So I have a wall I would like to remove in my house (see picture 1-3). I did some exploratory surgery (aka cut holes) in the drywall to see what I was dealing with. This wall is running parallel to the floor joists above (see picture 4): score +1 for being non-load bearing.

However there is a large double 2X10 header above the entry way (see picture 4) in this wall supported by a jack stud on either end (see picture 5): score +1 for being load bearing.

I thought long and hard at what this might possibly be supporting. The house is two stories resting on a concrete block foundation (so three floors if you count the basement). The floor in question is on the middle/first/ground floor. Above this wall I want to remove, is another wall on the second floor offset by ~4 inches from the joist directly above the wall I would like to remove on the first floor. The wall above on the second floor is definitely supporting a portion of an A-frame (not truss) roof above (see picture 6). So is it possible that the wall I want to remove with the header on the first floor is also helping support the roof through the wall on the second floor?

To simplify: my question has two parts:

1) Is this a load bearing wall?

2) If the wall is load bearing, how would I temporarily support the joist above (to install a longer spanned header) since it is running parallel to the floor joists above?

Thanks for your input!

*Update 8/7/18 I ended up knocking this wall out with no issues. I dont believe the wall was load bearing because there were 2 sistered 2X10 above this wall with a span of 9 feet between supports I put in a LAM beam adjacent the overhead joists just to be safe. Now there's two sistered 2X10s with another 2 sistered 2X10 Lams up there. I'm sure this was overkill.

Picture 1

Picture 2

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closed as primarily opinion-based by isherwood, ThreePhaseEel, mmathis, Daniel Griscom, Machavity Nov 6 '17 at 22:57

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    A 2x10 header doesn't necessarily mean that the wall is load-bearing. The carpenter may have just wanted to ensure that the doorway didn't sag and was horizontally rigid. From everything else you describe it does seem like it's a non load-bearing wall, but you already knew that. What else can we tell you? Hire someone local for an hour and get on with your project. – isherwood Nov 5 '17 at 2:30
  • Thanks for your comment. I suspect you are right, since the entryway span is 5 feet, sagging with cripple stud framing could be a potential problem and would make sense to use a rigid header. – Gdogbiskit Nov 5 '17 at 12:29

Picture 2 clearly shows the relation of front door to “wall I want to remove”. The wall you want to remove is a bearing wall ... supporting the roof as shown in last Picture #7, from the exterior.

That one small opening you’ve cut in the ceiling in Pictures #1 and #3 shows something spanning the opposite direction you’re indicating the joists run. You’d better check that again, as I suspect you’re wrong on the direction the second floor joists span too.

Also, when you start removing walls (bearing or otherwise) you’d better make sure you’re not removing a shear wall. Just because it doesn’t have plywood on it, doesn’t mean it’s not a shear wall. Gypsum board is rated as shear panels too and this is a main wall, so I suspect this is a shear wall...depending on what seismic zone you live in.

I like your opening comment, “...before hiring a structural engineer/ architect...”. Now make sure you do it...

By the way, I’d recommend a STRUCTURAL engineer, not a CIVIL engineer...or an architect with a structural background.

  • Thank you for your comment. I could be wrong, but the odds of it being an interior shear wall seems pretty low. I forgot to mention this house is in Western Pennsylvania, which is not frequented by hurricanes or earthquakes. Also, I am certain about the direction of the overhead floor joists being parallel to this wall. I've cut holes in the ceiling on both sides of the wall and confirmed. – Gdogbiskit Nov 5 '17 at 12:14
  • I would agree that it is a load bearing wall the ceiling hole shows the direction of the 2x? Above the header, the wall could be replaced with a larger header across the opening. I did this using at my last home to open up my basement. – Ed Beal Nov 5 '17 at 15:37
  • Pictures 1 and 3 do show something spanning the opposite (perpendicular) to the joist direction I have indicated. However don't let this fool you it is a metal end cap for a HVAC return. This joist bay was being utilized as a return from the upstairs. – Gdogbiskit Nov 5 '17 at 17:11

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