Modifying a Load Bearing Wall

30 responses

  1. Ken Jackson
    January 27, 2013

    I am trying to build an opening in a load-bearing wall, which divides our kitchen and another room that would be a great addition for a larger dining table. the wall area is 18 ft. The plan is to make an opening approx 10 ft. ANY ADVISE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.

  2. Louis Walter
    June 8, 2013

    I too am working on opening up a load bearing wall. The full opening size will 12'. I own a single story ranch type home and the attic is not used. Is a beam constructed of 2 2x10' with a plywood sandwiched between them enough for that span?

  3. Lilah Bennet
    August 5, 2013

    How much would it cost to have a professional come in and put an arch in a load bearing wall (including materials)?

    • Tim Carter
      January 15, 2014

      $1,493.26

  4. mark
    April 13, 2014

    Ever have to put a recess header under a beam in a load bearing wall? The header replaces the king and one of the two jack studs. Beam is 3 2 x 12 x 10. Can this be done and anything special to account for?

  5. rich
    May 30, 2014

    I have a 17'4" bearing wall I want to replace with a steel beam. Its a 2 store home. with the bedroom wall above it. How big will the beam have to be? I can spread the side load up to 2 feet for support!

    • Tim Carter
      May 31, 2014

      Hmmmmmmm. I'll have to go back and look at this column - I'm in the backend of the comment approval section. I could have sworn I offered advice that you MUST ENGAGE a structural engineer to size beams. This ALWAYS entails a visit to the job site so the engineer can see all the loads and take all the necessary measurements. You don't size beams based on emails and hunches.

  6. Sandra
    July 17, 2014

    I am replacing a 9 ft french doors with glass panels unit that is on the outside wall of my kitchen opening to a deck. The new unit is 1/2 inch too wide and the opening needs to be enlarged. The jack studs are holding up a header for the 2nd floor. How do I enlarge the opening?

  7. Pete
    March 29, 2015

    I would like to replace two exterior windows separated by 65" with a gang of four windows. The span will be approx 120 inches and I don't want to bother with engineered lumber, so I was planning on placing a king stud and side-by-side jack studs in between each window. Where each window is 26" wide (four in total), is it ok to have king studs every 30.5" o.c.? Further info: The snow load is 30 psf and the house width is 30 ft. The IBC specifies individual spans, but I was wondering if multiple spans are treated differently.

  8. Craig Sheppard
    April 3, 2015

    I have a 2x4 structural wall that support the roof truss along it's axis. This wall is also the wall that covers the 'under-stair well' space on my first floor. Just took out the drywall and realized that it assists with supporting the truss above.

    Looking to redistribute the load from three center section studs to make a built-in cabinet opening.

    Looking to place a 2x8 header in place and two 2x4 jack studs to support the header.

    Think this will be good to go?

    How may I go about providing a temporary support while the three center studs are removed?

    Thank you in advance.

  9. Judy
    April 4, 2015

    I need to expand
    two door openings to my den. One is a load bearing and one is not. The load bearing wall I anticipate to expand 20 additional inches. How much support would I need. I live in a ranch style house.

    • Tim Carter
      April 5, 2015

      Since my mystic powers do not include x-ray vision and ESP, I can't tell you without a visit to your home to see what CONCENTRATED LOADS are on that wall at that location.

  10. Greg
    May 23, 2015

    I am installing a loadbearing beam on of which one end goes into the outside wall and the other into a wall that's inside the house. I got an engineer to calculate it all for a steel beam and for an LVL. He also gave instructions for the columns for LVL (3ply 2x6). If I go with the steel beam I'll just use steel columns. But here's my question(s): do I need, in addition to the columns (in both cases), a king stud at each end? Just on the interior of the house end? or not at all? What about on the side of the columns - do I need studs next to them to prevent lateral movement?

  11. Jeff Fox
    June 10, 2015

    This is great reading. Thanks. Tim for helping those who cannot be helped.

  12. Four Walls
    July 19, 2015

    Hey Tim,
    Great thread! Your article was exactly the bit of reference I was looking for. I was wondering if you might refine your knowledge into my specific situation. I would also appreciate the word of advice of just getting a pro, if need be.
    Scenario:
    I just bought a house that is a fixer upper.... It's a 50' x50' box house with a pyramid peak roof. All four exterior walls are the load bearing wall. So, at some point a home owner cut out a small window and installed a new larger widow with out a header or vertical support, pretty much in the center of the wall. Here we are a decade or so later and the wall has bulged above the window, right at the top plate, about 2-3 inches. I get the temp load bearing wall and beam header with vertical supports.... But how do I bring the wall back in to plumb? Chain and come-a-long ๐Ÿ˜‰ or just tear out wall and start over?

  13. James Griffin
    September 28, 2015

    Hey wondering if you could give me some advice I had some framers build a wall a foot too high what is the best way to fix it without demoing the entire wall I figured I could cut the bottom out a foot to rectify the situation but how the heck do i lower the wall or what procedures should I follow to get it done I was told I had 2.5 hours to complete any advice

  14. Monica Sowders
    October 19, 2015

    Lousy builder in 1980. Or maybe unpermitted renos.
    I'm an engineer, but not a certified professional in my state. So I know how to read codes and calculate loads. We bought this house and removed some non-structural walls (I climbed in the attic to verify trusses and spans). As we have gone along fixing the damage of 16 cats, 3 dogs, and a pot grow house...we have found hundreds of basic code violations. Two big ones are staring us in the face though. It seems as if the exterior doors were framed or added with out headers. Did I mention this is 2 story, with trusses carrying loads down the exterior walls?

    We have a 4' wide front door with side panel windows, and a rear 8' slider patio door. We KNOW the header over the patio door stopped mid span because we had to open up part of that wall to fix leaky plumbing. We partially fized it, but not by installing a real header. It was just supposed to be a patch until we got a permit to do othe work. Now we notice joint fatigue in the sheet rock over the front door, and "squash lines" in the space between the door and windows. Hmmmm. so we tap ve the door. Yup, hollow.
    Did I mention I removed an over sized soaker tub from the upstairs bathroom that used to sit above the front entry...unsupported? Day one in house, my boys climbed in, filled tub, water came out at front door and entry light. Appears the tub may not have ever been used before us, but there was evidence of plumbing leaks elsewhere. I mention this because we later checked the spans in bathroom flooring, 2x6's as I recall on 16" OC. I did some quick mental math and said tub with water, no suppot, too heavy.
    The stairs also look modified, like maybe there used to be posts at the end of the stairwell run, which opens about 4' from the front door. Now that area is open and unsupported.
    My thought is....if there is no header where those 2'6s would land above the door, and nothing floor to ground at staris....what the hell is holding that up?
    So how can I tell short of ripping out walls and re-framing? This house has already eaten my lunch with bad stuff we couldnt see in the walls with just a standard inspection (i.e. gas plumbing not to code, failing and molding water pipes...headers....)
    It's mostly 2x4 exterior walls, so I'm thinking about just adding another wall in front to provide the support, or maybe some rustic looking post and beam deal where the header should be. But then it would be off from carrying the exterior load?????
    Thoughts are appreciated!

  15. Alex
    November 14, 2015

    I am making about a 12 foot long opening 8 feet high inside a warehouse on the interior metal stud offices built inside this warehouse. Do I need anything special or is it dangerous to leave open. I am just gonna cap the ends with a header on top. Do I still need to load the weight off to the sides before I cut my opening. Or do you think this is too big of an opening without real professional help. Metal framing goes up to the top of the ware house about 30 feet high?

  16. JT
    November 14, 2015

    Using the old 2x4 studs and notching them for temporary beam support is pure genius! Regarding all the Q's re: beam size and strength, if you're too "thrifty" to engage the services of an engineer who consults on such matters professionally and still want to tackle this on your own, then I suggest installing a beam that is approx. TWICE as strong as you think you need.

  17. Bob
    November 27, 2015

    Need to replace a 24 foot load bearing wall with a beam. Single flow house. Nothing in the attic. Any suggestions on what type of beam to use. Thanks

  18. Andrew
    November 30, 2015

    I'm thinking about opening up a load bearingwall from the kitchen to the living room I don't think the other wall is load bearingwall that I want to remove I haven't checked for studs but would it be easier to work around the posts in the wall to make arched windows to the kitchen

  19. Rick Walters
    December 14, 2015

    I bought a home that has a stairway from the main floor to the basement that the previous owner installed within a closet... The stair is very steep - more like a combination between a stairway and a ladder. This was done because there are supporting beams that go perpendicular to the path of the stairway (parallel to the steps). In order to install a decent stairway, I will need to have a supporting beam cut to support the width of the stairwell. I assume that you can brace the beam with poles on both sides of the stairs. Note that supporting beams run parallel for the length of the house. I am an engineer, but will contract this to a builder, looking for suggestions, ideas, recommendations, etc...

  20. Tom
    January 10, 2016

    Want to replace the header for a new garage door...
    The joist run the same direction as the end wall. The only way I see to support the end wall while I install a header, is to screw to the sides of the top plate and hopefully shore up under those cleats while I slide a header under it...I've opened up many interior walls and installed headers but never on a wall that had rafter running in the same direction with all the end wall weight sitting on top of the plates.

  21. Angie G
    February 21, 2016

    we have a 6lf sliding glass door centered in the middle of a 11lf exterior wall. we have a dog door insert in the slider, which we absolutely hate. wondering waht the possibility that we could move the slider more towards the end of the wall, then put a separate dog door into the wall instead of the insert.
    is that feesible? are there codes for how close the slider can come to the corner of the wall? and how much room do we need to leave between the slider frame and a dog door?

  22. Sarah
    April 8, 2016

    My husband and I have just bought a house. There is a small closet attached to another room beside the room we gave my daughter. She has no closet now, but we want to frame up a small space for a bifold closet door so she can use that. The home inspector said it is a load bearing wall tho. Any more advice would be terrific!

  23. Erin B
    May 12, 2016

    I want to widen a doorway which is right next to a half wall. Both the doorway and the half wall have their own headers sitting on jack studs and their own king stud. I'm wondering if i can widen that doorway opening to the point of the kind stud in the half wall and add a jack stud to the other side of it to hold a 50" or so new header. Basic question, can 1 king stud have a jack stud on either side of it holding headers?

  24. Andrew E
    August 15, 2016

    Could I put in my king support studs and screw a temporary 2x12 beam to the side of them before removing the middle section of the bearing wall?

  25. Sylvie D
    November 6, 2016

    So I have a load bearing wall that has 3 door openings. If I build a wall in one of the openings, essentially eliminating the doorway, can I enlarge another one by the same width?

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