I bought a house yesterday and immediately ripped all the drywall off of a wall between the living room and some other useless room to see if it was structural. All of the 2x4s in the wall are nailed to a 4x4 across the top, but none of them are actually supporting this 4x4. I can see a gap at the top of every one of them.
Then I started ripping the trim off of a doorway in this wall and found one 2x4 that is longer than the rest - it goes straigt up from the slab foundation to a large beam above the ceiling that is obviosly structural. The beam is maybe 10x10 and I suspect it goes from the fron of the house to the back, resting on the cinderblock outer walls. the interior wall I want to remove runs perpendicular to this beam and runs from one side of the house in about 12 feet before it meets this beam.Above the wall is a fully converted attic - consisting of only two small bedrooms (about 10'x10').
As I see it, my opions are: 1) Hire a structural engineer to come in and replace the wall with a steel beam. 2) Reenforce this flimsy 2x4 that seems to be supporting a massive structural beam above it and remove the rest of the wall - leaving an annoying obstruction in my living room.
However, as I mentioned, this load bearing 2x4 is part of a doorway, and the other side of the doorway is to remain intact. Since the other side is also directly under the beam and is only 3 feet away, can't I just put more support at this point?
I'm sure you guys will still tell me to get an engineer in there no matter what I do, but I am obviously broke (having just bought a house yesterday) and would like some idea of what I can expect to pay for an engineer in Washington, DC (Arlington, VA actually - but only 5 miles from DC).