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One thing has led to another...

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by TresK3, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. TresK3

    TresK3 Member

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    Jul 12, 2007
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    Loc:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    It all started with a new kitchen floor...

    Now She wants a pass-through/breakfast bar in the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. This is a load-bearing wall, so I'll need a support beam across the top of the opening. Currently, there's a door at one end and I envision the bar cut into the wall, from the door opening, about 6 feet. The total span should run no more than 8-1/2 feet, depending on how long we decide to make the breakfast bar. Above this is the boys bedroom and part of the hallway (no support walls or major weight).

    I'm thinking of making the beam out of two 2 X somethings, sandwiching a piece of 3/4" plywood. The question is 2 X whats? Do I need 2x8's, 2X10's or 2X12's. I want it plenty strong enough, but I also might want to put in some recessed light fixtures in the header below the beam.

    Thoughts, suggestions or experience??
    Thanks

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  2. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Do the joists in the ceiling run parallel or perpendicular to the wall?? If perp, I wold def hire an engineer.
  3. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Measure the space above your door. That should tell you what dimension lumber was used for that header, but for a bearing wall I wouldn't go less than 2x8s. As long as you use approved framing techniques & build your header correctly, you should be good to go. I assume your internal wall is 2x4 construction. If so your header will be 2 x (X?) sandwiched around a 1/2 piece of plywood to get you to the 3-1/2 inch thickness. Each end should be sitting on a 2x4 jack stud & the ends should be nailed to the full studs...
    Beer Belly, tfdchief and ScotO like this.
  4. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Yes you need to think these things through all the way to the ground (supporting loads). In this instance you are contemplating replacing a spread load configuration (bearing wall) with a point load, beam spanning an opening supported on either end by single or double cripples (depends on local code) also beam size is dependant upon local code. Highly doubtful that the floor will support a point load without blocking being installed to carry (bear) the weight directly down to the foundation (I assume) that supports the floor. Then you need to consider what changes need to be made in the foundation to support these two new point loads. So there is quite a bit to consider & plan correctly for. If you cant find an engineering firm that is willing to look at the situation & make suggestions for carrying the new loads all the way to the ground (small job) try to find a contractor that is experienced & trusted locally to give you their opinion on how to tackle the renovation & support the new loads. Even a rough sketch would be helpful as right now I can only "imagine" how your house is constructed & that is a poor place to offer advice from. Hope this helps.
    PapaDave likes this.
  5. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Start a fire. I mean, burn down the house. Don't let her get going.

    I'd use LVLs. Laminated veneer lumber is awesome to work with. If the joist run perpendicular to the wall you're looking at engineering (as other has mentioned) but it's not that crazy. My last house I cut out 14' of load bearing x 2 floors and pocketed the beam in the ceiling. I hired an engineer and he rubber stamped my own math.
  6. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    About 15 years ago I opened up a 15' span in a center of the house bearing wall to provide wide open space between our living room, dining room and kitchen. I used three 2" x 12" glue-lams bolted and spiked together for the new beam, supported on both ends by a 6" x 6" post. The post on the interior house side of the beam goes through the floor, into the basement, and rests on the house footing. The other end penetrates a cantilevered portion of the house, extends through the floor to the outside, and I put in a hefty footing and steel reinforced concrete pier on which the post rests. Nothing has moved a fraction as best as I can tell, and the opening has been a joy we enjoy every day.
  7. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    The size of 2x's you need should be determined by the length of the opening......
    I always go a tad overboard when I build a header (hence the name overkill), take for instance the beam I used when I took the load wall out of my living room so I could combing the living room and my old master bedroom and make one huge family room. The span was 12 1/2', I used a triple 2x12x14' with plywood sandwiched in between the 2x's, glued and nailed in a specific pattern. That thing is MEGA STRONG. Also, on big spans, put in double or triple jacks at the bordering studs.....makes a better prop for the beam.

    On my 28' span in the kitchen I installed an 8" x 10" steel I beam and cased it with barnwood. It supports the second floor load (floor only, from my master bed, master bath, and laundry room). No flex whatsoever.....

    Doesn't hurt to Overkill it!
    Swedishchef likes this.
  8. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    need more info
    truss roof of rafter??
    is wall supporting joists in center or are joist tails sitting on wall?
    are the walls above in line? actually carrying roof load?
    what is below? wall over beam or floor joists?
    all this info will help determine load wall is carrying and what the beam will sit on
    my house is built with clear span trusses and NONE of the interior walls carry load
    rule of thumb 1" of header height for each 1' of span
    personally I would use 12" header height for anything under 12'
    and if you wanted to make it a clear opening cut the floor joists and recess the new header
    hang joist with hangars use LVL's for this and should consult an engineer
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  9. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    8.5' is a relatively short span, but if need be, for space or height considerations, consider using 1/2 steel plate in between the 2x s for maximun stiffness.

    2 1/2" bolts thru- bolts at each end, and then staggered every foot for the length of the header.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flitch_beam

    A google search of flitch will bring up images.
  10. TresK3

    TresK3 Member

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    Wow... thanks for all the replies.

    To answer most of the questions: the joists run perpendicular to the wall, which is why I assume it is load bearing. The roof is built with rafters that run perpendicular to the wall in question (the ridge line is parallel to, and approximately directly above the wall I want to open up). The rafters rest on the outside walls, so I assume that's what's bearing the roof load. Underneath the wall in question is the garage, with no supports. The wall itself actually has a pocket door in it, which we will remove. Because of this, it appears that the wall is thicker than a typical 2X4 construction, which is why I thought to go with the thicker ply between the beams.

    I hadn't considered that I would be replacing a spread load with a point load. It's not practical to put supports underneath these points, because that would be in the middle of the garage. If an engineer says that's necessary, then the project is off and I can go back to brewing beer.

    Thanks all.
  11. Shane N

    Shane N Feeling the Heat

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    Someone say beer?
  12. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Keep us posted on what the pro says. I'm watching with interest as I'll likely be doing something similar in this place eventually.
  13. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    If the wall is load bearing...The ceiling of the garage should have a beam that supports the load from above. If this is not the case and the wall is truely load bearing my recommendation would be to pretend like you don't know any better and sell the house!;)
  14. TresK3

    TresK3 Member

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    Perhaps I'm mis-using the term "load bearing"; I'm assuming that this wall provides some support for the floor joist on the second floor. I assume this because these joists would span about 23 feet, unsupported, if the wall didn't exist. Is my terminology wrong? Without photos or drawings (I could send these later), does that sound like a valid assumption about one function of this wall?
  15. Shane N

    Shane N Feeling the Heat

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    I'd assume you are probably right with that long of a span. However, with the right joists, you can span 23ft without a load bearing wall. But that probably isn't the case here.
  16. G-rott

    G-rott Member

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    On a pass through you can alleviate the point load problem by Boxing the opening with a header above and below, transferring the load around the opening and back to the stud partition. Keep us posted.

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