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Any of you ever replace a load bearing wall with a post/beam setup?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by stee6043, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I bet there are a handfull of folks on this board with direct experience on this topic:

    What I'm hoping to get is a ballpark cost to have a pro review, design and install a new beam where there is currently a load bearing wall.

    I'm in the midst of a basement renovation and while opening up the last wall I want to remove I realized that the main beam of my house does not continue all the way accross like I thought it did. Instead, there is a jog and the beam ends. This pesky wall I want/need to remove turns out to be load bearing which I could not see until the drywall came off.

    I don't think this will be a monumental task by any means. It's a 14' wall supporting engineered floor joists going rougly 14' to each side of the wall. I doubt a set of 3 2x10's or 12's will do the trick here but one engineered truss or I beam shouldn't break the bank. The biggest question mark for me right now is the footing issue. I have no clue what someone would charge to cut concrete, dig, and pour new footings.

    Any thoughts from the board on this topic? My plan would be to build the temporary walls myself and let the pro's come in and remove the existing wall, pour footings and install the new beam. I'm just curious if I can ballpark this cost before going out and getting firm quotes later this month. Thanks for any thoughts you guys might have.

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  2. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    very doable, 14 foot is a short span. a couple of pics will help. if the wall is supporting the beam it might be on a footer or thickened slab. you might have to cut the floor joist and insert the beam between the joists, add hangers etc to maintain headroom. I would try to go with a micro lam beam it will be much easier to attach to than steel.
    engineered floor joists help the situation, they will usually span more than dimensional lumber.
    off the top of my head to span 16 feet supporting live load you would need a triple 2x14 micro lam so you can probably be a little smaller.
  3. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the reply. I just might take a few photos this evening for kicks. The existing 2x6 wall is curently supporting a "beam" of 3 2x6's. I'd certainly prefer use a new wood beam over steel if I can find something that will fit in the area I have available. One additional constraint I have is that my HVAC main trunk lines run on either side of the wall. So I have roughly 6" of space for the new beam between the duct work.

    Another concern I came up with last night was how to temporarily support the floor joists. I'll be 20" or more on either side of the existing wall before I can land temp walls based on the HVAC duct work. I'm a bit concerned that I might get some movement in the joists being this far away from the current wall. My second floor is being supported directly above the wall I'm looking to replace.

    Again, I'm sure the pro's will have plenty of ideas but I'm also trying save as much money as possible here! In my basement renovation budget there were approximately zero dollars allocated to this wall issue.
  4. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    20 inches back on each side is no big deal, I would allow 4 feet between the walls to have room to work. If I am reading correctly the floor joist are 1 piece so I would not worry about movement.
    build your temporary walls, I would make them plus 1/8-1/4 tall to lift floor / pre load slightly. other possibility build 2 small beams, use bottle jacks to raise everthing do all your work, lower onto new beam. Make sure to check joist for flatness it almost sounds like the wall may of been an after thought from some settling. Remove existing beam, slide new lam beam in place, king and double jack stud the ends, remove temp walls letting floor settle onto new beam. Pretty straight foward. Oh and when you build your temp walls make sure you can get the beam in between them or lay beam on floor where needed before building walls. the duct work might actually help hide the taller beam. good luck.
    still a couple pics will help, what on each end of the wall??
  5. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I plan to get the rest of the drywall off tomorrow to fully expose the wall and ceiling in the area. I'll definitely take some photos and I do appreciate the feedback so far, Ironpony. Very helpful.

    The home was built in 2003 and this wall (and the finished basement) was part of the original construction. I'm assuming the decision to make the room wall load bearing was based on cost. But if the basement had not been finished I'm also assuming they would have used a beam and left the span unobstructed. Perhaps that's a big assumption to make?

    The load bearing wall ends at my foundation at one end and the other is at the same point as the main beam that continues on, but they are 2' apart +/-. That's the "jog" I referenced above.

    I wish I could turn this into a complete DIY project yet. But no matter what happens with the beam/wall the footing issue will remain. I don't think I'm lucky enough to have a footing/thickened slab under this wall unless that's code. But I've been assuming the load bearing wall spreads the load enough to get by with a 4" slab. Is that another assumption I may not need to make?
  6. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    if there was no wall the beam would of had a support post or had to of been a larger beam to span 14 feet.
    the end on the foundation end would be sitting on the basement wall footer so king jack studs would be O.K. on thst end
    a post on the other end by the jog might be sufficient
    not sure of code there but a 4 inch slab woulnd not be O.K.
  7. Mr A

    Mr A Minister of Fire

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    The bearing wall should have some footing support beneath that can be used tom support your new posts and beam. It would be a good idea to have a engineer come out and take a look.
  8. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Yes indeed. I finally got the rest of the drywall off yesterday. About 10' of the wall is very clearly running over a footing. The wall sole plate is below top of floor by about 1" (actually embedded in the concrete). The 4' of the wall closest to the foundation wall has the sole plate on the slab and I'm assuming this is being supported by the main footing running below the foundation wall.

    I still owe pictures. And yes, I'm still inclined to have a structural engineer review this. My goal would be to avoid cutting and pouring new footings if at all humanly possible!

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