02:59PM | 07/13/00
Member Since: 07/12/00
3 lifetime posts
I have a wall between my kitchen & living room - I want to knock out part of the wall - (built in 1925 concrete & Stucco) so I can build a bar.


11:10AM | 11/13/00
Member Since: 11/12/00
2 lifetime posts
First, you'll need to determine if the wall is load bearing or not. If you're working on a one-story house, the answer is in the attic. If the ceiling joists run perpindicular to the wall in question, then the wall is definitely carrying a load and you will need to accomodate for that in your project. Note that even if the joists run parallel to the wall, this doesn't necessarily mean the wall is non load bearing as there may still be a load transferred to the wall via 1) a header above the ceiling joists or 2) bracing for the roof system. Look for these if the ceiling joists aren't resting on the wall.

Assuming that the wall is load bearing supporting joists running in a perpindicular fashion, your best bet is to run a header in the attic perpindicular to the ceiling joists. This header will rest on the two walls at each end of the span. Each of the ceiling joists should be strapped or fastened to the header (ussually 2 2x10s or 2 2x12s fastened to eachother). An attic header is the best way to go assuming you can place and position the header. In a finished house, this is not always feasible. You will have to remove part of the ceiling in order to properly attach the joists to the header, as well as to get the header in the attic in the first place. Once the header is attached and supporting each of the ceiling joists, you can then remove the wall.

The other alternative is to build a room header that ties in to the walls in the room. For this method, you will need to build one or two temporary support walls (with diagonal bracing to prevent sway) depending on the how the ceiling joists rest on the wall (if the wall is in the middle of a span of ceiling joists, one will do; if the joists are coming to the wall from both directions, you will need two temporary support walls. Again, depending on the length of the span, the header should be 2 2x10s or 2 2x12s.

If the distance in question is less than five feet (for instance a doorway), 2 2x6s will work. The main idea with the header is to transfer the load from the ceiling to the walls running parallel with the ceiling joists. The header will run perpindicular to these joists and provide support from either below or above. Depending on your house, this may be practically impossible; if you're not sure about the wall's load bearing factor, you'll want to contact a good framing carpenter; if the house is two-story, it may be necessary to contact a carpenter unless you know for a fact the positioning of the ceiling joists.

[This message has been edited by Ryan (edited November 13, 2000).]

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