How to build a wooden support beam to support a load-bearing wall

Written by cleveland van cecil
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Your home is built with both partition walls and load-bearing walls. Partition walls are in place to separate one room from another. Load-bearing walls are more important to a home's construction; they carry the weight of the room above. Removing a load bearing wall to extend a room is possible, but only if the correct precautions are taken. Installing a supporting beam to hold the weight when the wall is removed will prevent disaster. Make sure to have help for this project.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Chalk line
  • Measuring tape
  • Wire nuts
  • 2-by-4s
  • Hammer
  • 16d nails
  • Sledgehammer
  • Jigsaw
  • Long beam
  • Shims
  • Wood blocks

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn off all the electricity to the room.

  2. 2

    Snap a chalk line 12 inches out from the front of the wall. Cut along the line and remove the drywall.

  3. 3

    Remove the electrical wiring from the wall and cap off the exposed wire ends with wire nuts.

  4. 4

    Hammer a 2-by-4 plate to the floor joists exposed by the removed drywall, running the length of the load bearing wall. Hammer a 2-by-4 stud to the top plate and the floor every 2 feet to support the load bearing wall as you remove it.

  5. 5

    Knock out the drywall of the load-bearing wall.

  6. 6

    Hit the bearing wall studs out using a sledgehammer.

  7. 7

    Cut the nails that hold the backer stud in place using a jigsaw. Pull the backer stud out of the wall.

  8. 8

    Measure the width of your beam. Cut a 2-by-4 that allows the width of the beam plus a 1/4 inch between the top of the 2-by-4 and the ceiling. Nail this piece to a 2-by-4 that reaches the ceiling. This is your cradle for the beam. Make two cradles.

  9. 9

    Nail the cradles to the header in the ceiling. Have a partner lift the beam with you onto the cradle.

  10. 10

    Slide shims under the beam to make it level.

  11. 11

    Cut two 2-by-4s that fit underneath the beam. Hammer them into place on each end of the beam with 16d nails.

  12. 12

    Cut blocks of wood that fit between the floor joists directly under the trimmers at each beam end. Nail through the floor joist into the block of wood to secure it.

  13. 13

    Nail the beam and the plate together using three 16d nails every 12 inches.

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