I want to move a non-bearing 2nd floor bathroom wall about 2.5 feet to make the space bigger for a bathroom remodel . The wall is currently over a matching bathroom below so the walls previously carried through to the foundation.

The wall is 5.5 feet long and the ideal location would place one side 4 inches from a 2x10 joist running parallel to the wall. The underlying joist span is the same 5.5 feet. I calculated the wall weight with tile and all at about 390 lbs, or 8.8 psf, 70 plf. Adding blocks between the joists to bolster the 3/4” plywood wood take a lot of work but it would not be hard to move it over closer to, or on top of a joist. Not sure how the wall dead load gets distributed, and if I am safe.

Would either location work and will the joist(s) support this extra dead load?


1 Answer 1


When framing second (top) story partition walls, carpenters generally don't concern themselves with position relative to joists. Especially with such a small wall I don't have much concern--3/4" OSB or plywood subfloor is considered up to the task.

That said, I have a long (~16') partition wall in my home, which happens to have a vaulted ceiling above it (and therefore a vertical extension), which did sag the 3/4" OSB subfloor over time, being located dead center between joists on 19.2" intervals. I recently blocked below it to prevent further sag and attempt to remedy the dip during flooring replacement. I ended up using some floor patch to level it.

The point is that in most cases it's not at all an issue, but there are extreme non-bearing cases where blocking is well advised.

  • Sounds like there are schools of thought regarding blocking or not, but load should not be a concern. I saw someone saying code says no further than 4” from a joist, but my building authority said these house are built to accommodate 40 psf and did not see a problem, but tile walls are nearly double the weight of a Sheetrock wall. Can anyone say how I would calculate the distributed load in psf? If I decide to stay in the optimal location between joints that means I just screw the bottom plate to the plywood with 3 inch SDWS screws?
    – Billyboy
    Commented Apr 4 at 16:01
  • 1
    @popham, your skills are required forthwith.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 4 at 16:20
  • The bottom plate can be fastened with about any screws or nails you have on hand. They're usually just shot down with the framing gun.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 4 at 16:33
  • Personally, I would be more comfortable with blocking between the joists, even if I have to cut a hole in the subfloor to access (assuming no access from below). The weight of a wall isn't insignificant, even if it's not load-bearing, especially once you load it with tile (although no indication if this is the case).
    – Huesmann
    Commented Apr 5 at 13:07

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