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Removng load bearing wall (hallway) in a semi-detached

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Posted by: from Toronto
9/14/2008 at 11:39:55 PM

I am hoping to remove a hallway wall in my old semi to open up the first floor as is typically done with these semis. The joists span from one double brick wall to the other but I guess I shouldn't assume the hallway isn't load bearing. There are beams in the basement about 1/3 the way across. Has anyone had experience with opening an old semi? Does anyone know of a good structural engineer in Toronto?

One last one - I have removed all the plaster and lath in the hallway and now that everything is open, I wondered if adding joist hangers to the joists that connect to the stair well beam will add any value - ie. strength and/or prevent them from sagging over time- before I drywall.

REPLIES (3)
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Chris in Toronto
Date/Time9/23/2008 at 8:38:21 PM

I think I found my answer. 2x12 joists spanning about 16 feet. The top plate of the wall doesn't even touch the joists in most cases - there's a gap so it can't be bearing any load. Perhaps the wood has shrunk over the last 80 years ...

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Date/Time9/25/2008 at 10:13:52 PM

Hi Chris, I'm a Framing Contractor and would like to help you out here.

1. If the house is 80 years old, they had different rules to govern this sort of thing so first i would check the size of joists and make sure they're up to code(i've seen 2x6 span 20' in some cases)

2.Just because there is a gap between the wall and the joist doesn't mean it's always like that. It could be unloaded when no one or nothing is on top of the floor.

3.I would check with a structural engineer just to be safe or even someone who knows structure(like a framer) to give some professional advice. It can be disastrous if all the checks haven't been done. For example, there could be point loads at the end of the wall and not in the centre or the joists could be holding the stair hole beam up because they are cantilevered over the wall.

Hope this helps

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Chris in Toronto
Date/Time9/25/2008 at 11:05:41 PM

Thanks Justin! I better get a structural engineer. The stair well beam connects to doubled up joists at each end but the wall may be relieving the joists as well.

btw - should I put in joist hangars on the joists that connect to the stair well beam? Some have sunk a bit.

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