I have a newer DR Horton home (2016) where we'd like to do a bathroom renovation and remove a partial wall and replace it with glass to make it feel more open.

The master bathroom is on the first floor running the long direction of a 2-story house. The partial wall had plumbing in it and is next to the exterior wall. The I beam and the joist are about 3 and 4 feet from the exterior wall. You can see in the 2nd and 3rd photo both run the length of the space and are continuous.

The 2x4s used to build the partial wall have those weaker finger joints (circled). This parallel wall doesn't continue beyond this point. The 3rd piece of wood up there just extends to support the AC duct so it's not resting on drywall only.

So do you think this partial wall is load bearing? A contractor friend of mine says he doesn't think it is since both beams are continuous pieces and aren't segmented. The wall behind this one is the partition for the toilet and then behind that the wall for the closet. I'm directly against another wall for the master bedroom. So this is the 3rd of 4 perpendicular walls with the two inner ones here in the bathroom being partials.


AC & I-Beam

I-Beam & Joist

  • 2
    There's nothing inherently "weak" about finger jointed studs. Their use in a wall has no impact on whether it's load bearing or not.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 29, 2022 at 11:39
  • It is running in the right direction for load bearing, but is too short in length. Unless there is a very heavy object above this wall, then it is just a plain wall. Load bearing walls usually are supported underneath with a beam also, are usually in the centre of a house running from outside wall to outside wall.
    – crip659
    Aug 29, 2022 at 13:07
  • Do you have a floor plan with said wall marked on it?
    – MiG
    Aug 29, 2022 at 16:24
  • 1
    I've requested a blueprint from my city hall to confirm and good to know about finger joints. Just that middle board was pretty wobbly. @crip659 there's nothing above on the second floor but an open area. Aug 29, 2022 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


I took out the partial wall. It was not load bearing.

Once @FreeMan mentioned finger joints aren't inherently weak, I realized the middle stud was able to wiggle because there wasn't much pressure on it. I pulled the nails out of the footing and was able to easily wiggle it out. The outer studs likewise felt loose, and I was able to tap it out with a mallet with little force or downward pressure from the ceiling.

The homebuilder refused to provide me blueprints saying they were copywritten and protected. I still have a request in with the city for a copy for posterity's sake, but who knows if they'll have that. Thanks again!

  • 2
    After reading your last comment about the "wobbly" stud, I was going to suggest exactly what you wrote here in your answer. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Aug 30, 2022 at 13:39

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