What needs to be done before removing non load bearing wall?

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Posted by: from Toronto
8/8/2014 at 11:02:38 AM


I want to remove the zig zag wall that is separating the kitchen from the living/dining area in my bungalow. It is not a load bearing wall.

What do I have to do, if anything, before removing the walls?



What needs to be done before removing non load bearing wall?
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Tailored Construction in Montreal
Date/Time8/8/2014 at 12:18:00 PM

Hey Ivan,

The first thing to do is to turn off the breaker that supplies current to the outlets (if any) on the walls that you want to remove. Then remove the outlets. Remove the gyproc and studs and header and footer. Then you will have to patch the ceiling and redo the floors.

Dont hesitate if you have any questions.


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Ivan in Toronto
Date/Time8/8/2014 at 2:12:49 PM

Hi Robert,

Thanks for the reply!

Do I have to reinforce the 2x4s of whatever is in the attic holding up the ceiling somehow I did not check), or does that matter?

I have attached a pic of the attic. The ceiling in question is below the fiberglass.

FYI, the house is a 1955 postwar bungalow.


What needs to be done before removing non load bearing wall?
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Ivan in Toronto
Date/Time8/8/2014 at 2:52:36 PM

Not sure why that picture is upside down.

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Date/Time8/8/2014 at 4:14:19 PM

Hi Ivan,

Looking at your drawing makes me thinking that you should re -think about this wall not being load bearing. I seen somebody commented to watch for electrical breaker. I think you should think about your span of 19' what I see on your drawing and I think you have concern, otherwise you won't be going this route.

Somebody qualified and professional enough should examine this and give you professional opinion what is to do.

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Ivan in Toronto
Date/Time8/8/2014 at 4:24:02 PM

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the reply. I have had a couple of contractors look at it, and they are saying different things. That is why I wrote on this forum to try to get a sense of what should be done. What is certain is that the load from the roof is on the outside walls.

What I don't know is what to do with the kitchen walls if I open it up. Do I have to reinforce something up in the attic, do I need to keep a post (if yes, then where)? Who would know for sure what needs to be done (structural engineer)? The reason why I thought a forum could answer the question is that there are tens of thousands of these bungalows that look like this in Toronto that I thought every contractor would know what to do, but the ones that I talked to are saying different things. I just do not want to start knocking stuff down if I am not supposed to.


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Date/Time8/8/2014 at 10:37:01 PM

As a second opinion, I concur with Yvan in that the separating walls could be load bearing. Whenever I am in doubt, I consult with a structural or civil engineer in such cases. The cost of the engineer will likely be a lot less than the cost of repairing the mess if someone is wrong.


Attawa Consulting

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Ivan in Toronto
Date/Time8/8/2014 at 10:56:32 PM

Thanks All.

Structural engineer it is.


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Date/Time8/8/2014 at 11:37:17 PM

Hi Ivan,

Most contractor think as you do, one think in mind how do I support what ever is up above, not realizing when you remove wall you remove tie (connection) from one end of the house to the other. You are saying load from the roof is resting on outside walls. If anything the roof is pushing outside walls outwards and in house design that is not plus, that is why you have joists to hold outside walls not collapsing.

What You need is someone who know house construction and give you proper answer. Structural engineer can give peace of mind, will do nothing for experience contractor.

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Reza from Borj Construction in Toronto
Date/Time8/10/2014 at 4:56:54 PM

Hi Ivan,

There is a lot of good points that the contractor brought up, with a structural engineer you will know what to deal with, but it will not be use for an experienced contractor, which you can spend good amount of money.

Also before removing any walls you should make sure you you are not running any wires, supply water pipes or supply air ducts or you are wasting your money.

Now if we say its safe and it is not load barring wall, which it is possible in your house to have a 20' ceiling joist since it is an old house, even if you remove the wall you will have cracks later and your ceiling will gradual drop for that span of ceiling, if it has not by now of course. So in any case I do recommend a secondary support for more long term problems.

Best regards

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Date/Time8/10/2014 at 5:10:28 PM

Reza, what are you rambling about?

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Date/Time8/14/2014 at 6:06:35 PM

It is most likely that part of the zig zag wall is bearing some load especially the wall that helps create the hallway wall when you enter the home.

Your best bet always is to have a structural engineer asses and provide you with basic drawings for a small fee. Whether the wall is load bearing or not it can still be removed and supported, done by a competent contractor. Having engineer drawing will give you piece of mind that thing are being done right and gives the contractor instructions on what to do just in case he/she does not know.

Also keep in mind that you will have possible drain, vent, air return, electrical running through parts of the wall that will need to be rerouted that can cause your renovation to spiral into other additional work.

Good Luck!

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