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Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 2:18 PM

I want to create an open concept between living room and kitchen. I have a vaulted ceiling and there is a short wall and I am not sure if its considered load bearing. I am including a picture.

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#1

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 2:27 PM

I am not sure that is not already considered to be open concept. You must REALLY mean open concept, like outdoor concept. I do not believe that the thin column is a load bearing one. Is there buried steel in that thin column (magnetic?)

If dimensions of the thin column is more like a 2x8, or less, I would not say load bearing, since it would buckle or bow severely.

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#2

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 2:33 PM

It's probably not load bearing, merely stability for the end of the short wall, or a possible wire run up to the ceiling lights. X-ray vision would help to see how that column is connected in the ceiling.

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#3

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 2:43 PM

can you check the basement or crawl space underneath it?

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#4

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 2:55 PM

I agree that wall has to go....There could be electrical or plumbing in the column on the end, so check first....There also appears to be an air duct at the bottom and a receptacle...not an easy job.....the duct is designed to blow across the room at floor level....could you leave a raised section at the bottom? That way you could just drop the receptacle and maybe the duct a little....

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 3:04 PM

Maybe he or she could make an island right there, and still count as open?

I am willing to bet good money, there is a kitchen sink on the opposite side of that divider wall panel, cabinets, and wires, and the duct, and a lot of plumbing.

Funny thing about the houses, they never can be easy, musha rag um durram ada, whack fol the daddy-o, whack fol the daddy-o. There's Whiskey in the Jar.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 3:30 PM

Yeah I'm thinking the light switch next to the door is for the kitchen....Where's the refrigerator? We need another pic from the other side of that wall....Maybe a floorplan....How much of the wall do you plan on taking out? Draw on the picture and 'x' out the wall portion to be removed....

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#7

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 3:40 PM

Hard to say, could go either way.

Do you have access to the architectural drawings of your house? Otherwise you may have to perform some examinations on what is inside that wall running up to the ceiling. If it has a thick wooden or steel beam in it then it is very likely structural.

If structural you still may be able to remove the walls around it and then try and blend the support beam in to the background by (I don't know) mounting some plants or something on it and turn it into a feature.

Other alternatives would require talking to a professional builder (such as moving the load bearing element into and along the ceiling and down to alternative load bearing beams).

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#8

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 3:59 PM

Normally I would say to compare your unfinished basment or attic space for a better idea on what walls are load bearing but I see that won't do with the vaulted ceiling and apparent finished lower floor. I'm very suspicious of that column at the end of the wall. The only things I can think of residing in that column (vent stack, power feed, load support, AC or heating plumbing) all imply that wall should remain. I suspect if that beam didn't have to be there then it wouldn't be there in the first place.

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#9

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 4:04 PM

That "wall" is a non-load bearing partition.

How could it be anything else, unless the clear portion is transparent Aluminum.

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#10
In reply to #5

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 4:18 PM

On the other side is the refrigerator and a tall cabinet. No sink or water. I do plan on putting an island there. I can keep the duct work by just mounting it a little lower.

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#11
In reply to #5

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 4:22 PM

There is just a refrigerator and cabinet on the other side. I want to remove the wall and rearrange the cabinets and put an island in the center. The only thing that should be in the wall is electrical and a cold air return and I can move that lower so its still there.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 5:44 PM

Well you don't want to expose the backside of the refrigerator....

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#13

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 9:27 PM

Welcome to CR4 Steven

The back wall between the staircases is load bearing. And as SE mention, you'll have to relocate the refrigerator. and if you have an ice maker, chances are there's a water line in that wall partition along with the electrical and return air duct.

What I can see from the picture, the "4x4" vertical post is to only stabilize the wall partition.

You have your work cut-out for you buddy! Have fun and post some pictures of your build (good or bad).

On a side note, I prefer Bud Light, myself

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#14

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 11:19 PM

You need to get up into the ceiling and see if the "post" is fixed to a rafter.
Is the post fitted through the plaster?

You will be amazed at how much "load bearing" a simple "post" like that can produce.
You need to get up into the ceiling and see the size of the transverse beam.
If that post is "half-way" and it is removed, the whole ceiling will dip after a period of time. "Wood gives."
You can put a wire restrainer in the ceiling to replace the post. That's what I did. It all depends on how much "head-room" you have. You would need at least 600 to 900 for that span.

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#15

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/07/2017 11:25 PM

I'd be careful here. I notice that there are an up and down stairs right there. That means that both the upper and lower floors have the support beams cut out to allow for the stairs. Regardless of how flimsy that wall looks, it very well could be supporting the upper floor/attic/ceiling beams. There might be a corresponding wall on the floor below. Any time you have stairs interrupting the joists, you need some other kind of support. Especially with up & down stairs side-by-side. Be sure you carefully check it out without guessing. Don't assume that "built to code" will cover you here. You never really know who built it, unless you built it yourself.

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#16

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 6:03 AM

Looking at the picture you have stairs going down, look under the wall to see if it goes right down, if it doesn't it's not load bearing, I can see that the vaulted ceiling is resting on the wall which is angled at the top, If this were load bearing I couldn't see it staying put, I would bet that there is load bearing ridge that is buried in the roof if there isn't the roof would push the walls out..

Bazzer.

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#17

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 7:28 AM

As others have said, and in my opinion, it is nothing more than a post to stabilize the wall, and maybe act as a service duct, To be load bearing you should be able to see signs of substantial cross-beams needed to carry the load above.

If you can't see anything from looking above by going upstairs, cut a small hole in the ceiling at the post to see what it is holding up.

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#18

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 8:56 AM

Steven1955,

Generally, cathedral or vaulted ceilings use a central beam at the high point, extending from end to end with or without supporting posts (pillars) under this beam. A structural post that is placed away from the beam would require considerable design work to make it work. I strongly doubt that this post to the ceiling is structural to the support of the ceiling.

I agree with others that the post is present to stabilize the wall, which has upper cabinets attached to one side and is thus subject to a tipping force. When you remove the upper cabinets the tipping force is also removed, so removing the post is no longer a major problem.

Regarding the wiring, electricians will generally go from below for plugs and similar power, and go to the above only for switches that control lights in the ceiling. You have information that will clarify this.

Regarding plumbing, a sink's drain vent pipe does not have to run upwards. There are specific methods for running the vent down to the floor and then reattaching it to the plumbing stack in a nearby location--these are code approved. Again, the framing of a vaulted or cathedral ceiling usually is not well suited to running a vent pipe. The simplest way to verify this is to look at the roof (assuming that it is directly above this area) to see if a vent pipe sticks through the roof there.

All-in-all, I suggest you find a friend who does this type of work and ask for their opinion, and be willing to pay for their time to do this.

--John M.

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#19

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 9:10 AM

It's bearing the load of drywall and paint.

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#20
In reply to #4

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 10:08 AM

A couple of things are not known about the duct or it's placement:

Positive or negative pressure ? Designed to draw or push into a directed area. In the construction aspect : is there a subfloor ? Is the duct between a floor and sealed subfloor ? Is duct encased in a concrete floor. Different things equals different costs to make changes. A careful inspection, on site, would be required.

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#21
In reply to #18

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 11:11 AM

I say find a friend tell him to knock out the post whilst you film it, (from outside), you will either get a good laugh to put on the internet or an open plan room.

Bazzer

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#22
In reply to #9

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 11:19 AM

The column can be load bearing. Had a neighbor who made that mistake and was lucky not to lose part of his roof. He ended up having to add a 16" beam the full length of his house.

Check the crawlspace under the column and if it has a footing, it is load bearing. Then call a local civil engineer to determine what needs to go into the overhead to carry the load.

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#23

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 11:50 AM

The visible span could be large enough to require small steel columns, depending on the design loading of the roof, and whether the strucure is in a high-wind, or a snow-load, location...

Try to track down the roof framing plans (at the local building safety office) and/or the conditions/calculations of the original Construction/Building Permit, to be more sure...

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#24
In reply to #18

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 1:00 PM

Thanks for the info. I pounded on that post going up to the ceiling and it actually wobbles like there is not much to it. Your info was the most informative and made the most sense so thank you again.

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#25

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/08/2017 3:10 PM

Welcome to CR4! You got great responses! Please post pictures/description(s) of your experience, as you go or after you're finished. Hope the project goes as smoothly as a remodeling project can go.

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#26

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/09/2017 10:29 PM

Assuming you can't locate a copy of the architectural drawings, I would suggest treating it as a load bearing wall. Shore it up while you demolish that wall, and if it turns out to be loadbearing then replace it with a laminated curved arch that matches your wood flooring.

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#27
In reply to #9

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/09/2017 10:49 PM

Answer of the day.

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#28

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/09/2017 11:55 PM

Load bearing ..? where are you located? Here in California, load bearing must be calc'd also, with Earthquake load and forces in mind...Where is the shear in the upper level? You could make this load bearing, in a vaulted ceiling, BUT, you would need a huge beam above, (could be buried in the upper roof area , if you care to furr out all the roof rafters,} going all the way to each end of the room, with large posts and seismic hold downs on the posts that go below to a large structural foundation, and above with necessary steel to handle the shear loads of a very high placed beam, center of gravity coming into play.

We have done huge vaulted ceilings out of normal rafter/ceiling joist constructed houses, but the end walls and posts must bypass the loads that the intermediate joists and rafters would normally handle. We have also used solid rod ceiling joist collar ties, with threaded ends, at a determined distance of the chord, and tightened accordingly.

Sorry for the spotty and imprecise post, but we have wild fires here in Ojai, and there is a new one across the way, according to wife. I am sure the problem will be addressed properly with the talent on this board..Mac

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#29

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/10/2017 5:46 AM

The short wall will be brick or concrete if it is loadbearing. If it is not, it may be hollow. It does not need to be loadbearing unless there is another wall in the floor above. Why are there two levels to the floor? In a fully open room, the risk of tripping will be high.

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#30
In reply to #26

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/10/2017 6:38 AM

People aren't looking at the picture, there is a post which looks to be 100mm x 125mm at most, the rest of the wall is open at the top to allow light to the stairwell, it's a partition wall something to back whatever is on the other side.

Bazzer

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/10/2017 10:49 AM

I agree that many here are not looking at the one picture. However, I would never say with certainty a wall is or is not load bearing from one picture, particularly one picture of an atypical wall that reveals very little of the building floor plan. I admit that some clever hidden architectural work must be performed above or below that pillar for it to be a structural load bearing item but this begs another question. Why was that pillar placed there at all? Regardless of this wall being part of the original design or a remodeling result that pillar is there for a reason. That reason is not obvious to me from this picture. The only plausible suggestion for why that pillar exists is to support the cantilever torque of freestanding cabinetry hidden by the wall. This is just one possibility for why that pillar exists.

Now if somebody here had recognized the building architecture (Solar Eagle) I would apply more weight to their opinion but that's all we can give is opinions.

The OP should contact an architect, building inspector, reputable contractor or structural engineer to examine the building in person and not a single picture to determine if this wall can affordably be removed.

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#32

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/10/2017 11:31 AM

What is the worst that can happen if you just take the post out ?

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#33
In reply to #29

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/10/2017 12:41 PM

I didn't notice that it's only a pillar. Unless it's steel, I can't see it as adequate to do more than anchor the part-wall.

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#34

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/11/2017 12:00 AM

Was this a new house when you bought it, and were you the only qwner?

If not, I suspect that a previous owner may have made some modifications. The numerous changes in floor elevations lead me to that conclusion. A home that I owned had similar elevation changes where a previous owner attempted to convert a former porch area into part of the living room.

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#35

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/11/2017 7:15 AM

The building looks relatively new, therefore a suite of construction drawings, together with load assessment calculations, will be on file with the Local Authority in pursuit of building regulations compliance during the construction phase. If one is not the original client for the construction works, then reviewing a copy of these documents will determine the answer, for that is why these documents are held there.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/11/2017 9:31 AM

I wonder if steven1955 resides in a location with a Local Authority having an obligation to keep such records? If so, perhaps he needs that authority's advice and approval and he might talk to them now and resolve all this.

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#37
In reply to #4

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/11/2017 10:12 AM

All good points. It is sure that there is some electrical in the wall, just how it all connects can only be found out by demolition (or some partial) or possibly some type of scan. The air outlet might just be a cold air return. If so, that can be replaced by a floor grate, unless that is unacceptable to the OP. Cannot tell if there is any plumbing in the wall as we cannot see the full kitchen set up, or if more than one level on the house (highly unlikely thought) just might be some water,drain, vent pipes (take a look at the roof for any vent outlet) in it as well.

Before the OP starts to go whole hog, further investigation should be done. A few holes (that can be patched) and a look in with a camera will likely tell the OP just what will be required, aside from the load bearing aspect. Structural changes are usually the easiest to come up with-by a registered PE or equal, even though they may be costly, but all the rest create more cost in the long run, at least that has been my experience.

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#38
In reply to #23

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/11/2017 12:20 PM

The gap above most of the wall in question does indicate that almost all of said wall is a partition wall.

However, the longitudinal centerline of the structure cross section, lateral to said wall, is not discernable from the photo provided.

So, a salient question emerges as to whether or not there is a column, or exterior wall, located to correspond to said column, but on the opposite side of the longitudinal centerline. If there is such a corresponding column, then it may well be a primary load beaing column.

One solution would be to cut into the base of the wall, as low as possible to the floor, and simply see if the column in question is either wood, or steel...

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#39
In reply to #28

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/11/2017 5:36 PM

Years ago, in the course of my job-related travels, I took a few classes at (Telegraph Tech), so I have a little familiarity with your general area...

Every few/dozen/twenty years or so ago, the Santa Ana Winds would kick up, and aggravate any brush fires, but were allowed to (clean out) the underbrush before the fires could get too close to (any developed areas), but this time, it looks different...

It used to be that the underbrush was low enough to leave the relatively tall trees still standing. But this time, the underbrush seems to have grown high enough to endanger the taller trees too, which in turn, promotes embers being carried even farther than usual...

Here's hopin' the fire doesn't get to your property...

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/11/2017 9:06 PM

It was a close call.. got back yesterday, and all is well, but very dirty...

Fire suppression, not allowing clear burns, and restriction of harvesting dead trees have all contributed to high fuel loads in our mountains.

Some people seem to feel that we have no right to interfere with "Natures' Process", yet they don't mind building roads, driving cars, owning tractors and planting food crops, and flying in airplanes, all which are not "Natural"...Off topic, for sure...

The Indians had it right, as they clear- burned the chaparral out of the bottoms, removed the fast burning stuff, allowed the charcoal to enrich the soil, and allowed the large trees light and air circulation, also resulting in more animal habitat..Oh well..

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#41
In reply to #36

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/12/2017 6:00 AM

Steven has said that the post wobbles so not load bearing, take it down, do yourself a favour cut a piece of the cladding away & you will be able to see what's behind it and I think you'll find a wood post.

Bazzer

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#42

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/12/2017 7:04 AM

Still on this?

I've been through every inch of thousands of homes in every state of construction.

I can give a layout of that home looking at that one picture.

It's a 3 bed / 2 bath split level with a concrete crawlspace under the area shown.

And no load bearing wall.

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/12/2017 8:59 AM

Ding, ding, ding. We finally have somebody who recognizes the architecture.

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#44
In reply to #42

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/12/2017 9:21 AM

Having looked at only this one picture I can tell at a glance that the split level is the floor..... with a shallow step ......that is easy to trip over and pitch headlong down the stairs.

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/12/2017 9:31 AM

I noticed the split level appearance here and going into kitchen from den. Not a good design at all, and I totally agree about the trip hazard. What was the architect thinking?

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#46
In reply to #40

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/12/2017 11:44 AM

Quite so, and I'm glad you're safe.

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#47
In reply to #45

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/12/2017 3:11 PM

Sunken living room craze?

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/12/2017 3:29 PM

if you cut a hole in the floor, gives a whole entire new meaning to "bow window".

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#49
In reply to #42

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/13/2017 7:17 AM

Why wood you have stairs down to a crawlspace? Like I've said I don't think people are looking at the picture, there's a short handrail going down to a landing & I bet another set of stairs going down under the set that go up.

Bazzer.

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Load Bearing Wall?

12/13/2017 8:02 AM

! they wouldn't.

The stairs would go down to a half basement.

There may yet be another set bringing you bellow the living room, but then, I'd be speculating that there was an attached garage, and I'm not feeling that.

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