Opening in load-bearing wall

BarilSeptember 10, 2013

Hi, I have an interior load-bearing wall splitting my house in two on one half of the main floor (two-story house). The wall is 13 feet long. There is already a doorway cut in it (~3 feet wide) at 4 feet from the exterior wall. I would like to cut a second opening in the remaining 4 feet where my refrigerator will be inserted (and surrounded by walls in the other room).

My question is what size of supporting beam should I use for the header (pine sandwich. 2x8? 2x10?) and if only one jack stud at each end is enough to support it. I know it is best to hire a engineer to do this calculation, and I will, but I'm just curious to get a better idea before he comes.

Upstairs is another supporting wall but which is offset by 2 feet from the one downstair that I am about to cut.

Thanks

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lazy_gardens

"Upstairs is another supporting wall but which is offset by 2 feet from the one downstair that I am about to cut. "

Unless this upstairs wall has some verticals that run all the way to solid ground, it's relying heavily on the floor joists and whatever is holding them up to hold itself and whatever is above it up.

Like this:

_l
l

That can be a weaker structure compared to this:

l_
l

Because you have weight being transmitted through the joists to the lower wall, with a component of anglular force, not a straight downward pressure.

That's snakey to calculate ... very much physics and structural engineering. And materials.

So my better answer is ... the engineer will give you a better answer than anyone who doesn't have an engineering degree and as hands-on exam of the property to see what it's made of and how crumbling it is.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 4:10PM
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weedyacres

We've got a single load-bearing wall down the center of our little cottage, and it had 2 framed doorway openings through it in the kitchen. Neither one had headers or jack studs. We widened the opening to combine the 2, added a double 2x10 header with jack studs and called it good. No engineer was involved; we just figured we were beefing up what hadn't fallen down for 93 years.

The opposite (exterior) wall also had a framed door without header or jack studs. We shifted it over a foot and added the same header configuration.

And yeah, if that upstairs wall is load-bearing (of the roof trusses) and is 2' away from the 1st floor load-bearing wall, that's a problem.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 8:34AM
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worthy

what hadn't fallen down for 93 years.

My engineer tells me that things rarely fall down. They just sag, crack, creak and go askew.

What's appropriate in a simple small cottage is not universally applicable.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 9:57AM
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snoonyb

1st. Where and how is the wall you are opening supported?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 10:09AM
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weedyacres

My engineer tells me that things rarely fall down. They just sag, crack, creak and go askew.

What's appropriate in a simple small cottage is not universally applicable.

I absolutely agree. My post wasn't intended to suggest the OP do what we did, it was to give an example in advance of their appointment with an engineer. Sorry if it came across as prescriptive advice.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 4:44PM
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bcarlson78248

We have a similar house design with a load bearing wall running right down the center from front to back. In our plan to open up the floor plan and widen the doorways the plan shows manufactured beams (laminated?) so that they don't get too tall and reduce the height of the doorways.

The floor joists for my 2nd floor run left to right and from each side they run over and sit on top of the existing load bearing wall. They plan to put up temporary supports, remove the existing wall down the middle of the house, and then replace it with the laminated beam.

We haven't had the plans go to the engineer yet, so the initial beam specs are just based on the projected span and the use of 4x4 posts to support the beam at each end and one point in the middle (total beam length is about 20 feet). The posts will be right on top of the steel I-beam that runs across the basement below.

Bruce

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 10:50AM
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