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Use an LVL beam ABOVE ceiling joists for blind header

Use an LVL beam ABOVE ceiling joists for blind header

Old 04-04-14, 06:33 AM
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Use an LVL beam ABOVE ceiling joists for blind header


I'm new to this forum and am seeking some advice/suggestions for purchasing and installing the proper sized LVL beam for a 23'4" wall opening.

I just purchased a 35 yr old ranch home and am completely remodeling and renovating the inside. I want to remove a load bearing wall between the kitchen and living room. The length of the opening is 23'4". This is a ranch home, so nothing but an empty old unused attic, 2x6 ceiling joists, sheetrock, insulation, and roof up there. The top of the roof is about 5.5' above the ceiling joists. 2x6 rafters with collar ties attached to every other rafter in the top 3rd of the attic space.

The wall i want to remove is exactly in the center of the house running in the length of the house direction (the house is longer than this wall) There is a metal I-beam that runs directly under this wall in the basement that does run the whole length of the house. The basement is broken up into 3rds, one is full basement, while the other two are 3-4' high crawl space. The ends of the 23'4" span fall directly over the cinderblock foundation dividers between the three basement divisions. So plenty of support underneath this beam in the basement. I'll add more support under the new posts as well.

The beam will need to support 13'5" of space on either side. So essentially 24' long by 13'5" wide areas of space. Again, only thing above is just the 2x6 ceiling joists, sheetrock, and empty attic that's not being used for storage.

The 2x6 ceiling joists are currently sistered together overtop of the load bearing wall. Rather than cutting them, I'm thinking about keeping them intact, and sliding the 24' LVL beam above them into place, using 4x6 posts on either side as support, and attaching the connecting joists to the beam with THA218 hangers. I don't care if the beam sticks up high in the attic, its not used for storage. I just want the ceiling to be seamless in the main area between the kitchen and living room. Since the beam will most likely be wider than the 2x4 plate being used below the ceiling joists, i think i can attach the hangers without having to remove the load bearing wall. Once the beam is in place and attached, I'll then take apart the existing wall and close up the ceiling with sheetrock.

What do you think of this approach, and what sized beam do you think I'll need? I was suggested by someone that a 5.25" x 14" x 24' LVL beam would be good for this job with very little to none deflection.
Are blind headers used often over spans like this in ceilings? Will those hangers hold up fine?

I've attached a diagram of the foundation of the home and the location the beam will be. Thanks for any suggestions.

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Old 04-04-14, 06:52 AM
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Going to need an engineer to come in and look at this spec, the size and type of beam and sign off on a plan.
No way would I be looking on any websites for arm chair guesses on a job this important.
Also going to need a permit on this one.
Old 04-04-14, 07:03 AM
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Not a framing pro but, it seams to me that it would be easier to build some temporary walls and do everything from below. How would you get the 24' LVL up into the attic? Your roof is not high enough to slide it up between the existing joists.
Old 04-04-14, 07:11 AM
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That's the one part I'm also not 100% sure on. I'm redoing the siding on the house, so I'd remove the gable wall on the left side and slide it in through there. I know, it will be crazy heavy, but the plan was to do that with plenty of fellas that can help slide this into place.

The other option is to cut the joists, and attach the beam level with the bottom of each joist with hangers. And then I'd need to add more collar ties in the attic directly above the beam to help sure up the strength of the joists.

So I'm wondering if anyone else has done this type of blind header.

I've contacted one Engineer and presented all of my drawings and specs, and I'm just not too pumped to pay a gay tons of money to come out for 30 minutes and tell me what I'm thinking of doing. Granted, I will most likely do this, and I know I have to get permits, but I'm trying to gather the most info and knowledge about this before I call on an engineer to make that short visit.

Old 04-04-14, 07:26 AM
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Tolyn's advice is spot on. Temporary walls on each side, then do it from below using standard 2x6 hangers on your correctly sized LVL. The LVL will also put increased point loads on the steel beam below, so those columns would need to be moved so they are inline with the 4 or so trimmers that you will need on each end of the LVL. Plus you will need to ensure there are squash blocks in the floor below those trimmers. (solid support inside the floor to the beam below... ensure they are not between joists, sitting on subfloor with no double or triple blocking between the joists.)

Joe correctly states the need for a permit, and they will probably want to have an engineer's approval for whatever you plan to do. You could have 10 people here tell you it's okay but they have the final say. Doing things correctly will save you headaches when the time comes to sell the house and a home inspector looks at the framing in the attic. What he says can make prospective buyers run away.

I have done a blind header, but it was a special circumstance, and was on a house in the country where there are no inspectors of any type to worry about. Blind headers need some kind of lateral support to keep them from rolling. (not that they would) Metal strapping across the top of the joists and up and over the top of the header and down the other side is one way that works, tying it all together to prevent the top of the header from rocking from side to side.

I don't think you would need any additional collar ties.

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