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So I want to remove a wall dividing my kitchen and dining room. It is full height, so it could be load bearing. The floor joists under it run in parallel to the wall, which leads me to think it is not load bearing. The joists above it (i.e. the 2nd floor) run parallel to it as well. This makes me think it is not load bearing.

Additionally, the footer of the wall is resting on the subfloor which is between two floor joists. What I mean to say is, the wall is not sitting on any sort of support beneath it other than 5/8" ply. It isn't directly over on of the parallel floor joists.

This really makes me think it is not load bearing. Thoughts?

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The link that BMitch left in the comments is a good guideline. The top 2 answers cover a lot of stuff to check.

All in all the best way to check, since the ceiling will need repair anyway, is to remove enough drywall to see the top plate, which is still not a sure thing even if it is a double top plate. I have seen many homes built where non bearing walls had a double top plate. The ceiling needs to be opened up all along the length you plan to remove to see if there is anything bearing on it in the way of headers supporting something on the second floor. Stranger things have happened. It does not have to be a wide opening, just up the nearest joist that runs parallel to the wall is ample. This will also let you see ductwork or plumbing and electrical that will need to be rerouted as well.

As a mention, even non bearing walls should have a joist or two under them since the subfloor usually will dip under the load of the non bearing wall. Then yes, if it is non bearing, you will be doing the first floor a favor...

  • I used to build houses. All the studs came pre-cut to the appropriate length and so when framing any wall it was necessary to put double top plates on every wall whether it was a load wall or not. Also whenever ANY internal wall ran parallel to joists under it there were either additional joints placed directly under the wall or blocking was added every two feet between the adjacent joists under the wall. – Michael Karas Jan 16 '16 at 17:54
  • When I was running crews, the precuts came in 2 lengths, 92 5/8" for double top plates and 94 1/4" for single top plates. The math didn't jive but that's the length they were. Many crews still didn't concern themselves though with single or double plates, just went with double plates, just as you confirm... – Jack Jan 16 '16 at 22:48
  • My dad, who was the crew lead, always said that double plate on inner walls should also have its upper 2x4 extend out over the lower 2x4 of the exterior wall plates to tie the walls more securely together. Then with angle bracing added in the structure was a lot sturdier. – Michael Karas Jan 16 '16 at 23:09
  • Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. So I went ahead and essentially did what you recommended but I just removed all of the drywall on the wall facing the kitchen. It was in need of repair anyhow, so I figured the cost of hanging a few more sheets was nominal. When I exposed the header of the wall, while it did have a double top plate it was attached to randomly placed scrap pieces bridging the gaps between the joists. These scraps were to hold furring strips to hang the ceiling drywall on. But they double to hold the wall in place. So the wall doesn't appear to be load bearing. – Mike Jan 18 '16 at 15:25
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I agree entirely...that it's not load bearing. If there were double joists underneath then I'd say it could be, but that would only depend on a bath or such being above it. Running with the joists though really is the great observation, you'll actually be helping the structure by removing the weight of that wall.

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If your description is accurate, it doesn't sound like a load bearing wall. A bearing wall would not transfer load through plywood, it would always transfer through structural members.

However, you haven't shown any photos, diagrams, or blueprints. Because of that, there's no way for us to guarantee that it's not bearing. Remove the wall at your own risk.

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