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Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/10/2015 6:54 PM

Hello CR4 group I'm new to this forum and leaning to get some professional advice whether this is a load bearing wall in my home. I attached a picture for review. My goal is to remove it to create an open floor plan from kitchen to living room area. I have scissor trusses in attic and this wall does run perpendicular to it. I realize this general rule usually implies load bearing but during my inspection in the attic I'm just unsure due to the way it's designed. Perhaps it serves as an intermediate type support that I'm unaware off. Any and all professional feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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#1

Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 6:58 PM

Welcome.

Professional feedback is never assured here, or most other forums either.

What you will get here are the opinions of some smart guys, and maybe a few not-so-smart people. Your task is to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Also, there is no picture.

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#2

Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 7:28 PM
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#4
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Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 7:41 PM

I like very much like your answer, SolarEagle. I like this because it highlights the point that the one picture the OP failed to upload could never answer the stated question. So very often an untrained eye giving trained individuals images leads nowhere. While a trained eye accurately describing a puzzle can lead others similarly trained to properly fill in the gaps.

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#3

Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 7:36 PM

If some elements of each truss meet at a point that sits on the wall, chances are the wall is essential. If the wall just touches somewhere midway along the truss chords, chances are the wall is not needed. Those are only rough guides; it would be best to get a brief consultation from a structural engineer; or, if there is a wood truss manufacturer nearby, you might ask them. In addition to any pictures, you should get accurate dimensions, including nailing details.

If the trusses do need support where the wall is, you might be able to put a beam there, even including an intermediate column or two if they don't disrupt your overall plan.

Also don't forget what your local building codes and permits may require.

[Added] Solar's intervening post shows pictorially what I was describing.

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#5

Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 7:46 PM
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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 7:58 PM

Thanks to all who have replied. I'm trying to figure out how to upload couple pics on this site and for the life of me not sure how...?

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#7
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Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 8:04 PM

Use jpg format and chrome browser.....click on green camera in toolbar at top of posting window....

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#9
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Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 8:06 PM

It may depend on your browser. The window in which you compose CR4 replies has a menu bar above with a green camera icon, which allows you to insert images, if the browser supports that.

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#8

Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 8:05 PM

Thanks to all who have replied. I'm trying to figure out how to upload couple pics on this site and for the life of me not sure how...?

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#10

Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 8:21 PM

Here are pics of the wall. Standing from the living room facing kitchen and view from kitchen facing out look towards living room. Hope this brings more perspective

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#11
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Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 8:42 PM

Useless without attic structure pictures....

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#12
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Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 9:28 PM

That looks very much like a load bearing wall to me.

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#14
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Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/11/2015 1:57 AM

If so, there seems to be some odd cantilevering over the open section with the oblique corner above. The photos don't really show enough to deduce with confidence what the above-ceiling structure is.

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#19
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Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/11/2015 10:07 AM

My sentiments exactly.

Only an on-site inspection by a competent person could provide the correct/safe answer to the OP's questions and then recommend the correct method of executing whatever structural changes that can be done to the home.

I bought a home that was butchered by an incompetent DIY wannabe carpenter then ended up being structurally condemned and auctioned off as a demolition only site.

He removed the center load bearing wall and using 1/2 OSB transferred all of the weight to an inner wall three feet away from the old wall centerline which did not have any support structure under it.

The 3/4" T&G plywood floor was sagging almost 4 inches under the newly loaded wall and two of the 6" floor joists had ruptured.

I presented my repair plan along with structural drawings and was able to avoid demoing the home.

I installed a 3" x 10" laminated beam under the entire length of the newly loaded wall (in the crawl space) and replaced the broken joists then it took about 10 weeks of slowly jacking the wall back into place to get the house back into sound structural integrity condition without causing further damage.

Once I got the floor back to level I had to remove all of the outside wall sheetrock and about 75% of the inner walls in order to access the wall plate and studs to repair the structural damage.

I also had to replace several broken and cracked inner and outer wall studs.

I then had to go into the attic and install deck screws to stabilize the top wall plates and truss joints.

I also had to remove and replace most of the footers and stem walls which had also suffered severe cracking and movement.

I also had to remove and replace half of the roof deck and all shingles on the North side of the house above the damaged floor area because the stress had caused cracks in the roofing allowing water seepage induced rot and mildew in the plywood.

The house passed inspection so I avoided having to demolish it.

I did most of the work myself with some occasional hired help and saved a very large amount of money over hiring a contractor to do the work but I would not ever go through that again.

It would have been much easier and a lot cheaper to have demoed the house and built a new one on the site.

Due to my work schedule on projects and very limited days off it has taken me 5 years to restore/remodel the house to 95%.

I will finish it by mid January 2016 and I am very ready for the final day. YEAH!

My advice to the OP is to hire a competent structural person to inspect the home and render sound advice.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/11/2015 10:21 AM

Your story brings up a very important point for the OP. Just because a wall now seems to be or not be a load bearing wall from the floor plan, doesn't mean a sloppy remodeling job didn't alter the structural loading of a house.

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#13
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Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/10/2015 10:25 PM

The point the OP is failing to grasp here is that the wall and ceiling sheet rock hide the "unsightly" structural elements of a building. Since an attic space will rarely hide the structural pieces a trained eye can imply which covered walls beneath the attic are mere room separators and which walls prevent the building from collapsing. In some buildings one can deduce this information from examining how loads are transferred to the ground. In both cases one cannot tell at all the load supported by a wall without knowing what is above and/or below that wall. This is one of those times only a trained eye on site can possibly tell what is or is not happening.

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Is this a Load Bearing wall in vaulted ceiling home

12/11/2015 7:14 AM

I will try to get some pictures from the attic to post. Thanks everyone for their input.

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#16

Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/11/2015 7:59 AM

Those columns in one of the door ways would lead me to believe it's load bearing.

If they are just for decoration don't have much of an appeal to me.

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#27
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Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/14/2015 8:15 AM

My first thought exactly after seeing the pic's. I can't see any one leaving the column if it wasn't necessary. It's a lot of work to finish it off as it has been done.

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#28
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Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/14/2015 5:31 PM

In a closer look at the pictures. The walls are ran all the way to the roof joists. You can see the angle of the roof above the door. Also the peak of the roof in the top left of the picture Solar righted. So I would say all the walls are load bearing.

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#17

Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/11/2015 8:56 AM

The first thing I do, even before looking in the attic, is look in the basement or crawl space if it has one.

A bearing wall is invariably supported over beams or walls below, with the exception of minor offsets or when there are "king walls" below, which is a pair of walls (like a hallway) that are close enough that the joists between can transfer the load.

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#18

Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/11/2015 9:49 AM

Contact your local building inspector and have him come out to inspect your building. That should be free.

Doing anything else is just a recipe for the Darwin award.

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#21
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Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/11/2015 1:40 PM

That and it is likely that the work they are wanting to do would require a permit anyway, and any permit for a wall removal would require a professional assessment as part of the submittal documents.

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#22

Re: Is This a Load-bearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/12/2015 9:32 AM

A lot of very good answers and advice by others, so I won't duplicate them. The uploaded pics don't tell us squat. You need to open up the ceiling, pop you head up into the attic space with a flashlight, and verify that the bottom chord of the scissors truss bears directly on the top plate of the wall.

If you see truss web members (they'll be diagonally oriented) intersecting the bottom chord member with metal gusset plates on both side of the chord, then it's very probable that the truss bears onto the wall thereby making the wall a Load Bearing one.

Is this a prefabricated "modular" home? I sure looks like one. If yes, there is a strong chance that a center wall (actually doubled-up walls, one for each modular half), such as this may be, is a bearing wall where the 2 halves of the house, and thus 2 independent trusses are inclusive, abut one another longitudinally....

I agree, hire a Licensed Structural Engineer, if you see the aforementioned condition, to design a new beam and support columns.

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Captmoosie, P.E.

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#23

Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/12/2015 10:01 AM

Such questions can be answered by local artichet who can visit the site and after inspection can give his advice. If you are trying to save the cost of consulting local man, you will incur more expenses if wrong advice is given to you from remote location.

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#24
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Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/13/2015 7:08 AM

An architect?

That's like consulting a hairdresser about a brain tumor!

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#25
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Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/13/2015 9:51 AM

Brahahhahahahah! You're quite correct Wal.

You wouldn't believe the number of times over the years, where I've been called in to fix a Clusterf*k structural problem, because some Architect thought that he/she knew how to perform structural design. Don't get me going, unless you have an entire to listen to me rant...

They only know the bare bone basics.

Ahhhhhh Archies, essentially "Frustrated Artists".....

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#26

Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/13/2015 10:49 AM

Having done this in my own home, this is my experience: hire a structural engineer. The local jurisdiction would not take any responsibility for anything except collecting the permit fee. That included the final inspection. In our case he designed a steel beam to replace the load bearing wall. I persuaded the contractor to let me assist in the installation which gave me a real education. The bearing wall for the columns needed to be beefed up. A steel beam spec'd by the engineer was then fitted with wood headers to hang the metal joist hanger to by drilling through the the web for bolts. This probably is not necessary for your project. Before the day of installation, I removed non structural materials from around the site of installation. About 2 feet of ceiling was removed from the wall joint area. On the day of installation, a temporary wall to support the structure was installed, the steel beam component moved into place on the floor, a second temporary wall was installed, then the columns were installed, finally the beam was jacked into place. In our case, 5 men lifted it into place. In your instance I am sure a lacking system would be necessary. The beam was fastened into place and the the temp walls removed. We were done in about 6 hours on the day of installation, with only finish work remaining after the engineer inspected and certified the installation to his design. Costs I am sure will vary by location but about 6 years ago we spent less tha $10,000.

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#29

Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/15/2015 3:19 AM

Given your description - scissor truss - it is unlikely to be load bearing. A scissor truss only supports at the ends. Is it really a full scissor truss ?

Given the photos and the slenderness of the wall - height to width ratio - it is unlikely to be load bearing. Too high for brick. Probably stud wall ?

Given the change of angle of the wall and the large openings, it is unlikely to be load bearing. The decorative columns are no wider than the wall ; they are probably decorative.

However, the brief description and photos mean that the word "unlikely" is highly uninsureable. And the wall may be supporting the ceiling. Who knows ?

It is worthwhile considering removing the wall. Obtaining a proper structural assessment is essential.

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#30

Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/17/2015 5:32 AM

Do not rely on an anonymous international forum on this matter.

Consult a qualified local Structural Engineer. The fee is worth it for the indemnity that this individual's assessment and report can bring.

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#31

Re: Is This a Loadbearing Wall in Vaulted Ceiling Home?

12/17/2015 11:34 PM

I agree entirely with Wal and CaptMoosie's opinion of us architects! I wouldn't dream of giving an opinion, and from what I've read, suggest that most others remain silent too!! The only positive suggestion I've read is to establish if the wall is brick, but even if it isn't, there could be a central vertical member in a stud wall that's crucial to the structure. If it's brick, but only 110mm thick, it's hardly likely to be load-bearing. I agree a genuine scissors truss doesn't require central support, but you never know! For Pete's sake Fade20, get yourself a structural engineer. What's an hour of professional fees in the greater scheme of things??

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