Kitchen wall and exterior wall with windowSo my adult kids started working on the kitchen-they were planning to remove a wall that runs perpendicular to the peak (along the cross-joists, so we thought it wasn't a supporting wall).

After removing the drywall it looks to us like it might be a supporting wall.

In the picture you can see the kitchen wall we were thinking of removing along the right, and the exterior wall in front. (to the very right you can see the edge of a door frame; we'd removed the actual door a while ago and turned it into an archway to get more room, since it was a pocket door, making the framing around it about 6 feet wide and we preferred to have the opening).

So, do we need a structural engineer? It looks like there's a beam running parallel to the main beam, about 2 feet from the edge of the house and in the picture, about a foot closer to the exterior wall than the vertical plumbing pipe -- is this normal? It looks like we need to support it, my son suggests a pillar just under it where the wall framework is currently and then removing the rest of the framework of the kitchen wall.Closer view of wall we want to remove

I'm just nervous my kids are going to do something to completely destroy my house or create a situation that's going to cost me way more than I can affort. Restless kids in quarantine's great for Lowes', but not my nerves!

Other side of kitchen: Opposite over door frame

Closer view of support Closer view of support

  • The floor joists run parallel to the wall on the right - the one with the plastic over it? How are those joists fastened to the "beam" ? Doesn't look like there are any joist hangars used.
    – SteveSh
    May 30, 2020 at 19:00
  • And can you get us a picture of the other end of the joists, and what they rest on or are attached to?
    – SteveSh
    May 30, 2020 at 19:03
  • Thanks Steve; I did add a couple of pictures that might help. It looks like the joists are just resting on the beam, though they could be nailed in.
    – S Campbell
    May 30, 2020 at 20:41
  • I don't understand why the "beam" with the 2x4's that run left to right and that the floor joist are attached to is set away from the outside wall by 2 or 3 feet. Water under the bridge, but why wouldn't the builder have just run the joists all the way to the far (outside) wall and have them bear on the double top plate of that wall?
    – SteveSh
    May 30, 2020 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


The sandwich of three (probably two 2x4s and a 2x8/2x10 that run left to right in the picture are clearly carrying the load of the upstairs floor joists. (Which are also heavily compromised by the piping for the upstairs bath.). You cannot remove this wall without supporting that point load all the way to the foundation.

If you want the wall gone you'll need to contact a local structural engineer or experienced contractor to devise a replacement structure, probably just a simple header. The load will need to be carried through temporary structure while this work is being done. It is not a DIY friendly project.

Note also the door on the far right has a significant header over it, so the original framers knew the wall would be bearing a load. Then the plumber went and cut right through their top plates. ;-)

  • 1
    Yes, oldest son was pretty irritated seeing what the plumber had done. Since the house was built in the 60's, I'm guessing I don't have much opportunity to go back and berate him for it, though. ;D
    – S Campbell
    May 30, 2020 at 20:45

You are probably going to need to keep a stub wall that comes in from the exterior wall and runs past that long supporting beam that projects over to the left side of the picture. That stub wall could very well be leveraged to cover up that plumbing pipe which will have to be routed someplace. There is not enough detail in the picture to determine if that plumbing could be moved toward the exterior wall some so as to shorten how far the stub wall comes in.

Advice of an engineer is probably wise in this situation because of the odd nature of that cross beam. It does look like the joists are notched on the ends so that they rest on a 2x4 that is nailed along the bottom edge of the beam. This was probably the technique that the original builder used as opposed to the common use of metal joist hangers today.

Another thing is that the stub wall will likely need to be a lateral sheer structural element and may need to be clad with plywood, OSB sheathing or equipped with X brace metal strapping.

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