Load bearing or fear mongering to get my business

8 Replies

Hello!  First time poster here, hoping to become an active member going forward.   I am working on some minor renovations a house I am flipping and ran into some conflicting information from contractors.  I'm hoping to avoid spending more $$, as always.  

The house is a 1971 block, slab on grade with truss hip roof with an L shaped footprint.  I had a contractor in last week who looked at a few walls and told me they are not load bearing, no problem at all to knock them out and move them to change the floorplan slightly.   He was sure that this home has no load bearing interior walls after sticking his head in the attic and looking around the interior and exterior of the home for a while.  So I went to work with a mini sledge to get into the walls, first to check I'd there is a single or double top plate.   It seems that the top plate is a single 2x4, which is another indication of the walls being non load bearing, at least that's what I've been taught.   

Today I had another contractor in, notably less experienced, who all of 5 minutes walking through the house before commenting that I cant remove the walls I had knocked large holes into, as they "have to be load bearing" in his opinion.   

So here I am, not sure who is right, with a handful of confusing photos to hopefully get some experienced advice from the pros.  

I dont see a way to post photos on here, so please stay tuned while I figure it out.  

go easy on me, I'm color blind and a terrible artist...heres what I put together...

Rough sketch with the walls i want to remove in red, existing/walls I'm keeping in yellow


Rough sketch overlay to aerial photo to show hip roof. 


Attic shot looking west from the corner.  Line drawn on sketch to show orientation.  The wall that runs parallel to the line I drew doesnt need to Come out, but it also happens to have a single 2x4 top plate 


Another shot looking west, this time on the other side of the roof line about 10 ft to the north of previous image.  The is no wall that runs parallel to this drawn line until you reach the last 10ft or so of the far west side of the home. 


This time looking north/ north west, sorry for the bad photo. 


All attic photos are taken from the SE corner of the house, from one of two attic accesses on either side of the HVAC unit. 

I thought trusses were designed to to be supported by the exterior walls only?   From what I've found so far, there is a single top plate with a gap above that, and then some random 1×4s here and there.  I do see a 4x4 that is vertical in section past the hip of the hip roof.  I haven't been able to get a good look at it yet though.  I dont think I've seen a 4x4 post in an attic ever before.    There doesnt seem to be anything below it, it is about a foot away from a closet door openi ng 

@Scott Tennant

Go find a structural engineer and ask him these questions. What are you going to tell your wife when the house comes down on you and puts you in a wheelchair? "This guy named Bobby F. said..."

Yes if the trusses pass above the wall structure they are only supported by the outside walls and interior walls are not structural. It does not sound like there is consistant structural contact between truss and wall structure indicating they are not structural. Another indication would be headers in any door openings in any wall you are looking to remove.

You need to assess what if any support they provide to the roof structure.

You are however likely correct if all top plates are single 2 X 4.

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

@Scott Tennant

Go find a structural engineer and ask him these questions. What are you going to tell your wife when the house comes down on you and puts you in a wheelchair? "This guy named Bobby F. said..."

I agree with Jim. You should not be basing your final determination on responses here on BP. For a few hundred bucks (or less) have an engineer come to site and take a look. You need someone that's liable for their directive. You don't want to be hurt based on incorrect information and your knowledge or lack thereof.