Doing a little kitchen renovation. Below is the place where a small pantry and a stack of old double electric wall ovens once lived.

enter image description here

The pantry was on the left, and you can probably make out the door frame. The ovens were stacked on top of each other in the open cavity on the right.

As you can see, the framing of the pantry is still in tact: the wall between the pantry and the ovens, as well as the front of the pantry, above the door that was once there. Tonight I would like to remove the rest of the pantry framing (that wall and the space above the door).

Although I am 99.99% sure of the answer, I want to just make sure that nothing jumps out as a red flag to anyone in case this pantry framing is load-bearing. I know for a fact that the wall behind the pantry/ovens is load-bearing, but the wall dividing the pantry and the ovens, as well as the door frame to the front of the pantry absolutely should not be. But I'd like to get everyone's experience, expertise and opinions before I take it out.

Of course this is all non-binding advice and of course, especially with structural "stuff" and load-bearing walls, I understand I enter at my own risk, blah blah blah. So having recited that little disclaimer:

Is there an easy way for me to test and be certain (or certain enough :-) ) that the pantry framing is not load-bearing?

  • Is there any large weight above that wall, hot tub, brick chimney? If not, then it being load bearing is very low.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 12:33
  • That looks like some hefty framing for a pantry. Can you remove more of the damaged drywall?
    – JACK
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 12:40
  • What's below that wall? Is it on a slab or is there a basement/crawlspace? If there is air below, is there anything for that pantry wall to transfer its weight to? If not, it's definitely not bearing weight, even if it were intended to. Also, the fact that the wall misses the floor joists above is a serious green flag for not-load-bearing.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 12:57
  • 1
    @JACK, I'd have framed that the same way, assuming it was done during construction. Precut studs, doubled top plate (to match the rest of the walls), and a doubled 2x4 header. Looks like the usual non-bearing situation to me.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


(it's not the best photo to really know, but I'm reporting on what it looks like, and you need to get up there and see if my comments help you decide better)

Load bearing walls are named as such because of what is above them.

They typically have a few characteristics which help identify them as load bearing.

  • Most of the wood in the flooring or roof structure above them runs perpendicular to them. That's because if it ran parallel, most of the wood above the wall would be unsupported.

  • They generally run the entire length of a room. This provides equal support across all the items above the wall for that room.

  • Structural walls that don't span the room have large beams that run parallel to the wall, to keep the superstructure from sagging. The thick beams (or metal beams) distribute the load to their ends for the supported elements above them. These can be hidden in the wall (which makes a large doorway) or hidden in above the ceiling. If above the ceiling, the joists will still run perpendicular, and typically will be attached to the beam with joist hangers.

Here is the simplified view of an idealized load bearing wall.

enter image description here

In all cases, you'll notice a pattern. The joists run perpendicular to the load bearing wall. You joists seem to run parallel, if that's what it looks like to you, then the wall behind the oven bays is likely load bearing, but the wall to the side of it isn't.

Now the wall with the door in it may or may not be load bearing, as there is no guarantee that the joists in a home all run in the same direction. The adjoining room's joists must be inspected separately to be certain.

As long as the joist above the oven framing isn't damaged, I doubt you'll have problems with removing the wall below it. It is rare, but a damaged joist might "convert" that wall to be load bearing for a very tiny amount of the structure above; but, I would expect you would have noticed other issues earlier if that was the case.

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