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Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

Wall removal opinions

I had a post on this a while ago, but now have specifics from an architect and was hoping to get opinions on the options available.

The wall separates a living room (13x18) and family room (12x18). The floor joists are 2x10. Ceiling height is 8'. The two options for removal which will create a 25x18 room are:
1) 7x18 parallam beam spanning the entire 18' opening. This will require reinforcement of the footing under one of the lally columns or installing another lally column depending on where I want the beam to stop and the beam will stick out of the ceiling by about 8-9 inches (finished).
2) parallam beam that will be flush with the ceiling, but will require 2 columns creating openings of 4.5' - 9' - 4.5'. The suggestion here is to either keep the columns or columns plus half walls going across the 4.5' spans.

I'm a little concerned with option 1 as losing 8" deep by 8" wide on a 8' ceiling seems like a lot and don't want to create a claustrophobic feeling. On the other hand the columns from option 2 seem like they will be in the way of everything.

From a pure opinion stand point, if it was your house, which version would you go with and why?

Thank you



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3



If possible, what I would do is remove the wall and do some mock-ups of your two different choices to get a better feel of what it will actually look like. I would lean toward option 1, as I don't believe you are going to create much of a "claustrophobic" look in a room that is 25 feet long.



Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY
reply to Dodge

I would definitely go with option 1. That option doesn't impact your use of floor space while the other one does. I don't think you will notice the beam after a while. I think having the open floor space to allow for various furniture arrangements etc. would be much more desirable.
--
Written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to mattmag

It's hard to get a 3D mockup. What we did was tape off the room with painters tape to give a visual representation, but that leaves a lot to the imagination.



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3

Not really hard when you get the wall down. That was my suggestion.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

Kind of late at that point



John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:6
reply to Dodge

Option 1 if open space is the overall objective. As mentioned, I think the beam will 'disappear' after you get used to it.



IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
reply to Dodge

Be very careful you don't remove a load bearing wall. If you do the house will become structurally unsound.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

That's the reason the OP has an architect -- first line of post

said by Dodge:

now have specifics from an architect



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
reply to Dodge

Strip the drywall off. That should help you visualize things.
--


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

I wouldn't do that without a permit.



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2

It is just the drywall...


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

No -- it's starting construction/demolition without a permit. I wouldn't do it without having a contractor hired and permission from them.


walta

join:2001-05-22
Saint Louis, MO
kudos:2
reply to Dodge

In my opinion the drop beam will always feel like 2 rooms.

My guess is the drop beam will cost half as much as flush beam by the time you get it installed.

I think the choice is mostly about can your budget support the flush beam.

Walta



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
reply to robbin

That is your opinion.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

Correct -- my opinion from hiring contractors before.


MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to Dodge


1) Why do you have an architect spec'ing beams? Unless your jurisdiction permits this, you should be dealing with a structural engineer (ie. civil engineer).

2) More expensive and harder to work with, but it should work within the depth of the existing ceiling, is a steel beam. If you can open a hole in the exterior wall, the beam can be craned in partway through the hole and then pushed on rollers (on top of temporary supports) all the way into the house to rest on permanent columns at each end. A load lifter (zoom boom) can hold the outside end up after the crane sling is disconnected, and then provide the forward motion to slide the beam into place. Hydraulics trump humans 9 out of 10 times.

3) Talk with a structural engineer and your contractor about this. Look at both an I and box beam. Just be sure that you don't need any plumbing drains penetrating the beam, or if you do that you have the plumber involved in the discussion with the engineer and steel fabricator in case any gusset plates or sleeves need to be fabricated and installed.


seederjed
Premium
join:2005-02-28
Norcross, GA
reply to Dodge

Is it possible to get the beam engineered to sit on top of the joists in the attic?
This eliminates the hang down issue.



Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY

said by seederjed:

Is it possible to get the beam engineered to sit on top of the joists in the attic?
This eliminates the hang down issue.

I was thinking the same thing. The same size being should work and you would just need to use joist hangers that they make specifically for that type of situation. I've seen it done several times quite successfully. Actually, I've never seen the flush type installation he's talking about, it seems like that would be significantly more work.
--
Written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking

nyrrule27

join:2007-12-06
Howell, NJ
reply to robbin

I believe he is in nj and where I live you need a permit for drywall if you remove for 25% of the room.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

1 recommendation

reply to Dodge

I'll try to answer everyone in one post:

The wall is load bearing that's why there is an architect involved.

This is not a drop beam. The beam would be installed as a flush beam, but due to the span it's much bigger than the joists, which would create an overhang. joists are 2x10s, beam is 7x18.

Up-building to the floor above is not an option as there is a door to one of the rooms upstairs which would prevent the beam from sticking out upwards. It would be installed between the first and the 2nd floor.

The architect is taking care of all approvals, however this township wold accept drawings from the owner, I don't necessarily need an architect, but better safe than sorry and amazingly this route was cheaper than any of the local engineers I could find.

I was thinking steel at some point, but seems like it would be too expensive and much more hassle than it's worth. I'm already modifying lally columns for wood beams, can't even imagine the type of supports I would need for steel.

I'm not going to start removing drywall until I have everything speced and priced as this type of project can quickly get out of hand (price wise).



enon

@ipvanish.com

said by Dodge:

amazingly this route was cheaper than any of the local engineers I could find.

Have you stopped to consider why this may be? There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

said by enon :

Have you stopped to consider why this may be? There's no such thing as a free lunch.

It's far from "free", it's cheaper. There is a difference.


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3



I believe his point is, you often get what you pay for. Does the architect have valid certifications for structural engineering decisions? There are plenty who do, but just as many who don't.

Remember, architects are first designers, and then somebody else later on figures out how to properly construct what the architect has designed.



Energystream
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Ridgewood, NY
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Most jurisdictions allow even a general contractor to submit plans for residential work, so I am not suprised they would allow an Architect to do so.

On that note though he will likely design a lot more on the conservative side for his own protection. A 7in.x18in lam beam is pretty large. Going by this design guide: »www.google.com/url?q=http://www.···dwsjDtAA

This beam has a moment capacity of 87,325 ft-lbs.

For a 20 foot span that translates to a uniform load of 1,746.5 lbs per foot, or a single point load in the middle of 17,465 lbs. Does that seem reasoanble for whats above it? This seems a little overdesigned to me, but I don't know what this wall was supporting.

There may be an option to double up shorter beams to achive the capacity you need, but don't know enough about the configuration to be sure.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

It seems overdesigned to me as well and I'm having him recalculate the loads for 16" beam as based on Forte software I downloaded from the Parallam manufacturer 18 seems like a giant overkill (passes to about 50% of the beam capacity) and even 14" passes but the deflection is more than I would like to have. There is a chance that he calculated based on a 1.5E or 1.8E instead of 2.0E beams, I'm trying to verify that, but he is going to be away until Monday

There is a 2nd floor above this beam, an attic (stand up in the center, but not used for anything, and a roof). The bathrooms are on the outside wall and are past the point where the beam will be installed, so the only things on the same span as the beam are going to be hallway, 2 bedrooms and a part of a 3rd bedroom. based on my location in NJ I believe a snow load of 25 or possibly 30 has to be calculated also.


MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

Guess after guess after guess.
Hire an engineer.



Energystream
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Ridgewood, NY
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Dodge

Given the size of Lam beams, steel would prob be cheaper. The Architect may have been cheaper for the design, but an Engineer can give you a more economical solution as his design tollerance will be tighter and less conservative.

Closing off the ceiling anyway, so you wouldn't see an 8, maybea 10 in. steel beam.


joewho
Premium
join:2004-08-20
Dundee, IL
reply to Dodge

Please tell me how a lam beam can be installed flush with the joists above and still offer a wide span of support?

Doesn't it need to be installed across the joists to supply support where the top plate and about 13 studs used to be?


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

said by joewho:

Please tell me how a lam beam can be installed flush with the joists above and still offer a wide span of support?

Doesn't it need to be installed across the joists to supply support where the top plate and about 13 studs used to be?

put temp support walls, cut the joists, put the beam in, hang the joists on each side with proper mounts, remove support walls.