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-   -   supporting walls? studs needed? (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f109/supporting-walls-studs-needed-12003/)

Amanda2125 08-23-2011 11:34 AM

supporting walls? studs needed?
 
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My husband and I are wanting to remove some walls (well only the top 1/2 of them) in our home but I'm worried about taking out some studs that need to be there.

If I live in a duplex that peaks in the centre of where the 2 homes meet where is the "supporting wall"?
Does it run down the centre of the building or across the other way, or both? but would that even make a difference if we are only taking out 1/2 walls?

In the picture is the one wall that we are wanting to take part of it out. We are wanting to cut out almost a window type opening and create a "deck" to put pictures and such on (it will open it up to our front door and stairs). I know we wouldn't be able to remove the whole top half of the wall because I think there is furnace duct work in it.

I just don't know if this will do harm to the structure of my home.

Thanks to all who reply!

BridgeMan 08-23-2011 03:39 PM

Without more information, I can just say that, in general, load-bearing walls typically (BUT NOT ALWAYS) are those that are parallel with the long direction of a room. That's done so that the ceiling joists span in the shortest possible direction for that room. That also means the non-load-bearing walls will be perpendicular to the room's long dimension. The only way to be sure is to access the attic, if possible, digging through the insulation to see for yourself which direction the ceiling joists run.

And to throw another curve at you and hubby, it's possible to remove part(s) of or even all of load-bearing walls. I've lost count of the ones I've either completely removed or partially removed over the years. Doing so safely requires the services of an engineer, and I had access to a very inexpensive one (me) for every wall I removed or modified. Support systems to replace load-bearing walls usually consist of steel or built-up timber headers, designed to support the dead and live loads formerly carried by the wall. I always supported my headers on steel columns (to minimize buckling), fitted with custom header support brackets and resting on concrete footings. I've usually embedded the columns in adjacent walls for a clean look, along with hiding the header in the attic above the ceiling (where it carries the ceiling and rafter loads by means of joist hangers). If your duplex is a two-story, the challenge becomes slightly more complicated but still not insurmountable.

nealtw 08-23-2011 04:48 PM

Do you have unfinished basement or access to craw space under house? Depending on the structure of the roof any wall in the house could be load bearing and some times it's just a double or triple stud in a wall that is load bearing. The first trick is to check out down stairs if you can. Load bearing walls transfer the load to the foundation and footing. Down stairs you would expect to find another wall directly under your wall or a beam where that wall would be. You may also find just extra floor joists under the wall or evan a support post standing in the middle of the room under your wall.
Evan a wall running the other way down stairs can be what your looking for. For this one you look for extra blocking between the top of the wall and the floor sheeting and double studs below your wall.
If you find anything like these things you need to call for an engineer and I think if you don't own both sides of the duplex you should have an engineer anyway.


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