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horrible looking ceiling support


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02-18-06, 11:11 AM   #1  
horrible looking ceiling support

Hi,

I bought this house knowing there are issues with a beam in one of the 1st floor bedrooms. I believe the beam is a 2x2 supported at either end with a 2x2. All is fully exposed in the room. The supporting beams are cracked and coming apart, and it looks like (although i'm not sure) the ceiling itself is hanging a little low. What should i do about it!!! Please see the two photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobob/t...rriblesupport/

I believe my options are to leave it as is or simply remove it, or replace it with a more suitable support system, perhaps a real i-beam or something similar. I of course have no idea how to do that, and will enlist a real contracter if necessary. I have no worries about tearing down the drywall in this space.

As you can see in the above pictures there is also a protrusion from the wall, i'm planning on hacking through the drywall to see whats inside... if you've ideas i'm all ears.

Thanks!!
Bob

 
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02-18-06, 11:46 AM   #2  
Hey Bob

There is no way the little 2x2 can be a support for anything. Does it maybe hide a crack/joint in the ceiling? Was that room ever added on to? Because of its small size I am inclined to believe that its purpose is to hide something.

The area where the clock drawing is might be hiding either heat duct of plumbing.

BTW I noticed water stains on the wall/ceiling - these will need a stain hiding primer before repainting. Of course the cause needs to be addressed first if it hasn't been already.


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02-18-06, 12:00 PM   #3  
THanks for the speedy reply marksr!

The house is very old. This part of the house is a slightly more recent addition as theres only a crawl space in the basement, and the exterior siding is different. I doubt very much the protrusion is hiding plumbing or duct work as this is at the very back of the house (the door in the pic leads to an even newer tiny addition) and there is no plumbing or ductwork in the vicinity... the only thing i can think is at one point it was a drain system from the roof? I added another pic to the the link above, i've started to hammer out the bottom of that proturusion, it has revealed the wall underneath but not much else, looks like its supporting something in the top, in another hour i might know what that is!!!

As for the 2x2, it makes perfect sense that its hiding something. I'll probably take it down then and see what it is hiding! I plan on redoing this whole room if necessary so if i have to fix a seam in the ceiling that should be fine, is there anything else that i may not be able to tackle that it could be hiding? Could it have been put there by someone who didn't know better because the ceiling is sagging?

 
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02-18-06, 12:21 PM   #4  
I've uncovered what that thing is. See these pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobob/tags/hiddenchimney/

Its an old chimney i guess! Its full of ash!!! I guess thats why they didn't remove it, but it still seems strange. The next question is, what kind of chimney is it? Wood? Could there of been a stove in here, or perhaps it went all the way into the basement where there at one point was a coal furnace or something? Now i'm not really in the right forum for this anymore, so let me know if i should cross post this or something.

 
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02-18-06, 12:50 PM   #5  
My .02... which might be all wrong...

I think that the stack is an old cleanout for a furnace that is probably no longer there. (It looks like the cover is for a furnace cleanout, and the pipe looks like chimney ducting)

I think that the support across the ceiling is the bottom of the old header which used to be encapsulated inside the wall; and when they built the new room, they attached to that header and removed the studs. Then added the support inside the room (or partially), rather than opening the wall and hiding it because of the old chimney running vertical may be concrete, in which case it couldn't be hidden.

Usually, joists are even with the bottom of the ribbon, but they may not have cared when it was hidden inside the wall. Or, the joists may have been cut to rest on the top of the header inside the wall, making them not even on the bottom.

Or, the board across the ceiling may have been a balloon framing support, and now it is helping hold up the joists at the header.

So open it up and get us a picture!!!!! We want to see who wins In reality, be very careful if/when you open it. If it is load bearing, your roof could collapse on you if you are not careful.


Last edited by MudSlinger; 02-18-06 at 01:29 PM.
 
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02-18-06, 01:51 PM   #6  
I just added some more pics, check em here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobob/tags/hiddenchimney/

So it is a brick chimney or furnace cleanout or whatever. I think it probably goes all the way up, through the 2nd story, and to the roof... but theres nothing on the roof right there, i guess it was capped there. I guess if i want to remove it i better remove the bricks from the very top right? Damn, this is going to be trickier than expected... what isn't!

It also looks like theres a small gap between the 2x2 beam and the ceiling, at least at the chimney end. I still don't understand what its for, the only thing that makes sense is that it could be supporting for balloon framing as was previously mentioned, and that scares the crap out of me cause it means i probably can't remove it... help, what should i do about it (and the chimney)???!?!!?

 
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02-19-06, 10:07 AM   #7  
Glad you found out what it was - chimney. You are correct that the bricks should be removed from the top first.

If the 2x2 running across the ceiling is a 2x2, there shouldn't be any danger in removing it - it isn't strong enough to support anything. I beleive what mudslinger was saying is that the 2x2 showwing is actually the bottom of a 2x12 [or2x?]. If this is true it will take some figuring to determine if it can safely be removed or shaved down.


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02-19-06, 10:25 AM   #8  
Posted By: marksr I beleive what mudslinger was saying is that the 2x2 showwing is actually the bottom of a 2x12 [or2x?]. If this is true it will take some figuring to determine if it can safely be removed or shaved down.
You are correct Marksr, that is what I thought it might be. (bottom 2" of something bigger.

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02-19-06, 11:22 AM   #9  
Thanks again guys for the advice!!! I'm hopeless without it. Further to that, i'm an idiot. Its not a 2x2, its actually a modern 4x4 (3.5x3.5). Its gotta be holding something up, it certainly is NOT a 2x12 or anything, as there is an obvious gap at one end between it and the ceiling. My guess is, i cannot take it down without some serious reprocusions. I'm thinking perhaps if i ever get the chimney down (from the top first!) that i could hide it by recessing the ceiling that 3x5 inches, adding more supports, and installing some track lighting. But i want to make sure the ceiling isn't gonna colapse before i go to all that work!!! What would you guys do with this room, i want it to be half decent and livable if at all possible?

 
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02-20-06, 10:12 AM   #10  
Can you either assess the framing from above/attic or cut a hole in the ceiling to get a visual on what is going on. Even an engineer would need more info to evaluate any structrual needs.


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02-25-06, 09:52 AM   #11  
I've assed that the ceiling is some sort of grooved wood covered with a layer of drywall. It appears that the beam is on top of the drywall! Meaning, i couldn't remove all the drywall without removing the beam. it looks like its a solid piece of drywall right accross so i don't think the beam would be hiding a seam or anything. There is also a gap (at least 1/2 inch) between the beam and the gap thats been cocked up. This gap may only exist over the length and be no gap at all at the ends, where it is actually helping holding something up. Because of the big cracks in the 4x4s i must assume it is holding some load. I really don't know what to do it about it, but must do something. If i leave it, i'll be left with the feeling it is insufficient for its purpose, and may one day crash down and the 2nd floor with it. I guess i'll have to cut a real hole right through the drywall and the wood of the ceiling to see where the joists are and what is really going on up there. Any other suggestions are most welcome, but i'll report back once i've done that. Thanks again!

 
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02-25-06, 11:51 AM   #12  
Ok, a bit more info. The entire back of my house was an addition at some point. The beam is running the depth of it, approx 11.5 feet. The width of the addition about 15 feet and this is the direction of the joists. There is no real loadbearing wall throughout, however there is this 4x4 beam. The beam doesn't touch the joists directly but does seem to be screwed into each of the joists. The joist are roughly 2ft2inches apart although some are closer to 3 ft. This beam was probably put there to hold the joists in place, but now is definitely bowing in the middle. Does that provide any more info? I haven't torn a massive hole in the ceiling, its full of insulation which leads me to think perhaps it was once a roof too, but then the put another floor on, and then as an after thought put this beam in to support the weight. So many questions, i'm not sure what to do, but i want to fix this room, help!!

 
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02-25-06, 12:14 PM   #13  
Is the point where the beam is - where the original house ended? If so It may be that they installed a makeshift, insufficent header to support the roof - where the original wall was took out.
If this is the case you need to replace it with a header sufficent to carry the load.


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02-25-06, 01:26 PM   #14  
The entire back part of the house, the 11.5 ft the beam spans, is an addition. The beam isn't where the house ended, it cuts almost through the middle of the addition, perpendicular to where the house once ended. I don't know if there was ever a wall there but who knows.

All signs seem to point to the fact that this thing is carrying load, and needs to either stay there or its load carried by something else. My ideal solution is to support the load with something that can be buried into the surrounding walls and ceiling, but i guess that may not be possible. I guess its probably best to get someone qualified in to either tell me what to do, and/or do it. Removing the beam willy nilly is probably not the brightest idea

Thanks for all the suggestions, i'll follow up if i have more questions or get some of this work done.

 
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02-25-06, 04:24 PM   #15  
Posted By: 2chumpy i'll follow up if i have more questions or get some of this work done.



Please do, it isn't nice to tease us with a problem and not let us in on the solution
hope it all works out for you


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04-14-06, 04:18 PM   #16  
Much has been learned!! I had a friends brother who just happens to be an engineer over, and he concluded that the beam isn't carrying any significant load on the ground and could probably be removed. He figures it was put in to aid in deflection from the joists above. He also said you won't know for sure until you get a good look. So i tore the ceiling out, which consisted of a layer of drywall follwed by tounguengrroove wood, and now know what is going on. At one point a stairway went up, which meant a joist didn't span the entire distance. It might of had proper/other support below, but no longer, so they slapped this 4x4 up when the ceiling/next story started bending down. Here's a pic of the incomplete joist: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobob/128598594/ (as you can see, i've also torn out all the drywall from the room too).

At the far side where it angles on the wall is where the stairs woulda come up. Anyways, the beam is taking a little bit of load from this one joist, and probably should be transfered to a new support beam before taking it down. At the same time i might be able to fix the deflection. There is a wall where i can bury another beam, something that will actually span the distance, and can hopefully hide the beam and the supports in the walls without cutting into the joists (although that may happen). I've two options. One is to hire someone to come in, validate my hypothesis, and suggest a proper beam to put into the wall that will handle the load, what type of nails to use, etc.. THe other option is to just slap a few 2x8s together, post them up at either end, and be done with it I know thats not what i should do, but i'd really like to save the cash... i figure it'll be better than whats there!!! O well.

THanks for all your help with this, let me know if you've thoughts or any additional suggestions!

 
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04-14-06, 04:59 PM   #17  
2Chumpy,

Thanks for getting back to us. Good luck with the rest of it.

MudSlinger

 
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