Here we show you DIY friends how to tell if a wall is load bearing, and we explain the physics and engineering behind load bearing walls, and break down each of the components of a stud wall for you in this bearing wall design example, like jack studs and kind studs, both important parts of your load bearing wall framing.
If you are about to take down your wall in the kitchen to open up the kitchen to the living room, you need to know if that is a • bearing wall structure because you can't just demolish that wall, there are certain bracing precautions you must use prior to load bearing wall removal. So at this point, you really have to study and learn how to know if a wall is load bearing.
A load bearing wall is a wall that directly bears the point load weight of the roof trusses or a second floor above it. If it is a true load bearing wall, then usually the floor joists of the attic above your wall will sit with one end of the joist on the top of your stud wall, and so people remodeling a house need to determine if the wall is load bearing or not. If you see a floor joist end on top of your stud wall, then it is a load bearing wall, and you know you can't just remove load bearing wall until you put the new framing in.
The strict definition of the load bearing wall is if the ends of a roof truss or floor joists sit on top of your stud wall, then you know there is a point load going down to ground. But what if the joists are just traveling across the top of your stud wall, and the joists are supported on both ends of the house, is your wall still load bearing? In this potential bearing wall design example, opinions vary.
It's a tough question, not everyone is a structural engineering expert. I witnessed 2 contractors debating over whether this was a load bearing wall. Some people say yes these are load bearing walls, and some say no. But you cant go wrong in treating it as a load bearing wall, and just make sure you don't take the whole wall down at once.
But if it is a load bearing wall, you need to build bracing to support the floor joists or other loads above prior to removing any studs from this wall. Also the header over the door should be made of two 2x6 pieces of wood nailed together and mounted so the 6" tall part should be the header over the door top. You may need a 1/2" thick filler piece nailed between them.
This is what I think is the funny part, you have to build a bearing wall framing structure in order to take down a load bearing framing structure.
Load bearing wall removal
If the wall is load bearing, then you cannot just start pulling studs out of it to open up your kitchen for that open concept look because then the load, which is your roof or second floor, could come crashing down. You need to build a temporary stud wall and mount it pretty close to your load bearing wall to support the ceiling structure above it before you can remove that load bearing wall.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, do not remove any load bearing walls unless you have some type of shoring or temporary bearing wall framing installed. You have to install a load bearing wall to remove a load bearing wall. Sounds counter-intuitive, but think of this temporary bearing wall as a stunt double for the original.
Based on the information in this video, you'll be able to quickly determine whether your wall is load bearing or not, and see the necessary anatomy of what a properly framed door cut out should look like to create a cutout for a door in a load bearing wall.
Once you decide to cut out a door frame into the wall, this video also shows you the anatomy of the stud wall framing, and discusses the wall framing, the header board, the jack stud, and the king stud, all components in involved in framing a door into the middle of stud wall framing.