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How can I tell if a first floor wall is load bearing? Answered

Hi, I would like to remove the wall between my kitchen and dining room to open up the area.  How can I tell if the wall is load bearing? The wall is on the 1st floor, runs lengthwise to the house and is about in the middle of the house, but it doesn't travel the entire length of the house. Any help or advice is appreciated.


Without seeing it, or knowing more info, I'd guess it is a load bearing wall. Generally when a wall is centered and running opposite to the ceiling beams, the wall is supporting the load above. The fact that the wall does not extend through the whole house isn't a factor, as there may be a beam installed in the remaining section to carry the load which then allows for a different floor plan.

The only way to know for sure is to get a professional in to inspect the wall. They can then advise you of what's needed in terms of a beam to support the ceiling rafters (or 2nd floor), and if you have any pipes or electrical in the wall that may need relocation. (All those factors add to the cost in removing a wall unfortunately).

Forgot to mention that you should also check with the city for building permits. Most modifications (such as removing a wall) require you to get permits and have the work pass inspections at different stages of demolition and construction.

Knock it out - if the upper floor becomes a lower floor, then it was load-bearing!

(Sorry, just couldn't resist...)

What's on top of the wall? That's all that matters and is the answer to your question. Is there a second floor above the wall? If so then it probably is load bearing. Although if trusses are used to support the second floor then they may be designed to span outside wall to outside wall. If it is roof above the wall then it may not be load bearing if trusses were used to build the roof. If trusses were not used to build the roof then the wall is probably load bearing. If floor or roof joists are spliced over the wall then it is load bearing.

Even if it is load bearing usually it can be taken out and replaced with a beam to open up between rooms.  This must be done by a professional though, it's definitely not a DIY operation.

First of all: Masonry or timber frame ?
How thick is it ?
What's on top of it ?

Which way do the joists in the second floor run ?

Timber frame, about 4.5 inches thick, and there's a second floor above it (2 bedrooms). Assuming the joists on the 2nd floor run parallel to the rafters, then the wall is perpendicular to the joists.


What if any walls are directly over it on the second floor and which way are the joists running?

You will need to remove some of the drywall/plaster to see what is going on in the ceiling and the wall. But when in doubt have a contractor come out.