I would like to remove a wall in my walk-out basement but I don't know how to interpret this architectural blueprint. Based on this blueprint, is the wall bearing load or not? I have highlighted the wall in question in the pictures below.

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  • Can you take pictures of the area? Also what is the age of the house and area?
    – DMoore
    Feb 10, 2015 at 17:59

3 Answers 3


EDIT: On second look, the drawing actually tells us. There's a note box to the right: TYP BEARING WALL 2x4 stud 16" O.C. on Continuous footing. The dashed line around the wall indicates the footing.

ORIGINAL: If I'm reading the drawing correctly, IT DEFINITELY IS.

For the sake of this discussion, north is the top of the drawing.

There appears to be a beam running E-W from the post to the East wall. There are no notes on the west wall talking about a beam pocket. This leads me to believe that the dark line following the same path as the beam is simply a dimension line, not a continuation of the beam. So the beam does not extend westward towards the area you want to deal with.

This makes the total span in the area you're looking at 36 feet. Far too long for 2 x 12's, which means the wall you want to remove is definitely supporting the joists.

Even if the beam does continue, I would take great care. 20 feet is about the max for a joist span. This job calls for a professional engineer to assess the situation.

The solution is probably to dig a footer where the doorway is now, and put up a steel post and raise another short steel or paralam beam where the wall is.

This involves building temporary stud walls on either side of the existing wall to support the load while you're working. You'll need to find a contractor who has done this type of work before.

  • 1
    Good catch. The "header by supplier" notation above the wall is the second dead give-away.
    – Comintern
    Feb 10, 2015 at 23:46
  • If this is the case, why is there a 3" post a little north of the marked "beam"? That also says "Beam By Supplier".
    – alt
    Feb 11, 2015 at 0:07
  • @alt That was a bit confusing for me too. The dimension line obscures the beam end. The best I can tell, it appears to be a short beam running from the post to the east wall. If it ran all the way across, we'd see a "Beam Pocket" note on the west wall. Feb 11, 2015 at 17:05
  • I changed my mind, after reading this answer again it included enough detail to rationalize the answer that it IS a load bearing wall. I provided a separate answer which provides additional (perhaps more specific) details and is helpful for posterity sake. Thank you @Chris Cudmore
    – kingdango
    Feb 11, 2015 at 19:43

According to the response from Shannon @ house-improvements.com (he's the pro who owns the site):

Yes that is for sure [the wall is load bearing]. Three things tell me that:

  1. there is a concrete footing (dotted lines) under that wall.

  2. there is a note about a header in that door opening.

  3. the span of those joists over to the main beam is to long to be supported by the size of joists indicated with out some support along the way.

There are some options for you though:

  1. That wall looks to be approx 20' long It is possible that a steel beam could possibly be designed to carry that load but more than likely you would need a post in the middle as well. .

  2. You could open just a portion of that wall and use a wood or steel beam that can span the chosen distance. Either way you should consult a pro because this is load bearing. And this will require a permit.

Thank you everyone for your comments and answers, it is much appreciated!


Everything Chris said is true...but I’m not sure if the note box gives us information about mentioned wall or different one.It't hard to tell from the drawing, at least for me...I don't know the standards in your country, and if house is built according to regulations, but bearing walls should be either vertical or horizontal (I mean one or another direction on the drawing) so maybe you can compare these two "types" and see which is bearing.Also,keep in mind that maybe it is not the wall which is bearing weight, but only his upper part, beam and the rest of the wall isn't load bearing. I would like to provide you with more helpful information but just from the drawing I can't.

  • If you can't provide an answer, then why did you provide an answer?
    – Tester101
    Feb 10, 2015 at 17:11
  • @Tester101 Well not sure I haven't, but not a final one I agree. Anyway I gave OP some hints what to look for in order to find the answer for himself. Feb 10, 2015 at 17:28
  • I'd have thought the "Typ" was shorthand for "Typical" and all the walls where the foundation is shown would be considered load bearing, following the typical spec given. Feb 10, 2015 at 20:25
  • @Rowland Typ most likely does stand for "typical" but I’m not sure if that is description of the wall our OP is interested in.And the fact that it does have a foundation doesn’t necessarily means that it is load bearing. Many designs I have worked with had foundations under every wall on the ground level, which I think is good thing. Feb 10, 2015 at 20:34

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