We're considering altering an existing load bearing wall 10-12ft length ( possibly an existing header already above, and definite header below floor in basement with support columns ) in a 1967 rancher , truss roof system, with basement as stated . We want to turn the end support beams of the existing load bearing wall into support columns. We will obviously get a permit and involve a structural engineer to a degree , but want to know ; if there is already an existing header, can you alter the existing load bearing wall support ends into columns, and can the existing header above just be re-enforced by said beams/columns in the correct load bearing areas without having to add another support header ? Weve looked all over the internet for days for this question and it is not answered anywhere we look .


Again, that's if there is a support header above . We haven't found that out as of yet . We don't want to build another wall : we want to build support columns using the existing load bearing wall guts of that already bares the weight at the ends .

We're looking for cheaper alternatives rather than replacing a 10-12 foot beam and thought support columns at the precise load bearing areas could achieve an open concept load bearing wall image in house

Thanks everyone . And thank you Michael . Theyre plaster walls , truss system roof ; which we've read some truss system roofs built in the late 1960's may not need a middle load bearing walls, that's why we will most definitely need an engineer : but are just wondering if there is an existing header can you support it with columns in the correct load bearing areas if possible, and properly designated by an engineer ?

  • Can you draw a section of the existing load bearing wall and your proposed load bearing wall? Mar 15, 2020 at 5:21
  • Welcome to the site. This question is not answerable without a certainty of the existing construction of said wall. You say that there is possibly an existing header above but that information needs to be known for sure. If this 10 to 12 foot wall is an existing studded wall clad with sheathing or drywall of some sort then it is unlikely that this wall has anything other than a standard double plate across the top of the studs.
    – Michael Karas
    Mar 15, 2020 at 5:37
  • I moved information that you put in answer boxes into your question. You should not put question material in answer spots.
    – Michael Karas
    Mar 15, 2020 at 5:50

2 Answers 2


Pretty much anything is possible, especially in steel, The engineer will tell you how it should be done. In some cases it may make more sense to replace the beam instead of reinforcing it.


In order to remove a load bearing wall, we need to find an alternate way to transfer the load all the way down to the soil.

You’ll need to verify a few things in order for us to confirm the wall can be removed: 1) is it really a load bearing wall, 2) how much load on the wall, 3) where are supports in basement, 4) where are footings in basement to support such a load.

1) If the wall is really a load bearing wall, then there will be trusses or roof supports resting on the wall. You’ll need to find the top of the wall in the attic. A picture will help us confirm that there is, or is not, a load on the wall.

2) If there is a load on this wall, we’ll need to know size of members, spacing of members, span of members resting on wall, etc. Again, a picture in the attic will help.

3) If the wall is load bearing, we’ll need to add a beam and columns to support the roof loads. Then, we’ll need to confirm that columns are located under those columns in the basement.

4) Likewise, we’ll need to confirm the size of footings under those columns in the basement.

It’s difficult for a DIY’er to gather all that information. Usually it takes several attempts by the OP to submit an adequate amount of information, so be prepared to continue gathering and submitting information.

BTW, to answer your question, yes it is possible to use the existing material in the wall to support the roof, but things must be in a certain order.

  • Thank you very much lee . Yes we do know know we have to take such steps above for structural integrity. Thus us using an engineer. My husband does some general contracting, but we're no structural engineers . Lol. Just wanted to know if a support beam is already in the ceiling above : can we use / alter the existing load bearing wall and make into columns . Again thanks so so much :) Mar 16, 2020 at 15:13
  • Did you look in the attic? Can you find the top of the wall? Do you have a picture of the attic?
    – Lee Sam
    Mar 17, 2020 at 2:45

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