I have a 2-story brick house built in 1940 with balloon construction. On the first floor, I have an interior wall between my kitchen and living room. I have done (I think) my homework, looked at the construction, and settled that the wall was not load bearing. I have since removed a portion of the wall. There was no sag at all, and no changes have happened in the structure aside from:

  • A slight crack at a seam in the cement board (no gap, just crack) - Possibly due from the vibrations of the construction
  • After cutting the studs that made up the doorway (2-2x4's), the upper 2x4's moved +1" sideways - Possibly because they're just fixed on one end now and had some residual stress

Some info on the wall. It runs parallel to both the floor joists beneath it and above it. In the basement, there is no wall, beam, or structure of any type beneath it. On the 2nd floor, it lands somewhere between two walls that make up the closet between two bedrooms.

Here is the wall as it stood originally: Wall

The hole above was an access hole so I could view the construction of the wall and how it met the floor joists above. This is what I saw:


That's looking down the kitchen bulkhead. The top plate of the wall on the left appears to be attached to a 1x12"(?) board that is only attached on one end of the floor joist. The wall and joists do not line up. Here's a quick hand sketch of what I measured:


Looking at the way that thin board was cantilevered off of the floor joist, I cannot see how it could bear any load.

I realize these questions are a little obnoxious, but generally I'm somebody who did research, made a decision, and now am looking for some affirmation. I understand the guaranteed solution is to call a structural engineer (I'm looking into it), but short term I wanted to get a little smarter and see what insight those more experienced than I might have.



Just some more photos of the framing above the wall and 1x12 board. As you can see, the duct work in the wall comes up through that 1x12 board, so you know the joist is offset. One of the ducts actually goes through an opening in the joist.

Above wall Other side Other side 2

  • I guess a big question is if the joist on the left in your picture is any different than the joist on the right, because the one on the right definitely doesn't have any support.
    – JPhi1618
    Jun 4 '19 at 16:06
  • They are both 2x10's and arrange in the same way, aside from the bottom of the joist on the left that 1" board is attached, which is attached to the top plate of the wall I'm concerned about.
    – DrTarr
    Jun 4 '19 at 16:11

You're right that the 1x12 board can't possibly be load bearing in any meaningful way. They almost certainly just put it there to have something to attach the dining room ceiling to. I'm not a pro, but based on my experience having done this several times I would have zero concern about removing that wall after seeing the pictures and diagram you posted.

  • Thanks for taking the time to review the photos and feedback. That's what I thought, but given the importance of structural integrity, I wanted a bit of a confidence booster in my decision.
    – DrTarr
    Jun 4 '19 at 19:04
  • The 1x12 was probably also put there to anchor the top of that wall to the adjacent joist so that the top of the wall would be solid instead of floating.
    – Michael Karas
    Jun 4 '19 at 20:35
  • Both the base and top plates are completely segmented by 2 different supply air ducts (I relocated between studs further down). I suspect it was also there to keep the top plates from floating side to side as well as left to right. Would it be normal to have a top plate completely floating?
    – DrTarr
    Jun 4 '19 at 20:41
  • As long as joist are 2x10 .And rest of framing runs the same way Not to concerned.. Your drawing says joist 2x6. Then i would be troubled. Would like to see more of how the walls up above are run..So far seems ok to take out studs.And for house that age frame looks pretty good.
    – user101687
    Jun 5 '19 at 6:17
  • They are definitely 2x10, Not sure what I was thinking when I wrote 2x6.
    – DrTarr
    Jun 5 '19 at 11:42

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