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druder
opening an exterior wall
druder

Would like any help and info about opening up an exterior wall to build a bay window bump out on the back of my home. the home is wood frame - stucco with comp. shingles and the exterior wall is a gable end. Would I be ok with opening a 9 wide x 8 ft. high opening without using a temporary support for the gable end. As far as I can tell from being in the attic this exterior wall supports the gable end and a 24" overhang and the rafters of the gable rest on the end walls as well as the ceiling joist. I plan on framing in a header once it's opened for support but a little concerned that during the demo. I don't want to risk structural damage. The exterior 7/8" stucco on the rest of the wall would supply some support but not sure if it would be enough. If it needs to be supported how would I go about this since I need access to the full length of opening while install a new header to support the gable. Thanks in advance for any help with this. Don

Clarence
Re: opening an exterior wall
Clarence

I think you need temp. support keep in mine that Stucco 7/8 inch thick can weight from 8 to 12 lbs per Sq/ft.
Also Stucco is not structural and should not be used to support weight.
Check with a Structural Engineer.

dj1
Re: opening an exterior wall
dj1

" The exterior 7/8" stucco on the rest of the wall would supply some support but not sure if it would be enough."

- Stucco will not give you the support you need, and you need serious support.

"I plan on framing in a header once it's opened for support but a little concerned that during the demo"

- Question: how tall is your wall where you want to open 8' tall opening?
Supporting such an opening is probably too difficult for the average DIY. How you build the temporary support depends on how the joists run. Being an exterior wall, you will need to support the rafters as well. Without seeing what you have, a 9' wide opening will require a 12" header and enough support for the header (king and jack studs).

An experienced framer can help you here. Let me strongly suggest you call a few framers for bids.

ed21
Re: opening an exterior wall
ed21

Build a temp wall with a top and bottom plate with the studs cut just a little tight so they have to be hammered in place and nailed so nothing can move. Leave the nails hanging out enough to remove easily. Do this at a ceiling joist location so the drywall doesn't collapse. Locate this a couple feet from the wall to allow room to work, but as close as possible. I'd also consider in the attic toe nailing some short 2x boards from the gable back to at least a joist or two beyond the joist under the temp wall to help distribute any loads.
I haven't done this for a while, so I might be forgetting something. I would not open up the wall without temporary support. While this may not be on your radar, building codes generally require a permit for something like this.

druder
Re: opening an exterior wall
druder
dj1 wrote:

" The exterior 7/8" stucco on the rest of the wall would supply some support but not sure if it would be enough."

- Stucco will not give you the support you need, and you need serious support.

"I plan on framing in a header once it's opened for support but a little concerned that during the demo"

- Question: how tall is your wall where you want to open 8' tall opening?
Supporting such an opening is probably too difficult for the average DIY. How you build the temporary support depends on how the joists run. Being an exterior wall, you will need to support the rafters as well. Without seeing what you have, a 9' wide opening will require a 12" header and enough support for the header (king and jack studs).

An experienced framer can help you here. Let me strongly suggest you call a few framers for bids.

The opening is actually 9'-2" wide by 7'-4" tall and is considered to be a non- load bearing wall from what I have read because there is no actually roof load on this wall. The rafters and ceiling joist are supported by the end walls and the gable end wall carries the weight of the wall itself and a 24" overhang with composition shingles. The double top plate will remain and the existing studs will be cut to make new cripples for the header. I'm using the IRC to size the header and when the plans were approved by the city there was no requirement mentioned that the demo was required to be inspected. My first inspection is the footing inspection and then the framing witch they will at that time inspect the header. So I guess what I'm really asking is what I've read is true that a an exterior gable end wall that carries no roof load, (rafters and ceiling joist) need temporary support?

ed21
Re: opening an exterior wall
ed21

Most of the load is dead weight from materials. But with stucco, I wouldn't take a chance on it sagging a little and cracking the stucco. Do the ceiling joists completely span the gable wall or are they pieced over the new opening location. Maybe I'm overthinking it, but with a 9' opening and stucco especially, I wouldn't chance it.
Yes the gable wall is generally non-load bearing from live roof or attic loads, but still supports the weight of the wall.
Let us know how it goes. I never did this to a gable end wall, so maybe it would be okay without support.

druder
Re: opening an exterior wall
druder

The ceiling joist as well as the rafters are completely supported by the load bearing exterior and interior end walls so there is no live load being carried by exterior wall along the gable. Had a licensed contractor come out to look at removing the 9 ft. section and he didn't think there would be a problem as long as I didn't remove any portion of the gable above the top plate of the wall, which I hadn't planned on anyway and put a header in place right. The new header will be placed up against the exiting to plate. Guess I'll find out in a couple weeks when I open the wall up.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: opening an exterior wall
Sombreuil_mongrel

Your next question is to think about waterproofing/flashing of the new opening. The only sure bet in this game is to cut the stucco back 6-12" so the opening can be made to properly shed water, then have the stucco repaired.
Even on new stucco houses, keeping window/doors from allowing water in is a major consideration.
Hint: "just caulk!" won't cut it.
Casey

druder
Re: opening an exterior wall
druder
Sombreuil_mongrel wrote:

Your next question is to think about waterproofing/flashing of the new opening. The only sure bet in this game is to cut the stucco back 6-12" so the opening can be made to properly shed water, then have the stucco repaired.
Even on new stucco houses, keeping window/doors from allowing water in is a major consideration.
Hint: "just caulk!" won't cut it.
Casey

I do plan on removing the stucco 6 inches above the ridge line of the new hip roof to install metal flashing between the old wall and new roof but out her in Las Vegas where out annual rain fall is about 4 inches a year rain infiltration isn't the problem it is back East with ice dams and the likes. The entire projection of the bay window is only 24 inches and the top ridge line is about 10" below a 24" overhang on the gable side of the house I'm putting this bump out so the flashing will be there just incase we get high winds with the rain we get in the summer month where it can rain an 1" in about 40 min

Mastercarpentry
Re: opening an exterior wall
Mastercarpentry

Even a gable wall supports something above it, even if it is not your "classic example" of a load-bearing wall. With truss constriction you'll find the gable ends marked as 'not self-supporting' requiring a wall underneath, and stick built is just the same. For a smaller opening I might chance it without added support during construction but for one this wide I would expect some sagging and possible stucco cracking unless support was added.

There are a number of ways to achieve structural support. In this case if access wasn't an issue I would first go into the attic and screw a 2X10 (or wider) to the gable studding spanning past the opening on both ends. That should be enough to hold things during demo until the new header is installed under the existing top wall plates and could even be left in place as additional support when complete, or removed as being then redundant.

Whether a wall is load-bearing or not isn't always the only consideration, and even non-load-bearing walls need some support even if just to hold their own weight and no more. Better to prevent a possible problem than to correct it after it's happened!

Phil

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