Load Bearing Wall Or Not???

 
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Old 01-03-2007, 07:39 PM   #1
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Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


I am a painter by trade but my company has expanded slowly over the years to do light remodeling. I am about to do some wall removal where the homeowner does not want a header between the rooms after the wall comes out. This house is a side split house and the area we are talking about is the side with no upper floors. The homeowner insists it is not a load bearing wall because the roof is built with a frame type trusses. I have had two different people who have a lot of building experience look at it and they both gave a different answer. Myself I feel it should be supported. Right now the plan is to take out the one wall that we know for sure is not load bearing. Next we will put up a support wall to carry the weight "just in case" the wall coming out is load bearing. I figure if the weight shifts to the temp supports we will know quick if we need to plan on a header.

What I want to know is if there is a foll proof way to know ahead of time?
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Old 01-03-2007, 07:43 PM   #2
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


Even though they are trusses, 99.99% of trusses are engineered with a center bearing point in mind. Tread with caution....

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Old 01-03-2007, 07:55 PM   #3
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


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Originally Posted by mdshunk View Post
Even though they are trusses, 99.99% of trusses are engineered with a center bearing point in mind. Tread with caution....
Not where I'm from.
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Old 01-03-2007, 07:59 PM   #4
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


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Not where I'm from.
Okay. I shall amend to "trusses for dwellings". This is sometimes evidenced by a sticker or stamp in the middle of each truss that says "Bearing Point".
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Old 01-03-2007, 07:59 PM   #5
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


Sometimes when a load is not properly supported the failure will show right away. Most of the time the load will settle over time. Basically your job could look good for a while and as stuff settles you could have a big issue.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:03 PM   #6
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


Can you post a picture of the area in question?
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:17 PM   #7
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


I will take a picture of the trusses. Oh yea one more thing to add, the same trusses go over the garage from front to back with no center support at all (two car garage)
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:24 PM   #8
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


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Oh yea one more thing to add, the same trusses go over the garage from front to back with no center support at all (two car garage)
Then there's your answer!
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:27 PM   #9
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


I don't use center bearing on my roof trusses. They generally span 40' - 44' though my truss builder tells me he can go to 70' without interior support.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:32 PM   #10
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


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...though my truss builder tells me he can go to 70' without interior support.
Right, as long as they know that ahead of time. Unless you're buying stock generic trusses, your trusses are designed per your plan, with certain bearing points in mind when they engineer that truss for your house.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:37 PM   #11
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


Quote:
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Then there's your answer!
Hey I was originally in the camp of those saying no header but then someone I trust said otherwise. Thats why I came here to get reinforcing opinions.

Thanks for the help.

B
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:04 AM   #12
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMAN View Post
I am a painter by trade but my company has expanded slowly over the years to do light remodeling. I am about to do some wall removal where the homeowner does not want a header between the rooms after the wall comes out. This house is a side split house and the area we are talking about is the side with no upper floors. The homeowner insists it is not a load bearing wall because the roof is built with a frame type trusses. I have had two different people who have a lot of building experience look at it and they both gave a different answer. Myself I feel it should be supported. Right now the plan is to take out the one wall that we know for sure is not load bearing. Next we will put up a support wall to carry the weight "just in case" the wall coming out is load bearing. I figure if the weight shifts to the temp supports we will know quick if we need to plan on a header.

What I want to know is if there is a foll proof way to know ahead of time?
You could have a structural engineer visit the site to determine whether the wall is load bearing or not.

But based on the message you sent me, the span of the truss is not indicative of one requiring center bearing (26') unless there is above normal loads on the roof. The only thing I would note is that if the trusses were designed for center bearing, the metal connector plates used in the design would be smaller than those used in the design of the same truss designed for non-center bearing. Most truss companies will have their design software set up to "optimize" the plate sizing to use the smallest plate possible to still meet the design criteria and conserve costs.

As you've described it, I can only assume that the trusses do not need the center support, but worst case scenario, you could have a structural engineer review the situation and possibly apply wood gussets (if needed) to the trusses to increase the connection between the wood members and eliminate the need for the center bearing.

Not all truss companies use the WTCA sticker or stamp on the trusses as indicated by mdshunk in a previous posting. It is discretionary as the bearings are indicated on the truss engineering provided to the builder. So you can not use the absence of this stamp or sticker to determine whether the truss requires the bearing.

One other thing to note;
I don't know how old the house is, but the homeowner could contact the local building department and find out if they have archives of the original documentation submitted for permitting when the house was built. If required by your local building department, they may have copies of the engineering for this house.

We maintain copies of the engineering for all the jobs that we design for a period of 7 years. If there is any way of determining who the trusses were purchased from and possibly a job number (normally written somewhere on the trusses' bottom chords, webs, etc..), you could also have them contact the truss company.
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:04 PM   #13
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


Couldn't you tell by looking to see if there are any posts/piers in the crawl space/basement directly under this wall? If not then it's not a bearing wall, right? Or am I way off? (I'm mostly just a drywall monkey, so...)
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:59 PM   #14
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


there are plenty of different ways to find out if the trusses are load bearing. It really depends on the truss company on how they mark trusses on their end. I've had some stamps, I've had plenty that didn't mark JACK. I have a solution for your problem if the wall is load bearing. First of all, I'm not an engineer. The engineer is the only person that can tell you what to do by code and by design to legally change a load bearing structure. What the engineer will probably suggest is that you support the trusses temporarily and then form a header on top of the bearing wall from each end of the opening and use truss buckets to hang in the header above. That will require cutting AND repairing the trusses per new engineering specs. In other words, a lot of work for a little change. Luckily it's really easy to tell whether a wall is bearing or not in Florida. We don't double top plate our non bearing walls here. So if you're in FL and you see a double SYP top plate; then you've got a bearing wall. The reason for that is that when the trusses settle, if they end up settling on a non bearing location it causes the truss deflections to change and the trusses are not engineered to bear in spots that aren't designed for bearing. So, you need to find out about the old truss engineering. A big giveaway as far as looking at them are the webs. If the wall is bearing it will usually have an upright or almost upright web that generally looks like this : \I/
Lemme know what you find out.
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Old 01-04-2007, 07:01 PM   #15
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


also, is there a bearing header in the wall? 2X6 or better? Or is it just top plated and framed with cripple studs across? If its cripple studs, ain't no way it's bearing.
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:34 PM   #16
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


[QUOTE=Fuzzycram;172116] . We don't double top plate our non bearing walls here. So if you're in FL and you see a double SYP top plate; then you've got a bearing wall. The reason for that is that when the trusses settle, if they end up settling on a non bearing location it causes the truss deflections to change and the trusses are not engineered to bear in spots that aren't designed for bearing.
Fuzzycram,I'm not exactly sure I understand you,are you saying you leave all interior walls that aren't bearing 11/2''lower(no double plate) then run rock up past to the ceiling? If so wouldn't any settling cause sheetrock problems? Also how do you fasten your walls without adding blocks, and wouldn't that defeat the purpose? Never seen it done this way,just curious!
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:45 PM   #17
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


The trusses actually look just like the ones on Joshuas avatar picture.
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Old 01-05-2007, 05:13 AM   #18
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


If they look like the one in my picture, then the wall is probably not load bearing. If the trusses were picking the wall up as a bearing point, there would be an "intersection" of webs directly above the wall as Fuzzycram was describing below. There isn't always a vertical web coming off of the bearing point but generally two or more webs meet along the bottom chord directly above the bearing.

At 21' span, I can hardly see the need for a three point bearing truss.
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:38 AM   #19
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


I guess an easy way to rule it out as a bearing wall is if it runs parallel to the floor joists it's almost certainly not a bearing wall.
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Old 01-05-2007, 03:39 PM   #20
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Re: Load Bearing Wall Or Not???


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I guess an easy way to rule it out as a bearing wall is if it runs parallel to the floor joists it's almost certainly not a bearing wall.
Thanks Don but we got that far!

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