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Question DetailsAsked on 3/12/2016

How would I remove the L-shape load bearing wall without leaving a pillar in the middle of the room?

I am ok with having a beam run across the room parallel to that wall, however I know the dimension of that side would be ~24 feet. Is it possible to have a beam like that run from one side of the room to the other? Below is a link to the picture of the wall and the room.

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2 Answers


If L-shaped it is possible that only one side of the L is load-bearing, so replacing the load-bearing side with a beam is a possibility. Ditto to using an arch, or series of arches.

24 feet is obviously pushing the limit for free span, but no more than a 2-1/2 or 3 car garage span. If is would be acceptable for at least a portion of the beam to extend below the ceiling (exposed or concealed) that certainly makes it easier and probably cheaper, because you might be able to use a steel beam supporting the overlying joists from underneath the same way the wall is probably supporting them now, concealed in a soffit, rather than having to cut the joists to have them Tee into the side of a beam built up into the overlying floor.

Costs and technical details obviously vary significantly case by case, but a Structural Engineer can assess the situation and design a replacement support system - commonly in the $500-1000 range for this size beam. Or if this is part of an overall remodel and you are using an architect, he/she can handle that design too - using an in-house civil/structural engineer or a sub-consultant one.

Here are links to a couple of similar questions with answers - more links to other similar questions in and/or under the answers -

Thnis looks like a vacant house - if so and you are looking at this work as part of your total purchase cost, you should get at least an estimate from a General Contractor for the work - maybe assuming a standard design table glulam or LVL beam (maybe on the order of 18" deep by 6 or so inches wide), or a steel beam maybe 12-18 inches deep as a concept, so you don't get into a decision without leaving enough money to actually pay for it.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


OK - yesterday when I posted a response, the link for the photo was not complete - showed as text of the partial address, not a URL. Today one of the two identical questions actually links correctly, so I could see your photo. Everything I said before still goes, but I would give about 10:1 odds that that entire wall is STRUCTURALLY non-load bearing. But does hold up the dropped ceiling in the kitchen, which would have separate joists (typically 2x6 to 2x12 but could be LVL or plywood I beam joists) to support the dropped ceiling and lighting - almost certainly tying into the outside wall at one end (into the wall with the kitchen windows), and across to that L shaped wall at the other.

It is extremely likely, only from looking at the picture of course, that the roof support members are identical across that kitchen area as across the wide open (living room ?) area in the foreground of the photo. If that is the case, then (again assuming the roof and its framing is identical over the kitchen) the entire wall could be taken out - but would mean taking out the dropped kitchen ceiling as well, or otherwise supporting it with a beam and column or an arch or such along the line oif the existing long section of the L wall.

Structural Engineer can certainly determine this definitively and either provide a design for alternative support, or certify the wall is non-load bearing and can be taken out without other support measures.

You could stick your neck out and go straight to a remodeling general contractor and let him tell you if it is load bearing or not - because taking out non-load bearing walls generally (not always) does not require a building permit, so that could eliminate the engineer cost - but at a greater riskk of him getting it wrong and taking out a load-bearing wall and causing potential major problems. This is most critical with roofs, because typically you start taking out a load-bearing wall supporting the house itself and your sawblade will bind up as the load comes onto it, or you will see and hear dramatic creaking and groaning and nail-pulling as the structure sags. With roofs, because in normal snow-free conditions they only have maybe about 10 pounds per square foot on them, the support framing can hold it up in many cases (depending on framing of course), and you don't see the effect of the loss of support till a substantial wind or snow load comes on the roof - at which time you can get a near-instantaneous failure without warning. Also, because a GC is not licensed to make structural assessments, his insurance company would likely fight tooth and nail if you filed a claim with them, whereas architects/engineers have Errors and Ommissions insurance which should help cover any mistakes in determination - not that such a mistake by and A/E is at all common in the generally very simple residential case.

Course, as I said before I think, if this is part of a general remodel with an architect or engineering firm on board already, they can do that assessment and any remedial measures as part of the development of the remodel plans.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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