Author Topic: Fink Trusses - Repair and Load Bearing Walls  (Read 81 times)

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Offline Toots

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Fink Trusses - Repair and Load Bearing Walls
« on: July 15, 2018, 10:30:50 pm »
Hi Nathan,

I'm at about the end of my rope trying to deal with my current house.  I am in a very rural area and I have tried in vain now for almost a year to find an engineer that will help me with this problem. 

First I'll describe my problem, and then the responses I've gotten so far.

I have a 1978 ranch.  It has fink style trusses spanning 28 ft o.d. to the exterior walls.  The first issue, is that I'd like to remove a small section of interior wall between our living room and kitchen.  It runs perpendicular to the trusses.  I am fairly certain it is not load bearing, but I'd love some input on that.  I'll tell you what carpenters and the one architect(not an engineer) that would at least talk to me on the phone have said below.  The tricky thing here, is that where the house turns a corner, they put 2x6 rafters to transition between the garage trusses and house trusses which are at 90 degrees to each other in orientation.  One end of the rafters actually sit on top of the trusses in the corner valley, so there are a couple trusses in there that are carrying considerably more roof load than any other trusses in the roof structure.  These also happen to be above where I'd like tot take that wall out....

The second issue, is that when I went up to examine the roof structure above the wall, several of the peak truss webs and some along the top plate of the roof have failed or are not in good shape. One or two completely popped off.  It looks like some of the web members(fir) twisted and popped the web off due to maybe humidity shifts.  The house has partition walls all over, and the trusses are spaced 16" o.c. so even with a couple failed trusses the roof hasn't gone anywhere.


Okay, so Problem #1, is the wall load bearing. There are three local architect firms(by local I mean within a 2 hour drive) that have a structural engineer on staff.  None of them will do residential work.  One was willing to send an architect to look at it for $500, but said they wouldn't work on it or provide designs because of liability and the age of the trusses and unknown manufacturer, and if they found any problems their engineers don't do residential work anyway.  Okay....not helpful.

One architect was willing to take about 15 mins on the phone with me even though his firm won't do residential.  He said the chances the wall is load bearing are very small to none because the bottom plate of a fink truss is designed to be in tension not compression.  Also, he said because there is no beam below the wall or anything else to carry the load to the slab in the basement, that automatically disqualifies the wall from being load bearing because a home would never be designed to carry roof load on your floor joists.  There is also no header above the doors in this wall.  The wall runs the entire length of the house but it jogs over several times, so it is not contacting the trusses at the same point along the whole house.  You can see the first 1 ft jog in the pictures.

The general contractors and carpenters(who came in person) all agreed the wall was not load bearing, but they didn't seem confident.  I could tell all of them were not really familiar with how trusses work.  Again we are very rural.  Again I'm a bit nervous because these trusses carry extra rafter load around the corner.

Now as far as problem #2 is concerned, I wouldn't consider doing anything with the wall until those truss webs are repaired.  I have searched high and low.  The architect on the phone didn't seem concerned, his exact words were "I'd just get some plywood and structural screws and sandwich the webs with 2'x2' pieces and get as many screws in as you can."  I know people repair gusset plates this way but it seems a bit cavalier in a "house fall down" type situation.  Again, I can't find any engineers to work on this.

Below are my crude drawings of the home, the wall in question from an end gable and top view, as well as a picture of the top plate of the wall in question nailed to the bottom of the trusses in the attic.  All members are fir.  Our roof snow load is 20 psf, but I understand builders use 30 psf in the area out of caution.

Any input or guidance is GREATLY appreciated.  I'm desperate at this point to fix this.  Even if I can't get that wall out I have to get those webs repaired(but I really want that wall out).

Link to Pics: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QjOFGX9ZGl_TIPniHx3nT4panApzvs8Q
« Last Edit: July 16, 2018, 12:13:17 am by Toots »