A few months back, I purchased a home (built in '57). During the walkthrough and home inspection, there was a wall between the kitchen and living room with an opening on the far end near the exterior wall.

The wall that was about 65" was taken down and the openings were combined into one. The width of the opening from interior wall column to exterior wall column is about 145". The beam above runs from the stair wall to the exterior wall, but does not span the whole house. Above it is a room or an attic - something like that.

Any thoughts. The home inspection said that the wall could be taken down, but I don't know.

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Here is a photo from when they opened the wall later in the job:

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  • 4
    Get it checked by a structural engineer - much cheaper than the mistake you could make.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 23:24
  • 6
    So you bought a house and after the inspection but before the closing the seller removed a wall? Probably worth getting a lawyer involved. At the very least, the seller should be paying a structural engineer to evaluate the change. The second photo you posted below is kind of scary.
    – Mark
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 0:40
  • 7
    That looks like a beam supported by the wall that used to be there. You should have this checked ASAP by an engineer. If it snows where you live get that checked definitely before next snow fall
    – P2000
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 0:47
  • 2
    Your BEST bet is to contact a structural engineer who is qualified and licensed to physically look at every part of your house necessary to make the determination if this is (supposed to be) a load bearing wall. Your next best option is to open up more of the drywall to see what was actually done there. It's possible that you're seeing a header from an interior door that wasn't intended to be load bearing and, therefore, you're basically OK to proceed. OR, you could be looking at a disaster waiting to happen. Your next best bet is to refer back to the BEST bet.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 16:42
  • 2
    Nobody goes to the trouble of putting in a serious beam only to leave one end hanging in midair. I have to agree that this needs fixed soonest. But you need an engineer to check whether the floor can take the force of a simple column, or if you need something that will transfer the force across a wider area. (When I had a load bearing wall removed, the engineer recommended sistering an iron C-beam to the joist that was going to bear the increased load.) My amateur opinion is that you really, REALLY, need an expert opinion.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


If you could take a picture of what is above the beam in the attic that would be helpful.

From the pictures shared:

  • First section between stairs and mid of the opening - A wall was recently removed under this section. It looks like there is no beam above, unless it is hidden by the drywall. If this wall was load bearing, and it was removed, then it would seriously affect the structural integrity of the house. If you have not noticed any settlement, then it is most likely not taking any vertical loads, but there is a risk that it was a shear wall. In which case it is affecting the lateral capacity of your house. I would agree to consult a structural engineer to get the structure of the house inspected.
  • Second section between mid opening and exterior wall - It looks like the beam was the header of the previous opening. If the wall was non-bearing, I am not sure why there would be a header, unless it was placed to provide stability to the wall removed. Anyway, I would agree to have the house checked by an engineer.
  • Are you in a seismic region?

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