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Replacing Interior walls with Post and Beam


vwdieseljunkie's Avatar
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03-28-07, 06:00 AM   #1  
Replacing Interior walls with Post and Beam

Good Morning All. I am in the process of removing four interior walls with the intentions of replacing them with exposed posts and beams. I will be creating a single great room where it it now a 12x12 foyer, 12x12 bedroom, and 14x24 eat-in kitchen. The 24' kitchen wall is the load bearing wall, that I plan to divide into two 12' beams with a central post. The roof structure is of manufactured trusses, supported by the exterior walls, but the house is in excess of 25 years old so I consider the central interior wall (running perpendicular to trusses) to be load bearing.

At this point, I'm planning to build the beams with two 2x12's with a 1/2" ply in center, glued and screwed. They will be placed where the existing walls are now. Knee joints will also be incorporated as structural members. Granted this will be a bit overkill, but I would rather build this as a true load bearing structure, just to remove doubt, and will be building temporary support walls for use during construction as a safety precaution.

I just cannot make up my mind on how to join the beams to the posts. I don't quite have the skill to do a true mortise and tenon, but with the beams being made of a lumber/ply sandwich, I'm sure I will want to box it all in with a stainable 1x oak or similar to finish the look. Internet searches for photo ideas have NOT been productive.

Any hints/tips/links? My wife REALLY wants me to get this stage of this project done so we can move on to other stages of this remodel!

 
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03-28-07, 06:09 AM   #2  
On a side note, should existing top plates be removed, or should I try to leave them and install the beams below them? If I incorporate them into the build, then it will atleast prevent me from having to go into the attic and play in the insulation! As best as I can tell, the blown-in insulation is supported only by the ceiling drywall and the top plates. None of the existing ceiling drywall is going to be disturbed in this process, so If I can leave the top plates where they are, more the better I would assume.

 
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03-28-07, 04:15 PM   #3  
I posted an idea but now reconsidered after not knowing how big of posts you plan to use. Naturally you probably don't want anymore than you have have to.

IF you were to just use 4 x 4's and box these out later...probably along with the beam to give it the look of more massiveness and to lineup with the posts...you could simply have the 4 x 4 under the header you are making and then use thin steel plates on two sides where you would run the metal up the facings of each side of the beam.

 
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03-28-07, 04:27 PM   #4  
I've not considered using 4x4's. But that is an idea.

I do intend to treat this application as a true load bearing structure, though "technically" it's not. I've already removed most all of the wall studs, leaving only a "post" (three studs sandwiched) every six feet, just to support the headers for now. There has been no sag, and I've taken measurements every time I removed a stud. All has been good thus far.

Big and beefy, I like big and beefy. Thinking of using 2x12's for the central post, making an open box, and installing light switches and a receptacle on the kitchen side, wiring dropping down inside the post from the attic. Not sure what to face the post with, 2x or 1x, seeing as though it will be cut out for the switches and such.

 
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03-29-07, 06:45 AM   #5  
Old house columns, that support heavy front porches were constructed this way for years. They are just hollow inside.

But you could use a 4 x 4 or even 4 x 6 post and *vertically* fir it out so you woud have a channel inside it to run your wire, also. Just a thought. This way you would have something solid in the middle to support-secure (like by the method I gave) your 3 1/2 inch wide carrying beam that would rest on it.

 
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03-29-07, 08:45 AM   #6  
Posted By: DaVeBoy you could use a 4 x 4 or even 4 x 6 post and *vertically* fir it out so you woud have a channel inside it to run your wire
What would be the easiest way to do this without a table saw? I think I can stack two blades on my skill saw, and make multiple passes, finishing it with a wood chisel. Would that be correct? Then creating the opening for the outlet/switch boxes with a zip tool?

While on the subject, I did some 'shopping' for prefab colums online. Never been a fan of the round, greek-ish white columns (which of course you can get anywhere, made of anything, in any size) with curled capitals. I keep running across two basic directions in style... Extremely formal looking, usually white, or the basic country-fried, solid lumber looking vertical post with knee joint. I can't seem to find a decent 'in-between' that will compliment our taste in decor. I've played with the idea of just nixing the whole idea of having exposed beams, and going for drywall arches, but with a standard 8' ceiling, it just doesn't picture well in my mind, and still leaves me wondering what to do with the central post, that will have three, maybe four arches stemming from it. Granted, all arches will be 12', so there will be a nice symmetry, unless I also add an arch crossing the kitchen, so that one will be 14' (not that anyone would really notice).

That is another reason why I want to stick with the two 2x sandwich with 1/2 ply in between, worst case scenario, I can always drywall over it and box it in with arches, but how to do the column? <banghead> ! </banghead>

 
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03-29-07, 02:56 PM   #7  
Before racking your brain too much on the how-to's, you really need to select the look you want. You might want to thumb through some house magazines where they show interiors. You'd probably come up with some idea.

 
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