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Raising Wall Heights


shoeless's Avatar
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05-18-09, 07:15 AM   #1  
Raising Wall Heights

Every wall in my house is currently measuring 87-1/2" from hardwood to sheetrock. I want to raise the height of all my ceilings to somewhere around 9 foot.

We will be completely removing the entire roof.

I do not know if it is possible to simply "add on" to the top of the existing walls or not. We will be building a second floor over 60% of the existing house. My thought was to build a short wall on top of the existing walls before adding the second floor.

 
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05-18-09, 07:42 AM   #2  
Wow!, I'm trying to envision what you will be able to save. Never done it and have no engineering to say yes or no, so I will hold off on my thoughts. You'll need to be sure your foundation can handle the second story. How old is the house and are the walls 2x4 or 2x6?

Small town, but they may still require a permit, and if so they will be the determining factor.

Good luck
Bud

 
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05-18-09, 08:20 AM   #3  
We are re-doing the foundation to handle a 2-story. And, of course, I will be consulting an engineer for approval on both the foundation and the second-story addition.

I just like to get a few opinions before hiring a professional. That way I get a better understanding of what will be happening and don't have to just "trust" that the engineer knows the best way. Everyone has opinions, you know.

I think asking people who have actually done (or seen) the work done is important.

The house is 2 X 4 stick framing. No permits are required. Just an inspection by a third party company (that works for the nearby city).

 
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05-18-09, 02:57 PM   #4  
What exactly are you doing to the foundation to support the second floor? Be safe, G

 
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05-18-09, 03:13 PM   #5  
There currently is not a foundation, to speak of. It looks like the house originally had wooden 6 X 6 piers. They are still there (just very rotted.) Now, in addition to the wooden piers, there are concrete blocks resting on pads that sit on the ground. No rebar. No cement. No bolts. No nails. Just gravity.

The new foundation will be spot footings. They will be sized and spaced according to whatever the engineer recommends. We are currently seeking an engineer we like. Locating a single individual is difficult -- most engineers work for large companies (which means high overhead and little interest in a single, inexpensive residence).

We live southeast of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.

 
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05-18-09, 04:35 PM   #6  
The only time I heard of adding on an existing wall top was a framer built the exterior walls too low. He had to use 4x10's, on edge, bolted through the top plates, every couple of feet. He used a crane to lift the whole structure up and installed the beams, then replaced the roof. I wish I was there at the time, but only heard about it from him.

That is a good lead-in question for a Structural Engineer. Be safe, G

 
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05-18-09, 07:00 PM   #7  
I've got to ask the dumb question. Is there any acceptable land near by where you could simply build a new home and sell this one? Or do you have enough land where you could slide this building to another spot for similar or other use. The tear down you may be looking at is a huge loss in equity.

I've seen people use the existing house as an addition onto their new home.

Just thinking.
Bud

 
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05-18-09, 07:13 PM   #8  
I've done it, but the existing house had a good footing and foundation, so that part, I can't help you with. Basically I craned off the existing roof superstructure (simple hip roof, and very small), set it in the field, built knee type walls above the existing ones, bolting them in place, and set the roof structure back on top. We used hurricane straps to attach the roof to the top plate of the new wall. It didn't turn out to be too bad.
You have a different can of worms to deal with, though, not just making the walls taller.

Larry

 
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05-19-09, 04:31 AM   #9  
As an addendum....I'd never do it again. Too much risk. I was younger, my hair was on fire, I was 10 feet tall and bulletproof. Now, I think through things better.

 
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05-19-09, 06:42 AM   #10  
Thanks for the posts everyone! Good info and insight.

We will not be keeping any part of the current roof. (We may put the wood towards a workshop or something later.)

The new structure has a different pitch and a different shape. Think of going from a basic rectangle to the letter "L". The "L" part will be the second story and the open part will be one story (with a lower pitch than it has now). The old house is just a simple rectangle 36w X 28d.

So, the second story will be 36w X 14d across the front half with a 14w X 14d addition over one end of the back half. Make sense?

The pitch of the old roof is about 6/12. The new roof will have a pitch of about 20/12. Yes, that is an extremely high pitch. We are creating a Gothic Revival. We will ultimately consult a structural engineer. But, my current guess is that with such a heavy roof, we will need solid studs in every wall. If that is popular opinion we will ditch the idea of raising the walls and just live with the current height.

And Bud9051, good question. We looked into it. But, the house currently sits on top of a small hill with a great view. There is no better location on the property.

 
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