First. I am getting a contractor. I like to have a good idea what I am dealing with so I can understand what 1,2,3 contractors with estimates propose to me.

Ranch house with Cape Cod roof sitting on a slab with brick exterior walls.

There are 2 rooms I want to make into 1 by removing the load bearing center wall. The joists above rest on this wall like the picture below. The load is transfered to the slab.

Joists in ceiling

There is no living space above this load bearing wall. Any tips on how I can recess a beam into the attic and transfer the load on this wall to

A. The brick exterior wall and B. To a center post on the slab.

This load bearing wall is basically just supporting the weight of the ceiling which is drywall. The joists in the ceiling as pictured above obviously also help with keeping the exterior walls from spreading.

Any tips on how to recess a beam in the ceiling (attic)? Will the post on the slab be ok for support or will footers need to be dug? I feel like there is not a lot of weight being transfered down the post to the slab.


  • Engineer said a 12 foot span that is only holding up a plaster ceiling can have 2 2x10x12 sistered together and held up in the wall with 3 2x4's. The 4 inch slab can handle this. Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


Short answer:

  1. Get an engineer to size the beam and end supports and footings.
  2. Lay the beam on top, attach it to the vertical support.
  3. Use long U-shaped joist hangers to hang the joists off the beam.
  4. Demolish the existing wall.
  5. Spend the rest of your life cleaning up.

Long Answer - 2 part Blog post that I wrote after I did a similar reno in my house.

  • Do you think a post in the center of the slab and the brick exterior wall will be ok to support a drywall ceiling? My hunch is yes. it's not a lot of weight but just wonder about the post sitting on the slab. I would think the slab would hold up. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 16:52
  • 1
    Probably not. You're converting a linear load to a point load, and the tendency will be for it to punch through the floor. Like I said, pay the thousand dollars for an engineer to size the key points. It's well worth the money not to have your house condemned. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 17:06
  • I am also thinking that framing out a closet along the line where the load wall is currently would spread the load out, so it is not transfered to a 'point' Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 17:27

When you give the parameters to the engineer, be sure to mention the option of having more than a single support point mid-span. No, the typical slab is not intended (or designed) for any major point loads, but they make cement pier blocks that may distribute the load well enough, or your engineer will specify the required footing dimensions.

Consider the fact that you don't know what's beneath the slab, that it may be hollow at the wrong point, and that subsequent failure will lead to catastrophic damage to everything being supported.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.