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Can I cut out a section of my plate and rim joist

Can I cut out a section of my plate and rim joist

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  #1  
Old 03-21-13, 09:20 AM
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Can I cut out a section of my plate and rim joist

Ok - here is what I'd like to do:

I would like to cut out a 32" section of my double 2x4 plate along with the rim joist and possibly one other joist.

Reason - I have an attached garage which is a conversion for living space. The space has a very high gable roof with a huge loft area. The best way to get to this loft would be from inside the house through the a joining wall to the loft. The loft floor is almost 2' lower than the 1st floor ceiling of the joining room, because the garage is built on grade, and the house is built up. I would have a ladder going up to the loft,
but a 24" opening is not comfortable going up and down.
Above that ceiling is large closet. I can sacrifice some space in this closet by removing the plate rim joist and one more ceiling joist and then put blind beams to reattach the floating joist. After this, one could walk straight up the ladder through the opening in the ceiling and then step right onto the floor of the loft above the attached garage.

Keep in mind this is on the gable end, and I am figuring that there is not much weight on the gable end. There will be no weight on the floor above since its a storage closet, and this cut would be about 5' from the weight bearing ends of the house where the rafters connect. This is a cape home if that's not clear.

I feel like this would not really weaken the home, but is it going to be a problem if I sell it someday? Will an inspector be "all over that" and cause a problem for me??

I'm not planning on doing this job with a permit.

Please tell me if I'm crazy, or if I can consider it.....and is there a way to do this properly..?

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-21-13, 05:35 PM
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This photo shows the proposed cutting with wall removed and some of the ceiling sheetrock.

The floor of the loft (you can see the railing through the cut out) is level with the bottom of the cut.
Only other option I can think of is to cut lower into the wall leaving the ceiling, joists and plate intact, and cutting into the floor of the loft. I could hide the intrusion to the lower garage area with a closet.

This is not preferable but a last resort if the general feeling is that by cutting the plate and rim joist I've ruined the integrity of the home......
 
  #3  
Old 03-21-13, 11:17 PM
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About the craziest part I see is doing it without a building permit. For sure, that will cause problems come time to sell the place, and your buyer's inspector jumps all over the "non-code-compliant, unsafe amateur work" he discovers. Could cost you big time to get the job corrected, according to codes.

Exactly why do you not want to do the work with the blessings of your permitting office?

And for your information, typical closet design loads are much higher than living space loads. Back when I was active in design work, the IRC wanted closet floors designed to resist 80 PSF, while living spaces only had to resist 40 or 50 PSF. Numbers may be different now, as this was more than 10 years ago.
 
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Old 03-22-13, 04:35 AM
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As Bridgeman says, closets and even stairways are built to heavier standards, because usually they are cut into framing members and must have substantial weight bearing duties.

Without permits?? No way. Insurance regulations as well as resale will tank on you. In addition, the opening may have to be increased to a larger area in width as well as depth for normal egress. Speaking of egress, does the attic space have egress windows or openings?

I'd get an engineer's approval before I cut through stuff I can't control.
 
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Old 03-22-13, 06:07 AM
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Ok, both replies are concerned with permit and weight issues of the closet.

Let me clarify: There will be no more "closet" above. The entire area to the right of the opening in the ceiling will be dead unused space. The small area to the left will be about 15" of closet - thats all that will remain ( just enough room for a clothes bar and maybe 6 pairs of shoes) . You won't be able to walk into the closet any longer.

I pulled a permit when I did my screen house addition and at that time had the garage conversion (which was started before I bought) approved. The loft space is classified as "storage" - so there is no need for window egress, but there is one anyway.
The way that we get to this storage loft is from the second floor. Because of the garage being at grade and where the roof is, the entry is very low (less than 4' high and then two steps down into the loft). I'm trying to create a more "friendly" entry.

I shouldn't have said I was planning to not get a permit.
I am not opposed to going back to the building dept. if I feel the need - I was just hoping to not deal with that.

So all this aside - the advice I'm looking for is pertaining to the "cutting into the plate and rim joist" of the gable end of a cape. Have you ever done it? Has anyone seen it done? Is this something that is just never ever done? I can draw up plans and take them to the building department but I want to know if the idea is structurally acceptable in advance.....

I'd like to pass on some advice - don't call someone's work amateur until you've seen it. I do excellent work- if you'd like to see some photo's of my screen porch addition I'd be happy to send them to you.

We are all here because we enjoy working on our own homes. I may take a little longer to do something than a full-time builder but know the final outcome is excellent, and I've seen some really sloppy work that was supposed to be done by "pros" .

My weakness here is code and what is acceptable and what is not acceptable regarding the top plate of a home, and that's why I'm reaching out for help.
I don't care if you call my idea crazy - I 1/2 think it is too!
I was just hoping someone may say that they've seen this done, and it is possible....
 
  #6  
Old 03-22-13, 07:34 AM
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I've never seen it done. Ever. And I'm guessing there's a very good reason (or 20) for that. If you are willing to tear into your house's structural system, on the basis of having done some quality screen porch work in the past, your reasoning ability is seriously impaired. The rest of us here, who combined have probably whacked at least a few million more nails than you ever will, strongly disagree. Go back and read what we said, one word at a time, then think about it. Carefully.

Everyone's definition of "amateur" is different. Mine being that it applies to anyone who thinks making structural changes without building permits is perfectly acceptable. Your admission that "my weakness here is code" should be telling you all the more why you need to get your AHJ involved.
 
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Old 03-22-13, 11:16 AM
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Well I guess we certainly do have a different definition of amateur. I just said I was certainly willing to go to the building department - why wouldn't I - the screen porch and conversions are all done, and accepted.

My thinking was that perhaps this idea is not so invasive as I was concerned that it might be, because it is on the gable end where there is not all that much weight, and because there will be nothing in the area above it.

Your advice of the necessity to get a permit is taken and accepted. The initial thought of perhaps not needing a permit does not make one an amateur. And just because there are a whole bunch of people in the world who hammer more nails than I does not make me an amateur.

You finally answered my question in the end - " I've never seen it done before".
This is what I wanted and what we all want here on DIY. We all would like our questions answered politely - not to be called amateurs. There are nice ways to give advice and then other ways. And you have no clue what a persons skills and quality of workmanship are like just because they are not a structural engineer. I never claimed to be that.
 
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Old 03-23-13, 09:48 PM
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Sorry for offending you, which I obviously have. But before you get up in arms about the amateur reference, it might not hurt to keep in mind that all (or at least the vast majority) of people posting on this site are just that--amateurs. Myself included, at the top of the list, even. The forum title, Do-It-Yourself.com, implies the very definition of the word amateur. I don't quite understand why you feel offended by the term.

And if any of my comments came across as being somewhat terse, it was because I was frustrated by your apparent intent to not get your AHJ involved when making structural changes to your property. Quite frankly, I still don't understand what motivates your thinking that local building departments shouldn't be involved in such things. And I still think you could receive a direct answer to your initial question by simply calling your local building department.
 
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Old 03-24-13, 08:23 AM
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What offended me was when you said "when your buyer's inspector jumps all over the "non-code-compliant, unsafe amateur work" and when you said "your reasoning ability is seriously impaired".

I think most folks would find those comments offensive. Even if most people here consider themselves amateurs because they don't do the work as a full time profession, I don't think most like to think of our work turning out second rate, and I know that most people don't appreciate someone saying that our reasoning ability is impaired, which translates into stupid or crazy.

I said I wasn't planning on going to the building dept., but I figured that I may need to in the end..I was hoping someone might tell me how this cut could possibly be made so that I could actually draw up some code compliant plans - I was thinking that perhaps this had been done before, but I wasn't very optimistic either.

When you answered my question later on, I took your advice, and I've made the decision to find another way to do it. I'll build stairs or a ladder from the room below instead of from the a joining room where it was much preferred. Of course I'll need to get that approved by the building department !

I appreciate you apology ~ and your advice.
 
 

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