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Old 06-02-2008, 12:21 PM  
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Default Load Bearing Wall question

We have lived in a rented house for a couple of years, and the owner wishes to sell. We are interested in buying but our experiences over the last 2 years has left us some concern over a load bearing wall.

The previous previous owner was a DIY person with no knowledge of things, we have a main sewer in our conservatory which smells horrible sometimes and also has the neighbours sewers running into it, we had a flood as water came through our ceiling which we found out that our central heating system was installed completly wrong, and the overflow pipes were running up-slope, so instead of the water running out of the overflow, it came through our bedroom. We have found dangerious electrical wiring in whcih the cooker installer said he has never seen anything so dangerious, a back yard that floods whenever it rains as there is no drainage over the patio area and a back gate which doesn't shut as a drainage pipe is in the way.

Most of these things have been sorted out (apart from our back flooding!)...but we are left wondering what else might we find if we buy it.

The house we live in originally had a very small kitchen, and two walls have been knocked down to make it an open-plan kitchen diner. Now I know that one of those walls was load bearing, as our neighbours wall when they extended it had to have special supports put in.

Our concern is that there are no columns or supports, just a beam running into the middle of the room with nothing supporting it. Is this right, or is is suspicious. There are no cracks or anything, and it was done around 10 years it safe? Does every beam have to have two supports either side?

I have a picture below showing the beam. I have marked in yellow the position of where the old load-bearing wall used to be.

Thank you, Alister and Alison

Last edited by cruickshanks; 06-02-2008 at 02:08 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:56 PM  
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um... how would a beam be supported only on one side? lol

Buy and live in the house???

I would be scared to visit it

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Old 06-02-2008, 03:19 PM  
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Default Hmmmm

You probably have to open up the ceiling in this area to know for sure if there is a load above.
Hire a home inspector to look at the house with you before you by it. Try for a good organization to choose from.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:03 PM  
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Hello Alister:
You may want to look in the attic. If it has manufactrued trusses in it as opposed to rafters and joists; you may be alright. Trusses rest on the outside wall and do not require support in the middle.
The unsupported beam is simply a way to cut a wall out and make some kind of a finish out of it without disturbing the ceiling. You could never match the texture of the ceiling. The 'beam' may be no more than two 2 X 4s nailed togather and covered with drywall. The 'no cracks' gives the best hint; after 10 years it would be down in the floor if it were load bearing.
If your roof systme is rafters and joists, you need to call an inspector right away and have it checked out.
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:07 AM  
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Thank you for your help everyone.

We will get someone to take a look sometime, although we are in the UK, so will need to find an alternative website with organisations.

The house is a two-story, so there is a floor above. I am not sure if this makes a difference. The floor above has a bathroom with a wall that sits in the same place as where the downstairs old load-bearing wall used to be.
This was definitely load bearing since my neighbours are my parents!, and they had their kitchen extended. When they extended it, they moved a wall back using supports through the upper walls while they moved the load bearing wall to extend the kitchen. It was professionally done, and they had a new beam put in to support the upper walls. Rather than remove the walls as in our case, they simply had it moved it back.

I don't know any terminology so forgive me, but in our ceiling, the roof has a very thick beam running vertical from the top-centre of the sloped roof, to the floor, which is obviously holding up the roof. From here, there are beams running horizontal across the roof. I done a search on the internet and I think that the load of the roof is being held down in the centre
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Old 06-03-2008, 11:59 PM  
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Default did you say 2story?

Is there a floor above this ceiling we're looking at? Is that a solid piece of lumber? or a box covering up the toilet drain pipe? I'm with Glen, after ten years, where is it gonna go. No worries
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:10 AM  
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i purchased a house from my wife's relative that had some creative ideas for home improvement I would defiantly get a professional inspector and make your decision after discussing what he/she finds. I wouldn't worry too much about cosmetic problems focus more on the projects that will cost you thousands.

i agree with these guys if it didn't fall after 10 years it's probably good but you still need to investigate.

Your in a unique situation where you have been able to try it before you buy it i wish i had that opportunity. Do you feel comfortable being responsible for paying for repairs on this house? Also why is the owner selling?

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