I would like to replace dry-wall railing that separates the 2nd floor loft with glass...but it may be a bit more complicated.


  • Two stories
  • Vaulted roof
  • Ground Level has high vaulted ceiling
  • Second floor is a loft with flat ceiling
  • Roof is supported by truss-system which is in the attic of the second floor.
  • The truss-system is supported by the outside walls and the wall that separates the 2nd floor from the first-floor.
  • This wall has 2 large openings or 'windows' (10 foot & 7 foot)...or you can look at this a dry-wall railing.

I would like to replace the drywall railing with glass. Or in other words, I would like to remove the bottom of the windows.

Today I poked a hole in the drywall railing to see what's going on underneath the drywall. I see that the top of the trailing is a double header (2-2x6).

I don't think they are load bearing but could these drywall railings be managing part of the load? Or providing the function of a shear-wall?

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The portions of the wall section that you targeted for removal and replacement with glass are clearly not going to be load bearing because there is nothing directly above them but air. There may be a small degree of structural strength in the lateral motion direction that is offered by drywall being screwed to the stub wall studs but it is hard to tell just how much contribution there really is.

In any case you surely do not even want to consider removing a single bit of the full height wall sections.

It may be the best advice to get the paid time of a building engineer for an hour to come in and look at the situation before you make the commitment to start ripping things out.

  • 1
    +1 Ad true shear walls need diagonal bracing. If that is absent, there was no intention that they serve to provide shear strength. – bib Sep 12 '16 at 11:21
  • +1 for suggesting an engineer. The bigger challenge I see here is the specifications for holding up a several hundred pound sheet of tempered glass, and still be safe to prevent someone from falling over/through this new ledge. I would go a step further and say since this kind of installation requires at least some field experience, this is not really DIY. – BrownRedHawk Sep 12 '16 at 13:14
  • I agree with all the points raised. In regards to an engineer - I've been having a difficult time to get someone to come take a look, because they want to see a plan (I don't have one). In regards to the diy - I just wanted to remove the railing and then have someone come install the glass :-) But I will try harder to get an engineer on site and I'll talk to a glass installation company before moving forward. – hba Sep 12 '16 at 13:34

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