Removing ceiling joists


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Old 10-21-06, 04:19 PM
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Removing ceiling joists

Hello, I have a family room approx. 21x16. I want to remove some of the joists and have an open ceiling. The span of the ceiling joists are 16'. The rafters are 24" on center while the joists are 16" on center. Both the joists and rafters are doubled up or sistered 2x6 so they are actually 4x6", is this overkill? The house was built in 1964. It would be nice if I could make the ceiling 48" centers or less, how many joists may I safely remove to support an insulated pine tongue and groove ceiling on the rafters and having exposed joists. In this part of the house there is a 6'x21' laundry room sharing the roof and rafters, running parallel, but over that room is 16" on center 2x4s for the ceiling joists. I'm guessing it's a bearing wall which I'll keep to separate the family room and laundry. Do I need an engineer and permits? I'd like to do it properly but still do most of the project myself. Thanks
 

Last edited by blub; 10-21-06 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 10-21-06, 07:10 PM
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Stop right where you are, do not pass go. First of all you need to call in a structural engineer to see if you can even remove any joists at all. Remember this is holding your roof up. Then you will have to get a permit. This is not an easy or little job. This is major surgery in the building business. This job will not be cheap either. I know it seems simple in your mind, but believe me there are both live and dead load, stresses, and alot of other things you don't even want to know about here that have to be delt with. Good Luck
 
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Old 10-21-06, 08:52 PM
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Thank you for the reply, a builder I was talking to made it sound simple, all I was going to do was tear out the sheetrock and have someone look at it for me and give advice. I was just curious on how heavy duty it was because no other room in this house is like this. It's a 2700 sq. ft. ranch style, 8' ceiling home and this room @ less than 340 sq. ft. is 2x6 sistered framing just in the family room. Without seeing it, he gave me an est. of $4000, which is fine, then he said less if I did some of the work, because I'm able to do the pine t&g, insulation, plumbing, electrical and hvac. The roof has been replaced with composition from cedar shakes and plywood over the 1x4s I don't see any other problems other than framing, which I will not be doing. Any problems I should watch for when getting an est. or finding a contractor? Thanks again.
 

Last edited by blub; 10-21-06 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 10-21-06, 10:33 PM
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I would most definetly get a structural engineer to look at your project before you proceed. Some contractors can make things sound simple even when they cannot see the whole picture. any time you are dealing with joists of any kind wheather they are floor joists or ceiling joists or rafters, it is very serious business. As a General Contractor myself, my very best advice is to get a professional structural engineer to look at it first and get their opinion, before going any further. Personally, I would not have given you any kind of estimate until an engineer had looked at it and told of all the problems ahead. Thats from experience. Good luck
 
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Old 10-22-06, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by blub
Without seeing it, he gave me an est. of $4000, which is fine, then he said less if I did some of the work, because I'm able to do the pine t&g, insulation, plumbing, electrical and hvac.
Ask yourself one question. How does a Professional Contractor even give you a price on something without even seeing it?

That right there is a major red flag and will cost you more money then you can think of..

What your asking about doing can be done and is done every day. I've done this type of work many times and many different ways. The only thing is that every time I've done this, they've all been designed by an Architect or Engineer.

This is the roof of your house that you are talking about and like jack said is a major surgery and can not be taken lightly, especially from a contractor that tells you $4000 without even looking at it.

I've been a framing contractor for 23 years and have framed many different ways and I could tell you all of them similar to your situation just from what I've done before, but that means nothing.

I've taken out ceiling joists and just added joists 2-3' higher nailed or bolted into the existing rafters before on some houses do to spans and sizes of rafters. The height of the new joist has to be designed also, you canít just set them were ever you want too.

You can just leave some ceiling joists in x amount of feet also like you want but these have to be designed to do so. I frame like this with the joist off the top plates but use multiple joists to do so every 32Ē or 48Ē but it also has to be desigened.

I just did something like this to my cousinís house and I recommended an Architect that I now for him because we took out every joists and made it a full cathedral ceiling. His rafters were 2x6's with a 2x8 ridge. The Architect specked out a 7-1/2" x 18" microlam to go directly under the ridge the whole length of the room and we posted down on both sides to the foundation.

Under the microlam I set 2x6's collar ties level so that the hvac had a place to go. Those weren't need for anything structural. From the bottom of those I furred down the 2x6's with 2x4's because you can't have 2x6's for a cathedral ceiling. Not enough insulation.

Around here in NJ you don't need an Architect for your own house. My point was that even though Iím a framing Contractor I know that different situations means different ways of framing that are structurally sound and Iím not qualified to do that, so I let my Architect do that for my cousin.

You should do the same thing to protect yourself. This guy who gave you a $4000 price was just to get his foot in the door with you and once he starts will wind up charging you 10 times more in the long run or god for bid something serious could happen to your house if you didn't get any inspections.

Sorry for the long post, but Iíve seen it before and read it before about failures do to inexperienced framing and work done without permits or Architectural drawings.
 
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Old 10-22-06, 09:33 AM
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OK, thanks, don't apologize for the long post, I do appreciate it. Better to know why than start tearing into something I know nothing about, I would like to do it the right way first. I'm just curious now on why they would only do this one room with sistered 2x6 every 16", seems very extreme to me because the roof line over the family room is 1' lower than the rest of the house and those are all single joists and rafters, just like the garage with same pitch roof but the garage only has 48" on center joists but it's a bigger span than the family room.. Thanks
 

Last edited by blub; 10-23-06 at 03:42 PM.
 

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