Is this a load-bearing wall?


Old 07-24-13, 10:47 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 45
Is this a load-bearing wall?

I'm remodeling and moving some things around. Since I've already removed the drywall from the ceiling, I was thinking of removing the wall between the stairs and the living room to open up the space.

So, what I'm wondering is whether I need to:
  1. Reinforce the joists above, so I can take out the current wall and have a nice railing and newel post.
  2. Leave the double king at the end of the wall to support the joist above, remove drywall and studs between.
  3. Keep the support post at the end of wall AND add support (either a second 2x10 or glulam) to support the load above.
Here are some preliminary pics of what the stairwell looks like now.

This is the all I'd like to partially remove. Right now it's got a double stud at the end, then the standard 18" on center along the wall with a double top plate.

Looking up the staircase. I removed a patch of drywall to pull some wires and to confirm the wall ends with a double stud.

Here's the cut out for the wire I was removing. Not a great shot, but it's definitely a double stud.

Clear pic of the double top plate.

And here are some pics of what I'd like to do.

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Old 07-25-13, 05:08 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 17,764
Generally a wall running parallel to the ceiling joists is not load bearing since it could only support the one joist above it. Your ceiling joists appear to run parallel to that wall. Also, if your roof & ceiling is framed with trusses they are usually supported by the building's outer walls and not the interior partition walls.

You have outlets in the wall you are considering removing. Don't go crazy with demo like they often show on TV. You have wires in there somewhere. Until you know where they run somewhat carefully remove the drywall since wiring can go up through the ceiling, down through the floor or along in the middle of the wall somewhere.

Also, do you have a bathroom or any plumbing downstairs in the area of this wall? If so you could have a vent pipe. Similarly if there is a bathroom somewhere in the vicinity of this wall it's possible there could be a drain line in there.
Old 07-25-13, 06:05 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 45
Thanks for the tip on parallel walls-to-joists. That helps a lot.

I'm very cautious when it comes to wires. I'm pulled the 14/3 that operated the 3-way switch at the bottom of the stairs. I'll definitely be on the look out for the 12/2 that powers the outlet. My hope is that it runs in such a way that I can either leave it alone completely, or move it over enough that it can still run up the wall, but not interfere with the cut-out for the stairs.

There is no plumbing in the wall. The air return (giant hole at floor level) is under the stairs, so I won't be worrying about that.

The photo below shows the section of the wall I'd like to remove. The right-hand side, or upper point of the triangle, is a bit arbitrary right now. I may actually cut back a bit and give myself a larger vertical section there. It all depends on the ballusters and how it might look if I go that shallow.


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