I was planning on removing half of this wall that is on my first floor. The joists in the basement, between the first and second floor, and in the attic all run parallel to this wall. Above this room is my master bath. The wall between the bedroom and master bath is directly above this wall. In that bathroom, there is a shower stall, vanity, and toilet (nothing crazy or heavy). I began removing the wall and saw that there was a solid header above the door jam. The header was made up of two 2 x 8s that were sandwiched together and then there were two 2 x 4s under the 2 x 8s that sat on the jack studs. I've since put back the 2 x4s that are not in this picture until this can be decided. The beams that are in the room are fake beams. They are purely decoration. The walls in the basement, between the first and second floor, and in the attic all run parallel with this wall. The line on the picture of the house is showing where the wall is and the arrow in the basement picture is showing where the wall is. There are no columns in the basement as you can see. The doorway on that wall I want to remove has a 35" opening. The part of the wall that I want to take down would be about 7 feet wide. Also, the header above the doorway is just above the door. It does not run the length of the wall that is still covered by sheetrock. With this information, do you believe this wall is loadbearing? It seems strange that they would put a solid header above the door. enter image description here enter image description hereenter image description here

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    Probably. That's all anyone can say from the information at hand. Most carpenters don't waste 2x8 or 2x10 on non-bearing headers.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 19:17
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    I will say that just because the ceiling didn't move or "feel" like it was load bearing doesn't mean that it isn't. It might not bear very much load, but more investigation to the framing above would be needed.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 19:31
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    If it runs parallel to the floor joists above, then it's likely not load bearing. If it's perpendicular, then it probably is load bearing. NOTE: This is likelihood, not guaranteed.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 19:52
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    What's with the notch in left side of the header? On the right side of the header it looks like the header is floating above the stud. Is it possible this whole wall was an add-on and the header is actually a beam (or an header that spanned a wider doorway at some point) that extends inside the wall to the right of the doorway?
    – spuck
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 22:27
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    @spuck The notch is me cutting into it. Then I stopped because I got worried because the beam seemed suspicious. Since taking this picture, I put back the two 2 x 4s that were running underneath these two 2 x 8s.
    Commented Dec 4, 2021 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


Based on your updated pictures it seems that wall could bear some load, but it is not clear what support is provided in the basement. Sometimes existing framing can be faulty (esp. with incorrect bearing), or over done, appearing to bear a load when in fact it doesn't.

One way out of this question of load bearing or not, would be to assume it is, and add a beam over the opening. You could build a 3x 2x10 beam, and bear it at one end on the foundation wall (left in the basement pic) and on the opposite end on the existing cross beam (right in the basement pic, with the 3in drain running along it). Something like 2 2x4 at each end could suffice to support the beam.

I am not a framer, so if anyone who is comments and comes up with different dimensions and framing, I'd go with that. Perhaps a smaller beam depth would suffice, e.g. 3x 2x8, and you could even dispense with one of the top plates.

Ultimately it would take an engineer on site to provide an ultimate and warranted answer, but sometimes a good carpenter and more lumber than necessary can do very well and save you time and money.

Once you have decided which route to take, we can help you here with further tips for framing and finishing.

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