Structural and Framing Questions and Concerns

How do I know if my interior wall that I'm planning to modify, as part of my remodel project, is considered a "load bearing wall" or "nonbearing wall"?

By definition, a “load-bearing wall” is a wall supporting any vertical load in addition to its own weight. Therefore, if the wall supports ceiling joists, floor joists, rafters, trusses, beams, etc., it is considered a “load-bearing wall” and proper structural consideration must be taken before this wall is modified in any way. ***Please note: An interior wall may be considered “nonbearing” regarding vertical loads, but may have been originally designed as a “shearwall” or as a "braced wall panel" to resist horizontal loads and therefore proper structural consideration must be taken before this wall is modified in any way. If in doubt, always consult with a professional engineer or architect to make a proper evaluation.

In order to create the sloped ceiling design I'm trying to achieve, I will need to notch the bottom chords of my roof trusses where I'm using truss hangers. Are there limits to the amount of notching and/or cutting I can do to my trusses?

Manufactured truss members and components shall not be cut, notched, drilled, spliced or otherwise altered in any way without the approval of the truss manufacturer’s engineer representative, section R802.10.4, I.R.C.

I have to notch out a portion of an exterior wall and an interior load-bearing wall top plate assembly to cut in my ductwork and piping. Are there top plate notching limitations?

Yes. The maximum size of the notch may not be more than 50% of the plate’s width, unless:

  • The entire side of the wall with the notch is covered by wood structural panel sheathing, or
  • A galvanized metal tie of not less than 16 gauge and 1 ½ inches wide is fastened across and to the plate at each side of the opening (minimum 6" extension beyond opening) with not less than eight 10d nails at each side, reference section R602.6.1, I.R.C.

My wife and I have decided to re-roof our home and change the roofing material from asphalt shingles to roof tile. Do I need a building permit?

Yes. Since you are re-roofing with a different roof material, a building permit is required, section R105.2, I.R.C., City amended.

Are there any structural issues I should be concerned about when re-roofing?

Yes. Since roof tiles normally weighs more than asphalt shingles, the roof framing members (roof rafters or roof trusses) may not have been originally designed for this added roof (dead) load. Therefore, as part of the permitting process, a professional engineer or architect must analyze and redesign the roof framing as necessary to accommodate this added roof load, sections R105.2, I.R.C., City amended, and R301.1, I.R.C.

I'm framing the second story of my two-story residence with open-web floor trusses. The second story floor area is approximately 1,200 sq. ft. Is draftstopping required?

Yes. Draftstopping is required (to restrict the movement of air and spread of fire) within a concealed space such as a floor-ceiling assembly of open-web trusses, when the concealed space exceeds 1,000 sq. ft. The draftstop shall be located so as to divide the concealed space (floor-ceiling assembly space) into approximately equal areas, section R502.12, I.R.C.

I'm framing a double wall design around art niches in the foyer and realize I need to fireblock to provide a fire barrier between my (double) wall cavities and the floor-ceiling assembly above. Can I use fiberglass insulation batts or blankets as my fireblocking material?

Yes, provided the fiberglass insulation batt or blanket is installed in such a manner as to be securely retained in place, section R602.8, I.R.C.