And even if it is not a load bearing wall, should you still "prop up" the
ceiling thereabouts before working on replacing it?
Wife and I are considering replacing the wall between the kitchen and living
room, as it has had a slow leak for some time, and the sill plate for that
wall is thereby compromised and moldy. Have already removed the sheetrock
on the kitchen side and sprayed all with 10% bleach-water, which seems to
have killed the mold, but the studs ands sill plate are still severely
compromised. Want to replace that whole wall, but don't want to start
something I can't finish or compromise the integrity of the house itself.
Would really appreciate some comments from someone in the know here. Would
like to consult a specialist, but don't know where to look for such or who
to look for.
PS: fixed the leak, BTW, and everything is now dry. It just doesn't look
some something I want to leave in place...
Sounds like you're going about it in the right way, and I'm glad
you're asking questions beforehand. You'd be amazed how many times
people get hip deep into trouble and then start asking questions.
It's not solely a question of whether it's a bearing wall or not. If
you have a tiled bathroom on the second floor, removing a wall that is
not technically a bearing wall could cause things to settle and crack
As far as determining if it's a bearing wall or not, poke some holes
in the ceiling on either side of the all - they don't have to be big -
and see which way the joists run. If they cross over the wall in
question it probably is a bearing wall. You can also check in the
basement (if you don't have one you can skip this step!) and see if
there is a beam supported by posts under that wall, or if the floor
joist under that wall is a single or not. If it's a double joist, it
might be a bearing wall, if it's a triple it definitely is.
Shoring up the ceiling on either side of the wall can't hurt, but it
might not be necessary. Do your homework and see what the framing
indicates, then, if you want a test to see what load that wall is
under, cut one stud with a reciprocating saw. If the saw blade binds
when the cut is almost all the way through - I mean really grabs the
blade, then it's under load regardless of whether it was designed as a
bearing wall or not and it would be wise to support the load above.
Gordon, I would not consider this a true statement. Many homes are
built with all studs the same length. The double plate is used to tie
corners and intersections together. If a wall were installed after the
fact, it could have longer studs with single top and bottom plates.
And even then, it's not uncommon for people adding walls to attach the
upper top plate to the bottom of the joists, build the wall on the
floor with one top and bottom plate, stand it up and shim between the
two top plates.
If your structure is in a condition where removal of a non-load
wall causes the issues you described then the structure needs to
be examined by a professional builder who can figure out where the
structure that _should_ be carrying the load has failed thus causing
the other walls which should not be doing anything but supporting
themselves to carry any of the weight of the other parts of the
Of course it could be a problem, but a binding blade in the situation
I describe does not mean the house is coming down. It means 'pay
attention'. It has to do with deflection.
Deflection is unavoidable. Not all things deflect at an equal rate.
Stiffness attracts loads. It's rare that a designer actually takes
the trouble to design walls that will shrink uniformly.
If you pay attention to what the building is telling you, you'll
rarely run into serious problems.
If the wall is directly over another wall that goes to foundation,
beam, or a structural footing then it is likely a load bearing wall.
A wall "usually" is not load bearing unless the wall in question is
also over a system that solidly transmits the load all the way to a
footing or foundation. If the wall is on top of spanned or
catelevered joists then it is not a good load bearer and would not
pass a structural inspection and is probably not holding up anything.
But a non-load bearing wall could happen to be over a system that is
connected to the footing and still not be load bearing simply because
that was where the wall needed to go.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.