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Daniel916 02-03-2013 05:55 PM

New Home Owner Obsessing Over Load Bearing Wall
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My apologies if this isn't the right forum. Happy to be directed elsewhere.

My husband and I are in the process of buying our first home, and I'm obsessing over whether or not we'll be able to remodel a bathroom on the second floor and make it larger.

I stress that we will have it assessed and remodeled professionally (we know a bath remodel is too big for us at this point), but I'm just wondering if anyone has a strong idea that the wall in question IS load bearing. If so, I better make peace with the layout now (and stop wasting time looking at bigger bathtubs)!

Why I think it is load bearing :
- thereís a roof seem there
Why I think it isnít load bearing :
- thereís no wall underneath it (itís the middle of our kitchen down there)
- it looks like might have been moved once already

Thanks much for any input, Heidi

oldognewtrick 02-03-2013 06:18 PM

Heidi. first off :welcome: to House Repair Talk!

Now about your remodel plans, I would suggest contacting a structural engineer and having him give you an idea of what will be involved with moving the wall and changing the structure. His fee will be well worth it and there's no way anyone can give you sound advise over the INTERNET about what your plans involve.

mudmixer 02-03-2013 07:12 PM

From the small shot, and roof lines, it looks the house today may be a result of one or two additions to an original.

The only way to know is to get someone like and engineer that is not interested in being a contractor. An engineer could provide some direction and plans or just something to set your mind at ease and allow you to do as you chose, but he will have already poked around to see what is there. A contractor will just try to sell a job and hope there unforeseen things that can pump up the cost beyond what you originally expected.


Daniel916 02-03-2013 07:42 PM

Okay - thanks. Good point on the structural engineer vs contractor. We haven't even closed yet, so I'm just excited to know now what we might be able to do. I'll also take good notes when I follow the inspector around into the attic. ;)

BridgeMan 02-05-2013 08:05 PM

If the engineer/inspector says you can't remove that wall, are you prepared to live in the place? Maybe you should get him/her out there before closing, or add a contingency to your offer, stating it's null and void if the structure isn't conducive to the remodel you would like to do (without spending a bajillion $$$). Another thing you might want an engineer's opinion on is whether the floor joists will allow running new plumbing drain lines that will be needed. I'll never forget an old plumber once telling me that he liked the remodelers who skimped by installing undersized sewer runs for relocated toilets , because the extra business they brought him (when they often plugged up) allowed him to retire early. Many plumbers won't let things like floor joists get in the way of progress--"just a little notching and chopping will get my pipes through" is an attitude that's quite common, and can result in sagging or bouncing floors.

bud16415 02-06-2013 09:03 AM

I don’t think the wall is loadbearing, and I agree with your assessment based on there is no wall below it on the lower floor. A trip into the attic should also show you the structure doesn’t extend up to the roof line. And you should be able to see the ceiling joists in that area to confirm how they are run.

The bigger problem will be with the new plumbing IMO you are moving both the toilet and the tub and that change will most likely have you into the kitchen ceiling. In your photos it looks like an access panel is in the sitting room wall to get at the pipes for the tub. You may want to take a look in there to see if the wall has been added as you thought from a different remodel.

This is just my opinion based on what I can see from what you provided. With internet forum advice you get what you pay for. Good luck with the house.

nealtw 02-06-2013 05:16 PM

In the photo of the west side it appears that the wall in question is at an addition, the sitting room window is clearly on the other side of the valley in the roof. I think you have two sets of rafters landing on the wall. That says to me, load bairring. There may be a beam in the floor below or in the wall itself. Evan if there isn't one, maybe there should be.
I am not saying it can't be done.

Daniel916 02-06-2013 10:39 PM

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Thanks for all the feedback! There's no resounding - that's clearly one unmovable wall, lady! - which is all I was really hoping for. Certainly sounds worth bringing in an expert to find out one way or another.

Also appreciate the concerns about the layout, too. The point about clogged toilets especially caught my eye. So between that and the wall, it got me thinking about the layout more. If we could at least put in an arch leading to a bathtub (currently the sitting area) and leave the rest of the wall intact, and if we move the sink instead of the toilet, that all sounds better … though would still have to move the tub/sink lines some. I also like the layout more (see attached for fun). We are prepared to buy even if can't do the remodel - we really love the rest of the house. We budgeted 20K specifically for this, but if we can't do it with mid-range tub, toilet, and sink and nothing fancy for the wall or floor covering (not a big tile fan), then we live with it. But fun to think about and I'm learning, too. Inspection is on Monday. I'll keep all this in mind. Thanks again!

nealtw 02-06-2013 11:16 PM

I like that plan better, You hardly move plumbing.

inspectorD 02-07-2013 05:06 AM

It also looks like the rooms will not connect. There may be some roof line in the way from the pictures.
There is an access on the sitting room wall, open it up and I bet you have a small 2 foot attic space.

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