We want to remove a wall in our kitchen, so we ripped out the drywall on one side. Is there a way to tell if it's load bearing or not? Here is a picture of the exposed framing:

It seems that the beams end just above the ceiling and do not attach to a cross beam above. Here's a picture from the attic:

The house was built in 2005. We have been told newer houses do not have load bearing walls on the interior. We also had a contractor come out and he was 97% sure it wasn't, but I still want to be sure.

  • 6
    With only this photo I can't be more than 70% sure, you will not get any better than that 97% on the Internet. BTW, newer houses often use pre-manufactured trusses that clear span to exterior walls and thus have no interior bearing walls. That does not mean that ALL newer houses have no interior bearing walls, that is a dangerous assumption.
    – bcworkz
    May 1, 2014 at 23:34
  • Agree with @bcworkz on the certainty level, but with that framing I certainly hope it isn't bearing. If anything, the post on the right looks over-built for a simple wall and continues past the top plate - it may well be supporting something.
    – Comintern
    May 2, 2014 at 0:08
  • Thank you for responding, is there something else we should look for to help tell? We have even thought of calling a structural engineer for more certainty, but weren't sure since the contractor wasn't 100% sure. Thank you again.
    – user21335
    May 2, 2014 at 0:40
  • 1
    Things that would give clues would be a doubled top plate, studs that run continuously from floor to ceiling, and joists running perpendicularly. You can also get a good sense from the floor-plan. Since the house was built in 2005, the building and safety dept. (or equivalent) might have the blueprints on file. That would be the definitive way to find out.
    – Comintern
    May 2, 2014 at 1:46
  • A rough sketch of the floor plan would be useful.
    – Tester101
    May 2, 2014 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


Determining if this segment is load bearing should be evident to a competent contractor. There are a few things to look for. You have to look above and below the wall in question. In the floor or attic above, you have to determine if there is structure bearing down directly or via headers to this wall segment. Next, you need to look below in the basement level to see if a beam, post or other structure is directly below the wall segment carrying the load to the foundation. While not always true, this wall segment may be load bearing if it is parallel to the longest dimension of the house, usually perpendicular to a gable end and located half way between the two longest exterior walls. There are a few methods of framing that could make this a load bearing wall, even if you have full trusses for roof support, ie; ceiling joists that rest on a center beam directly over the wall in question. As I said, most competent carpenters could look at this and determine it's load bearing status. Obviously, a set of plans would be helpful as well. Even if it is load bearing, a good carpenter will be able to design a header to span the new opening, support the load and allow you to remove the section of wall you want gone.

  • Thank you, we checked above, there are no headers above the wall. I added a picture from the attic. We are in the south so no basement. Thank you for all your help!
    – user21335
    May 2, 2014 at 13:32
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    In your pic, are we looking at the ends of the three corner studs coming up through the ceiling? If so, so doesn't look like a supporting wall as the stud ends are not holding any load. In fact, it looks like the joist may be holding the corner of the stud wall in place. May 2, 2014 at 16:21
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    BTW, if your contractor couldn't figure this out, get a new contractor!! May 2, 2014 at 16:22
  • Yes, the pic is of the three beams in the kitchen picture leading up to the attic.
    – user21335
    May 2, 2014 at 16:22
  • Haha, he didn't go up to the attic, but we were surprised he wasn't sure of the weight. We were just getting so estimates, but want to do it ourselves.
    – user21335
    May 2, 2014 at 16:23

Since you can see the tops of those three studs in the attic, it's pretty obvious that they are not holding anything up. You might want to check along the entire length of the wall, too. If you can see the tops like that all along, then you can be 100% certain that it is not load bearing.


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