer to come in and evaluate.

I would appreciate your thoughts very much, thanks in advance!

Pictures of the interior below.

mudmixer 02-26-2013 11:11 AM

I would first tell the "contractor" to stop work and then call an engineer for help. That beam/support over the wall you are removing looks very feeble, especially considering it also supporting and other "beam".

Using the term "apartment" implies you are renting and not the owner of the total structure. Just knocking out walls without some direction other than the "contractor" can leave you with a major problem and excuse for many extras down the road.

You already have been told it was load-bearing before you talked to the "contractor", but were sold on a faster and cheaper way initially to get started.


nealtw 02-26-2013 11:15 AM

If the main beam is supported on each side, I wouldn't beconcerned about that one. The one coming into it should be bolted or welded to it. The real question comes about the column that has been removed. If that was was just 4 studs covered with drywall, no problem, but it if had studs nail together to make a post and then framed out for drywall, then you start to worry.
And welcome to the site.

Fireguy5674 02-26-2013 11:20 AM

It would seem that an engineer would be the way to go. Hard to tell from the pictures exactly everything involved.
1. How many stories is the building and on what floor is this apartment?
2. What type of construction is it?
3. Was the column you removed steel or masonary?
4. How are the two beams which meet in the ceiling connected to each other?

I would not be as concerned about removing the wall as I would be about removing a column. Get the engineer in and see what he has to say.

cnfacc 02-26-2013 11:41 AM

Hi everybody, thanks for the quick replies!

I'll try to answer some of your questions, and I do appreciate all the help!

mudmixer: It's a coop apartment that we bought. We've been told by the building manager that those are load bearing, but the contractors were supposed to be very experienced and they seemed pretty certain that the wall was not load bearing. They said things along the line of "they would not use wood to support steel," and "if it was indeed load bearing, the wooden posts (that the wall was constructed of) would be touching the steel beam and not sitting on top of a wooden sub floor."

The building management told us that we could build a pass-through, so this is what we decided to go with. The contractors said they had to poke around anyway to determine what they're dealing with before they actually took anything out. And after that, they told us it was not load bearing and they would take the wall down to rebuild it with our pass through, and that's how it came to where we are now.

nealtw: The beam that goes into the other beam is bolted and welded I believe (I at least definitely see big bolts). The column that was removed was hollow, with 4 wooden posts (2x4 - are these studs?) that made up the corners, and dry wall was attached to those.

1. The apartment is 6 floors and we're on the 3rd.
2. I'm not sure what you mean by this, but the building is around 1950's, the wall that came down was made out of wooden posts (2x4 - are these studs?) every foot or so (maybe 8 to 10 inches) and dry wall was attached to it.
3. The column was hollow and was made out of 4 wooden posts (2x4) on the corners. Then dry wall on the posts.
4. The two beams connecting on the ceiling are bolted to each other. And I think I remember welding, too.

I hope that helped to provide some insight.

We were very concerned after they took it down and the contractor said if it was really a load bearing wall, the building would have called you by now.

Again, thanks for all your replies!

cnfacc 02-26-2013 11:47 AM

Here's a picture of the wall and column before it was knocked down.

You can see the holes that the contractor put in them to poke around.

nealtw 02-26-2013 12:49 PM

The column was suppoting nothing, The only question left is the supports holding up the main beam or if the main beam is big enough to carry the load. I looks like it was built to be open but there is always a chance that there was a problem that someone fixed by building a wall. It's never a bad idea to have an engineer look it over. If the same walls are open upstairs I doubt you have a problem.

cnfacc 02-26-2013 01:29 PM

Thanks again nealtw.

I've been looking around for a structural engineer to come look at it.

nealtw 02-26-2013 04:55 PM

Be sure to come back and tell us what he says.

cnfacc 02-27-2013 09:32 AM

So we had a few friends of ours take a look at it. One works as a project manager at an architectural engineering firm. And another is a construction supervisor. Right off the bat both have told us it wasn't load bearing. Also, the seller of the apartment has also told us that the upstairs apartment has an open kitchen, so we're going to go say hi and take a look this weekend. If they do have an open kitchen, then I guess that pretty much seals the deal.

Will update, thanks again!

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