Originally Posted by mikematt
My family room is in back of my house and living room is in front. They are same size and seperated by an interior wall. I would like to eliminate that wall and create a great room that runs front to back of the house. How do I know if this wall is needed to keep the house structurally sound? Thanks
Two rooms, front of house to rear, seperated by one wall? Yes indeed, that is your main bearing wall. It's holding up your ceilings, and anything above them. It can be removed easily and replaced by a header of appropriate size (depends on the length of the opening, and what's above it) by simply building temporary walls on either side of the wall ya wanna remove, to carry the weight. Then you simply remove the wall and replace it with posts and a beam. Provided there is a bearing girder of some sort below, and the neccessary blocking is done between the floor joists below.
If you want a flush ceiling, like KOQ mentioned, it's a lot more work to cut the ceiling joists back on either side, slide the header into the ceiling, then re-attach the ceiling joists using joist hangers. Again, the weight transfer points below must be addressed.
I've done it both ways many times. The first way is simple, and wont require any ceiling sheetrock work. The sond way may require this, and is probably twice the cost based on the extra time involved.
Oh, btw, you'll also have to consider the electric running thru that wall that will hafta be moved, and also your floor coverings.