I am planning on removing a few walls between my kitchen/dining/living rooms. I keep having people tell me to be careful in case they're load bearing, which I know, but the walls don't run to the ceiling. Is there any chance they still could be load bearing?

More info:
- Brick rancher, one- story house
- The ceiling in this area starts at 8 foot on exterior walls and vaults to 12 foot. There's a beam, but I'm not sure if it's structural or cosmetic
- The walls in question are all 8ft. They touch the ceiling only at one corner, but this area is actually being built out more.
- Beam is perpendicular to joists. Wall is T-shaped, so some perpendicular (not directly under beam) and some parallel.

The door opening is going to become an actual wall. The fridge is moving to that area, so the wall will remain for about 5' here.

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enter image description here This is where the wall "T"s off from the longer part.

  • 1
    Pictures would help. Does the wall run parallel or perpendicular to the roof's ridge line? – Comintern Aug 6 '16 at 13:08
  • I added a couple but it won't let me add more than 2 – Laurie Aug 6 '16 at 14:29

The beam at the top of the picture is almost certainly structural - it appears to be the bottom of a ridge beam for the cathedral ceiling that has had trim applied to it. The only other way to keep a cathedral ceiling from pancaking and thrusting the walls out is run perpendicular ties between the walls.

As for the wall, there is no way that this is structural at any point underneath the transom (the area at the top where it is open between the two rooms). There's simply nothing there for it to be bearing a load for.

  • Thanks! I updated the post with two new pics from the other side. Think there's any issue on that side? – Laurie Aug 6 '16 at 14:51
  • 1
    Certainly doesn't look like it. There's a very, very slight chance that the top of the wall in the new bottom picture is serving as a tie between the two exterior walls, but I'd doubt it. You also wouldn't be able to tell until the sheet-rock was off. – Comintern Aug 6 '16 at 14:53

They can be load bearing...as mentioned we need more info. Think of it as a "load path". The corners you're referring to could be picking up a load and transferring it to the structure below. If you're leaving those "corners" intact it is probablyyyyyyy okay but the devil is in the details.

  • 1
    I was more concerned about the beam. Depending on how the vault is framed, it could very well serving a purpose similar to a rafter tie. – Comintern Aug 6 '16 at 13:33

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