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Old 07-28-2014, 10:16 PM  
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Default Removing a wall

Greetings all! My wife and I recently purchased our first home which is a ~2000 sq ft 2 story colonial plus basement. We'd like to open up the living room by adding a doorway or preferably removing the wall separating the adjacent room. There is an HVAC vent and some outlets that will need to be moved, but the biggest question is how to know if the wall is load bearing? The wall runs down the center of the house on the first floor parallel with the roof center ridge, so I suspect it is holding up the second floor joists and we'll have to get a beam installed.

However there is a wild card bulkhead that runs along the top of the wall which I haven't determined it's purpose. We removed some drywall and pulled out a horizontal ~14" piece of 2x4 to look up inside the wall next to the HVAC vent (see pics). From the way the nails are, it looks like the bulkhead (or at least the boxing for the drywall) was added after the wall was put in, so unsure what the bulkhead is for. I was hoping the bulkhead was holding the 2nd floor as part of a standardized blueprint leaving the homeowner to choose whether they wanted a wall or leave it open (wishful thinking!).

Attached are a few pics to show what I've seen so far. The wire is for an outlet on the opposite side of the wall. Any thoughts why the bulkhead is there?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 07-28-2014, 11:26 PM  
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Welcome to the site and congrats on buying the house. The wall is almost garenteed to bearing. The box against the wall is there to hide something, maybe plumbing, or Hvac or just exhaust vents for bathroom or dryer vents. It was built with solid wood as a fire stop so a fire in the wall will not spread to the floor joists above for 30 minutes.
Have a look in basement or crawl space to see if there is support for that wall. If you have a slab floor it may be hard to tell, sometime you can see a change in the concrete near the wall but not always. If it is bearing you will need the services of an engineer to calculate the beam and new bearing that will be needed.

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