Building Temporary Load Bearing Wall

Question Icon
Posted by: from Brampton
2/7/2013 at 5:25:04 PM

We want to build two temporary load bearing walls on either side to support the weight of the floor above while we replace the real load bearing wall with beams.

What is the max allowable distance by code that we could build the temporary wall away from the real load bearing wall?

The reason for my question is that we have air supply ducts running on both sides of the load bearing wall that we want to replace.


User Icon
Laurence from Realtime Renovations in Pickering
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 6:41:05 PM

If you are building two temporary support walls, I am sure they could go a foot or so either side of the existing to allow you to run duct work.

Where in the residence is this located? Main floor of two storey? Three storey? Basement?

User Icon
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 6:54:01 PM

Load bearing walls are specifically located to hold weight from above and displace it below in a structual manor. Usually a distance of no more than 13 feet between load bearing walls and supports unless engineered to expand this lenght.

If you are putting a temporary wall on both sides of the existing load bearing wall you should be ok with putting them approx 3 or 4 feet out fron either side. This will be temporary and beam should be put in place the same day as existing load bearing wall is removed.

You may want to put some temporary supports on the level below the area where temporary walls will be erected. You can do this with some jackposts and sistered 2x6's (3 pieces nailed together) or by bbuilding more temporary walls.

I hope this helps you with your project.



HomeWorks by Design

User Icon
Mo in Brampton
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 6:56:46 PM

We are talking about the basement of 2 storey house. I can build the temporary wall approx 24" away from center without removing the air vents.

Is that too much distance?

User Icon
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 7:02:46 PM

Agree. I usually put them 2 or 3 feet either side of the bearing wall. Just enough to give myself room to work.

User Icon
Group S.I.S in Montreal
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 7:12:16 PM

It all depends on the flooring system. Is it a wooden structure or metal structure? What is the spacing of your existing joists?

If wooden I would build a division stud type double on to and studs 12 center to center bait over kill but better safe then sorry. Build this division about 3 ft away from demos sing wall.

Metal I would use jacks on 2x6 base and top and even weld some kind of strap to keep the joists from opening.


User Icon
Bauhaus Renovations in London
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 7:13:36 PM


I believe it's 36" max from beam/wall you are removing.

User Icon
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 7:18:08 PM

This is a tricky topic, in most cases a building permit will be required for such work and it's best to have an engineer do the math and specify what the safe distance to span will be.

Typically the best approach is to also build temporary support walls above this location directly inline with the lower supports to further distribute the overall weight from the roof.

One thing to remember is the load bearing wall sits above supports in the basement i.e.( jack posts, footings, etc.) and the weight is carried to that point, the further you venture from that critical position the more risk you take.

Seek professional advise this is not something the weekend warrior should undertake without proper knowledge!

Good luck and be safe.

User Icon
Mo in Brampton
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 8:39:41 PM

I had a few contractors come in this week for a quote and they all gave me a different answer. That is why I posted the question on this forum.

I think I should build a supooritng wall directly above the basement to distribute the weight evenly.

User Icon
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 9:21:35 PM

Thank you for your question, but I must inform you that I am an electrical contractor and not a general contractor, therefore that is not my field of expertise.

User Icon
Date/Time2/8/2013 at 11:53:14 AM

Would be about 1 - 2 feet both sides!

User Icon
Date/Time2/10/2013 at 4:57:22 PM

The most accurate and exact answer would be have an engineer complete a site visit to look at all the variables (span of current joist, load above, etc.) Once he reviews the conditions at the site, then he would be able to determine the exact distance for you as there is no "1" correct answer.

A general answer that would be typical based on the information your provided would be the following:

- maximum of 2' away on either side of existing beam

- 2"x6" wall, double top plate 12" on centre, with each stud directly underneath the floor joist

- If temp walls on on main floor, then additional support should be erected on the level below

- work should be completed and temporary walls removed in after construction of new beam is in place.

I hope this helps.

User Icon
Date/Time2/10/2013 at 6:36:17 PM


There are many factors that would need to be considered.

What are the loads on the floor above?

Which direction are the joists running under the temp wall? Is it a concrete slab?

How long are the joists that the wall will be removing?

Generally your temp wall should be no further away than 1/3rd of the total span of the joist, assuming the temp wall is being built on solid structure. (Meaning the load of the temp wall is being built on a concrete slab or running perpendicular to joist system as opposed to on plywood in between two joists.)

Answer: if the temp wall is supporting 10' long joist system, your wall should be no more than 3' from the beam.

Good Luck!

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

It appears you may be located in the US

TrustedPros is designed to deliver results targeted to your location.

Get Free Estimates

Post your project and compare offers from top-rated pros.