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I would like to remove the highlighted wall on the second floor of my house in order to create a loft area.

Please help me identify if I'm dealing with a load bearing wall.

  • 1
    the wall is load bearing joists run at 90 degrees to the ceiling cladding Apr 12, 2019 at 20:45
  • Agreed, there are indicators it's load bearing, be wise and have a structural engineer confirm....
    – user99448
    Apr 13, 2019 at 0:34
  • The wall itself may not be but there are at least two things in the wall that are for sure.
    – DMoore
    Apr 13, 2019 at 3:41
  • What's your end-goal here? If you're planning to remove the wall for some reason, perhaps a framed internal window would be a better solution? Could choose glazed or open-frame or something between.
    – Criggie
    Apr 13, 2019 at 22:14

5 Answers 5


Disclaimer: I'm not a structural engineer, nor should you believe the word of a internet stranger. Contact a local structural engineer to take a look so you don't bring the house down.

A few details point to the wall visible in the photo being load bearing:

  • There is a beam in the open bit next to the wall. This implies something is worth supporting up there.
  • The sloped ceiling implies the roof is right above it. Roofs need supporting.
  • The blueprints mention a column in the corner instead of just letting them butt into each other. This is only needed when that column is supporting a load.

  • Finally the blueprints have that wall shaded like they have the outer walls while the other inner walls are blank. Outer walls are nearly always load bearing, while inner walls rarely are.

The walls around the closet are unlikely to be load bearing.

  • Thanks so much for your kind response. So you believe that the wall being shaded as the outer walls means it's load bearing? I had also noticed that vertical column in the corner, I was planning on removing the walls but leaving that column untouched. Apr 12, 2019 at 15:13
  • 2
    Another beam in line with the existing one would be in order at the very least. (if only for the visual). However I'm not sure you can get enough bearing surface onto that pole to support the second beam. Which would be a question for the engineer. Apr 12, 2019 at 15:29
  • 2
    @DanielCaviedes Definitely that's a load bearing wall. The 'wraparound' section might not be, but the long wall almost certainly is. Think hard about the open concept kitchen. It's a fad and people are already figuring out it's often a bad idea.
    – J...
    Apr 12, 2019 at 18:45
  • 2
    @J That it's the long wall is another clue. It is usually the case that joists/rafters run across the short side of a room and the longer wall is the side the rest on.
    – JimmyJames
    Apr 12, 2019 at 20:15
  • 2
    Another point is that the long section of the highlighted wall is in line with another wall. That's a pattern commonly found in load-bearing walls.
    – Mark
    Apr 13, 2019 at 1:09

I'd bet it is bearing.

The picture shows a wall with a large opening and a door. I'll assume the plan view is the second floor plan.

In the picture you can see your knotty pine running parallel with the wall. This typically means that they are secured to the rafters and are perpendicular. The rafters are then resting one end on that wall. This is also why you see the beam spanning the opening - to support the rafters.

In the plan view you can see that the most likely position of the ceiling joists to span is from the outside wall to the wall dividing the bedrooms and again from the dividing wall to the wall you propose to remove. You could verify if you have attic access.

  • I will see if I can get that far though the attic. Thanks for your guidance. I really appreciate it. Apr 12, 2019 at 17:31

You need a layout of the ceiling joists to determined if it is load bearing. However, I would highly lean towards believing that it is a structural support wall. The exposed beam that runs in the span beside it is a good indicator.

Licensed Home Builder AL HBLB #25782

  • Thanks very much for your help, William. Apr 15, 2019 at 12:17

Like most have already said, I also believe it's a load bearing wall.. So for all the clues others have mentioned that it's a bearing wall, I also wanna add, and this may or may not actually be applicable here, but that it's common to hatch shear walls diagonally like the drawings show, so not only is that wall a part of your load bearing system, it may also be a part of your lateral system. I wouldn't touch it haha. If you're dead set on opening this wall up, I believe it can still be done with shoring and doing somewhat of an extension of that beam and adding another column. However, the height of those columns are pretty tall, I don't think the walls are the things bracing it from bucking, I think that's why they kinda "stiffen" it with the metal studs as noted on the drawings, but if it is indeed a part of the lateral system, that'd be really tough. Go find a licensed structural engineer though and they can tell you all the possibilities and costs associated! Structural engineers work for the owner and architect and their jobs are literally to make things work. If internet strangers tell you it's a load bearing wall, that's not necessarily a red light. A good structural engineer will probably tell you the same thing but also follow it up with solutions. Construction won't be cheap though.

  • Thank you for taking the time to share your optinion. I really apprewciate it. Apr 15, 2019 at 12:19

Observations studying the drawing, 100% Load Bearing.

Section A will confirm further. Structural engineers will always span the shortest distance for timber joists. Taking out that wall, is physically impossible to do that without steel (span the floor over that is what I mean.) plus you would remove partial bearing support of the landing to the top of the stairs.

You could, to further be certain... Check the wall at the base by scrabbling back the render /fiishess to the masonry... And check for a dpc. If it has one, it means it requires substructure support... Aka... Foundation = load bearing.

If You decide to remove, prepare to either leave a portion of the wall nearest the external wall... 2-3ft...or put in a windpost to support the external wall.

Very educated guess (graduate structural engineer... 15 years in the industry). All the best. But definitely get a Structural engineer in who is local to confirm and Check the stability of your external wall should you proceed with the refurb work.

  • Could you please define "DPC"?
    – Patrick M
    Apr 13, 2019 at 17:51
  • @PatrickM guessing "Dampproof course" or "malthoid" a dark grey/tar coloured paper to separate and protect wood from concrete/masonry. The presence of this barrier bitumen/tar-paper means the wood is pressing down hard on the concrete, and moisture could wick up. If it were not load-bearing then there wouldn't be a lot of load to bear so it would be air-gapped from the foundation.
    – Criggie
    Apr 13, 2019 at 22:12
  • Thanks for your kind guidance and valuable inoput, Mark. Apr 15, 2019 at 12:21

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