Replacing LB wall with concealed beam....

Old 04-05-05, 05:31 PM
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Replacing LB wall with concealed beam....

Hello, my name is Tony and just to give you an idea of what I am working with, here is the layout of my home. I have a Cape Cod style home and the main level is essentially divided into five rooms with a stairway directly inside the front door leading to the unfinished second floor. I would like to finish off the upstairs someday by adding a full dormer off the back and two small dormers off the front. Before I can do that, the main level needs to be updated/remodelled. The left side of the home is divided in half by a load bearing wall with a doorway on the right next to the stairs wall. From now on I will be writing about the left side of the house only.

In the front of the house is a living room which I will soon turn into a dining room. In the back of the house is the kitchen. I don't like the wall that divides the two rooms so I am planning on tearing it out but I will have to replace it with a beam to support the center of the second floor. I would like to avoid having an exposed beam that I will have to box in and drywall or cover in expensive hardwood so I came up with this idea and I need advise as to whether it would work and keep the structural integrity of the house.

The second floor joists currently rest on the center load bearing wall and are off set from each other (the joists coming from the front and back of the house). I would like to cut the joists down the center of the house leaving a gap just wide enough to slip in a three 2x8 beam that would rest on the outside wall and on the stairs wall which is a span of 15' and then hang the joists off of the beam with joist hangers. I could place a column almost in the center of the new support beam.

I know I wrote a book here but I really need help with this one because the structure of my house depends on it. Is this a ridiculous idea and would my town inspector throw his clip board at me or is this a sound idea? I would really appreciate your comments, suggestions, laughs....whatever!!!
Old 04-05-05, 05:57 PM
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I was reading another thread and I realize I may need an engineer to figure out the details but does this seem at all possible? Is it worth spending the money on an engineer to tell me that this is not possible. I also realize that there are huge precautions to take when changing the structure of a house such as errecting temporary support while the permanent support is put in place.

Thanks for any advise you can give!!!
Old 04-06-05, 09:52 AM
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best to get an eng. to look at it size the beam and the connections.
Old 04-06-05, 10:02 AM
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It can be done. As you said, it would be best to get someone to look at it, but from what you describe, an LVL would be appropriate. I wouldn't go with dbl or triple 2x8's. A properly sized LVL will be better structurally.

BTW, what you are proposing is called a "Flush Beam". You will probably need to insert a post in the walls where the beam is because you might crush the 2x plates depending on the loads - this is one of the reasons to consult an engineer. Another is the fact that the second floor joists are probably nailed together so as to "tie" the top of the walls together where the roof rafters try to push them apart - you will need to maintain this structural element in some fashion.
Old 04-06-05, 10:57 AM
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Thanks to both of you for your advise - very helpful!

Using LVL's would still allow me to flush the beam (the current floor joists are solid sawn 2x8's)? One more question...are joist hangers strong enough to hold that kind of weight? The floor joists span about 13ft. on both sides to the point where the LVL beam would be placed.
Old 04-06-05, 06:44 PM
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It depends on the joist hangers you choose; there are hangers rating into the tons apiece though, so you shouldn't have a problem with that respect. Just make sure you pick the right one for the job- one that will hold ample tension to hold your walls together as Joe mentioned, for instance. You might end up having to install lateral ties as well as brackets.

Here's a site with a number of different hangers for reference; your local supplier will have a specifier's guide you can use, too. Or, if you go with an engineer, he'll tell you right down to the type of nails you should use and how to drive 'em, which might sound stupid, but is very important

Your area may or may not require an actual liscensed engineer/architect to do the design; if not required, all you really need is someone savvy enough to run the numbers for you; the yard that sells you your LVL & hangers can almost certainly do it and possibly for free, too. Be careful with the installation, too- improperly installed hangers will squeak; my local engineered lumber yard here told me they would sell me hangers if I insisted, but he really hated to.
Old 04-07-05, 05:06 AM
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This forum rocks!

Great advise! I will try to find a good engineer now that I know its possible and I won't be spending money to find out it can't be done.

Thanks a bunch!

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