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StructuralEng
StructuralEng, Consultant
Category: Structural Engineering
Satisfied Customers: 6681
Experience:  Structural Engineer
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I want to open up the wall between my kitchen and living room.

Customer Question

I want to open up the wall between my kitchen and living room. The wall is load bearing. The joists are 2x4 16 inch oc and the attic is non storage non occupied. The attic does hold the HVAC ducts, electrical wires, insulation, and 1/2 inc plywood decking 3 feet wide down the center of the house. The rafters are 2x4 4/12 pitch 24 inch oc with asphalt shingles. The house is in Texas so no snow load. I do not know the wind load. The clear span is 12 feet. Please tell me what size LVL beam I need to replace the stud wall.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Structural Engineering
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
Hello
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
What is the joist length on each side of the beam?
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
Is this supporting the attic only?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Joist length is 14 inches on each side of wall. The wall is supporting the attic only. The attic contains HVAC ducting electrical wiring and a 1/2 inch plywood deck 3 feet wide over the top of the wall (down the center of the attic).
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
There is no additional storage in the attic..
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
14"? The length is only 14 inches? Are you sure about that?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Did you mean what is the size of the rooms on either side of the bearing wall to be replaced by the LVL beam? If this is the question, one side (living room) has joist length of 20 ft) the kitchen has joist length of 8 feet. The joist ends opposite the load bearing wall rest on outside walls.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Initially, I thought you meant how much of the joist overlaps the wall (LOL)!
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
No. The span of the joists. That will determine the load on the beam.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
There is a 2x4 spanning 20'?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The spans are as stated above ,20 feet for living room and 8 feet for the kitchen.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
You can plan for a triple 2x12 doug-fir no. 2.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Yes! The ceiling attached to the 2X4s is made of 1x4 T&G. There are 8- 20 foot 2x4s with 1x4 T&G boards attached!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
One end rests on the bearing wall between the kitchen and LR the other end rests on the outside wall.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I would prefer to use an LVL beam if possible.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
5.25" x 9.25" 2.0E LVL
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I just went out to look into the attic. The 20 foot span is attached to a 2x4 in the middle of the span which is attached to a rafter above it.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The rafters are also 2x4's 24" oc.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
Can you post a picture?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Sure. it will take a few minutes.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
we are now experiencing severe TSMs I must log off I will up load photos when the weather clears.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
Ok. Be safe.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Finally, here is the photo I took tonight. I just added a Sony photo management system and it is not as user friendly as I thought. But here it is, The vertical 2x4s are attached to the rafters and at the midpoint of the 20 foot ceiling joist span. as I stated earlier, the ceiling is comprised of 1x4 T&G boards and also acoustic ceiling tiles. This house was built in 1954. The lumber is all old growth Loblolly Pine from East Texas. The house sits on a perimeter concrete knee-wall foundation with the middle support beam resting on circular concrete piers 18 inches in diameter. The central floor beam which sits about 2 feet to the living room side of the wall which I am removing is a 4x6 yellow pine beam. I am having the two additional concrete piers installed under this beam and having the entire house re leveled before beginning any structural changes.. The floor joists are 2x6s 24 inch oc. The floors are red oak over Loblolly Pine T&G boards. I have only seen very small tight knots in any of the framing lumber! FYI, the walls are covered on both sides of the 2x4 framing with 1x4 x 8 T&G Loblolly pine boards attached at 45 degree angles on the outside and parallel to the floor on the inside of the house! Some of these boards have large tight knots (1.5-3 inches).I had a house torn down which was built in 1910 from Loblolly pine. The 2x4 rafters are 25 feet long and not a single knot! These boards are beautiful! I am ripping them on a band saw to make paneling for my bathroom. The 1x12 siding is all old growth and in great shape. I am using these boards to build book cases for the living room.Thanks for your help. BTW, I am thinking about adding another beam over a six foot opening between the kitchen and the dining room. Presently, there is a door and a window opening which is a serving passage.. This wall was the original wall between the house and the garage. The garage was converted into the dining room and small adjacent sitting room and 1/2 bath. An additional replacement garage was added. I think opening this wall up with a six foot clear span opening between the kitchen and the dining room will enhance the space greatly.I plan to build a kitchen island between the kitchen and the living room to facilitate more counter space, cabinets and a small breakfast eating area. I am installing stamped metal ceiling panels in the kitchen. These are antique designs from the 19th century made in St Louis. The counter tops will be white marble.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
Are these the only pieces connecting the rafters and joists? Are they connected with nails or metal plates? It appears to be nails, but hard to tell.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The 2x4 support boards hanging down from the rafters are attached to the rafters and the joists by nails which pass through the 2x4s and are clinched over on one side of the board. There are four nails at each contact point. I would guess these are 10 penny nails.The living room ceiling joists are also supported at one end by the outside wall and on the other end by the interior wall which I want to replace with the beam which I am depending on you to specify! This beam will also need to support the weight of the ends of the ceiling joists from the kitchen ceiling. The kitchen joists are 10 feet long. The kitchen ceiling is composed of 2x4 joists with 1x8 T&G boards and covered with ceiling tiles. I will be attaching tin plated stamped steel panels over the existing ceiling. The stamped tin plated steel will be attached to the existing 1x8 T&G boards using nails. The total weight of all 16- 2'x4' panels is 60 pounds (plus one pound of nails.) You gave me specs the other night: LVL 2.0E 5.25 X 9.25; or three 2x12 douglas fir boards nailed together as a beam. Are these specs still oK? I hope so, as I have gone out for bids to purchase the beams and install them! I also asked if this same size beam can be used over an opening in the wall between the kitchen and what was the garage. This wall is a building end-wall and supports the two out- most rafters and roof. I will open up a 6-foot opening and replace what looks like two separate headers. One header is above a 2'8" door and one is above a window serving pass-through. I will remove one central post which appears to be comprised of two 2x4 studs with a trimmer stud on each side holding up one end each of the headers. I have not opened up this wall to observe the framing. Suffice it to say that I will need the specs for a beam to span a 6' 0" clear span. The beam will rest on a trimmer stud at each end.You are focused on the 2x4 braces which hold up the center of the 20' joists. Is this a critical area for specifying the clear span beam? The existing wall which will be removed is a simple 2x4 stud wall with a sole plate and a double top plate. I will support the joists temporarily on both sides of this wall by constructing two stud walls of identical construction to the existing wall (without a skin) before I tear it out! I will use steel hangers to support the beam to the double trimmer studs installed under each end of the new beam. The 20-foot long ceiling joists are not displaced downwards in the least little bit. The living room ceiling is flat. As I discussed the other night, the ceiling is composed of 20' long 2x4 joists suspended from the rafters by 2x4 braces (purlin braces withoout a purlin, I guess) attached at the mid-point of the joists, 1x8 T&G boards and there is an outer skin of ceiling tiles. One end of the joists is resting on the outer walls (I presume they are nailed to the top plate of outer wall but do not know for certain.) The other ends of the joists are resting upon the 2x4 stud wall which I will remove and replace with the beam of your specifications. The living room joists and the kitchen ceiling joists are nailed together where they overlap over the interior wall which I will remove. The joist overlap by 14" atop the wall.Would you feel better if I had a 2x4 strongback installed across the mid-point of the 20' ceiling joists? I could have a 1x6 installed on- edge sandwiched next to the 2x4 strongback and the existing 2x4 purlin braces (without a purlin). I will have the 1x6 nailed to the existing vertical 2x4 purlin braces. This added framing should be more than adequate to strengthen the 20-foot ceiling joists. I could also attach another 2x4 at the midpoint of the joists and run it out at an angle up to the rafters. This will form a roofing truss of sorts which will add support to the joists. Recall that this ceiling is composed of 1x8 T&G boards on the bottom of the 2x4 joists. This added structure stiffens the joists. The 1x8 T&G boards run across the 14' width of the living room ceiling and rest on the walls which are perpendicular to the rafter length and form the living room space. Therefore, the 1x8 boards are also acting as support for the 2x4s.The house was built in 1954 and has done well so far.Please let me know your concerns.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
There is no metal truss plate or plywood truss plate holding the 2x4 braces. The braces overlap the joists and rafters. They do not sit on the edge of these structural members as in a roof truss with adjoining truss plates.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
One thing I have noticed about this house. There are no symptoms of cracks at the ceiling/wall interface which is seen in houses with truss uplift. Usually the rafters will lengthen and the truss members forming the joists will bow upward in the middle in response to heated interior spaces. This is not occurring in my house. It could be due to the wood cladding over the joists which is preventing the joists from bowing upward?
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
I will assume it supports the roof and attic.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 6 months ago.
You can plan for a 3.5" x 11.875" 2.0E LVL to limit deflection to L/360
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
What about the 6 foot opening in the intersecting outside wall? This was an end wall before the attached garage was converted to a dining area.

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