So I have these two ugly columns I would like to remove, plus the soffit above it.

enter image description here enter image description here I've been thinking for a while that I wanted to remove them and open up the room, but I wasn't sure if they were structural. Today I finally drilled a hole on top of the soffet and opened it up. The walls of the soffet appear to be 2x12s and the top and bottom are just drywall. Above the columns is a 2x8 straddling the 2x12s and below the columns is nothing.

I drilled into one of columns and determined they are plaster so those columns cant be structural.

As far as the 2x12s, I did my best to get a photo of the inside. The first photo where you can see the insulation is an exterior wall and the photo looking down the soffet to the other side is the left side of the column. Also, there is nothing on the exterior of the wall that the 2x12s would connect to.

enter image description here enter image description here

So the big question, do you think can I safely remove this?

2 Answers 2


There's no obvious reason to think that those would be structural from where I'm sitting. Neither end connects to anything that would require lateral bracing under normal circumstances. Were it my house I'd feel comfortable removing them.

Those pillars are probably fiberglass, not "plaster". I'd try to salvage them and put them up for local sale. You might get a couple hundred bucks for them.

  • I've actually removed the pillars and the two boxes they were sitting on already and they were plaster. I still have no removed the soffit. I am almost certain the soffit can be removed, but like most questions on here, I'd rather have a professional verify in person.
    – Ronnie
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 0:40

I would hire a structural engineer to determine for sure if they are or not load bearing. To check yourself, start with the exteriorcwall side and open up the wall around the soffit below and beside. Make sure it's not over studs. On the interior side do the same. If the columns are just plaster and no post inside them, they could be decorative, but that doesn't mean the beam, soffit, header is not. Also look under the columns, no continuing post, then decorative. If this is the case, then the columns could be removed and to soffit, beam, header left.

  • there is nothing running through the posts or under them. I had a conversation over the phone with a structural engineer and he wanted to charge me $300 to come out and look. I declined that real quick. Like the OP said, it isn't holding any vertical weight. I am just not clear of lateral. Also, there is nothing on the exterior of that soffit.
    – Ronnie
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 17:07
  • To be safe, I would leave the beam and soffit and remove the posts then. Just in case the beam is a load bearing beam.
    – Jeff Cates
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 19:34
  • I see an electrical box, empty I assume? I guess if you really want to remove the soffit, pull the top off completely and look as far into the wall on each side and see where and how it is connected. On the exterior side, if it really just sitting on the post, and the post is hollow, then I would assume it does nothing other than "look nice."
    – Jeff Cates
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 19:39
  • There is a socket on top of the soffit that I've never used, but that can be easily capped. I am still trying to get someone out to see it in person. Thank for the tips.
    – Ronnie
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 19:44
  • curious how much you would expect a structural engineer to charge?
    – agentp
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 0:40

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