Week 42 – Take a load off

We kicked off this week with our framing inspection, and as I’ve previously bemoaned, I’m not really sure why this comes so late in the process!?

I mean, I do generally understand that they’re looking to make sure that the mechanicals (electrical, HVAC, plumbing, etc.) haven’t compromised the overall structure of the house. But they’re also looking to make sure things like load bearing walls are anchored, supported, braced, and engineered correctly. You’d think you’d want the load bearing walls squared away before they were bearing any kind of load…but apparently not!

I’ve actually learned a lot about load bearing walls this week. Because, as it happens, we had an issue with one during our framing inspection. I’ll do my best to explain this because construction terminology and blue prints aren’t really in my wheelhouse. So first, some helpful diagrams.

This is how load bearing walls work.

Here’s another helpful illustrations.

The key takeaway here is that load bearing walls help support and distribute the weight of the roof and floors down through the foundation.

So when you’re building an open floor plan house, there’s a bit of additional engineering that goes into figuring out how that weight gets distributed through areas that might not have a structural wall to help bear the load.

Our house has one such section in it, where the pitch of the garage roof meets the wall of our second story we have an exterior wall that is load bearing because it carries the trusses of the house roof. In the front of the house, that load is distributed down through the garage wall and then the foundation. In the back of the house, that load is distributed….onto a floor joist suspended over our open plan kitchen, but nothing else.


Except it’s not really our oops. According the the inspector, there should have been a “call out” on the plans that showed how that wall and floor truss got tied into the rafter system from the garage so that it was helping to carry the load.

So here’s the wall in question…

And the answer to the question of how we fix this problem is up to the engineer that we’re waiting to call back. Because apparently, this was supposed to be something they told us from the start.

Josh is more patient about this than I am.

That’s actually true for almost everything that happens at the house.

The rest of the inspection went very well, and the inspectors actually told Josh that they are used to leaving pages of modifications for owner builders who do their own framing. He’ll have the handful of other things they found finished up by the end of the week and felt like the tweeks were very very minimal compared to what he had feared at worst.

So wrapping up this week and barring some catastrophic revelation from the engineer, it still looks like insulation on the horizon as January comes to a close.


Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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