I removed two pocket doors in my second story bathroom (see picture 1 & 2). I would like to remove the headers above the pocket doors and open up the bathroom. However, I wasn't expecting such a large header above one of the doors (see picture 2).

I didn't think this was load bearing because

  1. the header runs parallel to the trusses
  2. the header only spans the length of the door way (~58"),
  3. only a single stud is holding up one side of the header (see picture 2)
  4. over the phone the original architect told me that typically load bearing walls do not contain pocket doors (house built in 1979), but he vaguely remembered the project.

What made this more complicated is a board runs on top of the header then a truss runs on top of that board (i.e., truss, board, header all run parallel on top of each other). Is this load bearing?

Also, I would like to remove the other pocket door header that runs perpendicular to the trusses. This one I am uncertain about. I didn't think it was load bearing because of the type of roof trusses I have (see pictures 3&4). I also didn't see any indication on the original plans that these walls are over supporting posts in my crawl space (see pictures 5,6,7). Is this load bearing?

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

Image 2 Image 3 Image 7 Image 8 Image 9 Image 10 Image 11 Image 6

  • 1
    Very nice post. It does, though, indicate a certain lack of familiarity with framing practices and terminology on your part. Be sure to do some reading to avoid easy mistakes.
    – isherwood
    May 15, 2020 at 13:13
  • @isherwood Those plans are not the correct plans for this bathroom. (The toilet is on the opposite side of the vanity.) Who knows what else is different...?
    – Lee Sam
    May 15, 2020 at 15:57
  • Sure, but toilet and vanity location are discretionary to some extent, not much different than furniture arrangement. They don't discredit the plans altogether.
    – isherwood
    May 15, 2020 at 16:01
  • 1
    @isherwood Thank you for the comments. You are correct, I am not too knowledgeable about framing. I am a self taught DIYer and will take your advice and read more. I do a lot of home remodel projects, but never have removed a wall.
    – RJTurner
    May 15, 2020 at 16:44
  • Looks like you're on the right track! Please take the tour so you know what to do next.
    – isherwood
    May 15, 2020 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


Firstly, reason 2 is invalid. Even narrow openings would require a load-bearing header if they carry floor or roof framing above.

Also discard reasons 3 and 4. Only the largest of headers call for two trimmer studs on each side. This one wouldn't even if it were load-bearing. Pocket doors can be and were installed anywhere a standard door might go.

Otherwise, I agree. You should be able to ascertain that there's no load resting on this header. The wall plate that runs across it should be visible from the attic, under the insulation. If that's clear, you're correct. A truss over the wall that's the same in bearing and design as the adjacent trusses isn't a concern.

This is a rare load-bearing question that has all the necessary information in it to make a confident answer. Bravo. That said, there may be factors we can't see. That's the drawback of asking the internet what it thinks. Responsibility for your safety and financial well-being still rests on you.

  • Thank you for the response. What are your thoughts on the header that runs perpendicular to the trusses (picture 2)?
    – RJTurner
    May 15, 2020 at 16:52
  • What about it? It's a standard non-bearing interior door header. You can tell because there are no pin studs above it.
    – isherwood
    May 15, 2020 at 18:22

Any major structural change in a house should be looked at and approved by a "structural engineer" to make sure that you do not remove a load bearing wall that would yield a construction disaster. A mistake in the buildings integrity would be very costly in addition to being dangerous. So hire a structural engineer just to be sure before proceeding.

  • I certainly don't disagree with you, and would consider this the absolute safest way to do it, it appears to be unnecessary in this case.
    – FreeMan
    May 15, 2020 at 15:37
  • Thank you for the response. Would a framing contractor be able to provide the same response as a structural engineer?
    – RJTurner
    May 15, 2020 at 16:54
  • 1
    Not reliably. Many framing contractors (as opposed to general contractors) barely know enough to follow a plan. They don't necessarily have the credentials or experience to make structural assessment.
    – isherwood
    May 15, 2020 at 18:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.