Q&A / 

Cut Load Bearing Wall Stud

David Roll lives in a very new home in Battle Ground, WA that had a water line MELT and caused a flood. You'll not believe Dave's story. Here it is unedited:

"Hi Tim.  I am in a brand new home for 1.25 yrs.  House flooded this past weekend, significant damage.

Plumber cut open wall to find issue.  What he found was the the gas fireplace was missing the rear exhaust vent cap.  The hvac installer had removed rear cap of direct vent Hearth & Home DV3732SBI but vented it out the top exhaust.  The excessive heat melted the PEX waterline in the adjacent wall causing it to rupture.

We also noticed that the exhaust pipe was run through a load bearing wall and about a 1-foot section of the stud was cut out, just handing there with out support.  My question is, was is it okay to cut out a load bearing stud like this or should they have framed it in or something?  And, do you have any assessments of thoughts regarding the missing exhaust cap?  Since i can only attach one photo, the load bearing stud one is attached."

You can see the cut stud above the pipe. What kind of IDIOT builder would allow this to happen? Photo credit: David Roll

Dave, that one missing wall stud would not cause me to loose sleep. Should they have installed a header and done it right? Of course. Can you still do it? It looks like you can wiggle in a 2x6 header and get the job done. But I say that without knowing the clearance specifications for this fireplace from wood framing.

You better get the WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS from the manufacturer and VERIFY that the correct exhaust piping was used and it's installed correctly - including the missing exhaust cap!


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