Raising the ceiling in an existing barn

Hello,
I have a project that I have am researching before beginning. I have a 34' x 53' barn that has 7 foot ceilings on the main floor and I want to raise them up to about 11 feet. The joists are nailed to the rafters on the outside wall and also supported by a 2 beams that run down the middle of the barn. These beams rest on posts that in turn are on concrete pads.
If I cut the joist off near the rafter and raise the floor up, the joists will again be more than long enough (because the roof is radiused).
So far the best thing I have come up with is to do the ceiling in three sections. The barn is about 34 feet wide and 53 feet long. Each section would be 34 feet wide and just over 18 feet long. Maybe four sections would be a little more manageable.
Anyway, I need photos and testimonies on past projects. I have quite a bit of construction experience but I tend to be pretty anal with projects like this so I want to be 100% confident before I start.
Thanks in advance,
DOC
MN, USA -------------------------------------
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Rafters place a large outward thrust on the outside walls. The framing element that prevents pushing the outside walls apart are the ceiling joists. You cannot cut them and move them up unless you maintain the structure some other way. It can be done with a structural ridge, buttresses, horizontal trusses. You absolutely need a structural engineer before proceeding any further on this plan.
You said the rafters are radiused which implies to me an arch topped truss. This would be even more serious to contemplate.
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Avon_Jeepman had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/construction/Re-Raising-the-ceiling-in-an-existing-barn-16289-.htm : Dan,
I have already talked to a structural Engineer and went over my drawings with him. He told me that the structure will be sound when it is complete and showed me where the forces are in the building. What I am looking for is the actual processes that could be used to do this so I can determine which method is best. I am assuming that I will need to aquire cribbing and such, but I want to review several ways of lifting the ceiling before I even think of starting.
Thanks,
DOC
MN, USA ------------------------------------- DanG wrote:

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If it is a matter of raising the weight, I raised a steel bar joist roof over 6 feet once. I used Safway style scaffolding with screw jacks pushing steel beams. It was all done manually, time consuming but safe. Most house mover methods would require huge amounts of cribbing, though quite doable. It was safe to be above or below. https://www.safway.com/Products/Shoring-Systems.asp
scroll to the bottom for pdf on selection, use, safety, capacities, etc.
You've never said what the floor is made of. If it is conventional, 10# per SF should give you a rough idea. If it is something more than a conventional floor, you will need to make better calculations. I would double expected loads for a safety margin. These shores are made to hold a full wet concrete deck and allow custom raising and lowering.
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DanG wrote:

Yeah, there's the big bucks route I envisioned as being uneconomical. What does a set of them go for considering what I paid just for scaffolding??? :)
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It would be normal to lease the Safway scaffolding. Look under concrete or contractor suppliers in the yellow pages.
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Avon_Jeepman had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/construction/Re-Raising-the-ceiling-in-an-existing-barn-16301-.htm : Dan,
Thanks for the Safeway link. That is definately what I am looking for since the project is probably a year away from being started (or contracted out).
I have a granary that I am in the process of straightening and a goat barn that is next on the list. After doing them I hopefully will have learned things on a smaller scale that I can apply to the renovation of the barn.
In college I have done beam deflection calculations, sum of moments calculations, and statics and strengths calculations. So I have a good basic understanding of how a load can apply a force in several directions. Just the same I plan on going back to the structural engineer after I have an idea of how to actually lift the ceiling in the barn.
As a note on the side, I will add extra posts to support the ceiling if the engineer thinks it will be benificial.
DOC
MN, USA ------------------------------------- dpb wrote:

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On 31 Jan 2009 03:59:16 GMT, Duanecounter_at_yahoo_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Avon_Jeepman) wrote:

This sounds very difficult to do, at least safely. How are the roof rafters done? Trusses, or what? You cut out that 'floor' you will probably find it is what is holding the building together.
Why do you need 4 ft more headroom? That's not enough for a lift, for example. Also, a garage with 7 ft headroom is not very tall at all, I'd be worried that there are/were other problems that will come to light later, and cause you all kninds of grief!
Get a good structural engineer and get professional advice. There is no way someone in this group can tell you authoratively what do to...
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Avon_Jeepman had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/construction/Re-Raising-the-ceiling-in-an-existing-barn-16290-.htm : The the rafters are 1x10 boards nailed together and cut at a radius. The radius starts from the top of the cement blocks that the frame sits on and continues up to the peak. So I guess the technical term would be that they are laminated (just like laminated posts for my pole shed).
I want the extra headroom because I want to use the barn for my horses. 11 foot tall ceilings are recommended in case a horse would spoke and rear up. With short ceilings the horse could hit his head and get injured. Also taller ceilings are healthier because air moves better and moisture rises so it vents out better. This is healthier for all animals.
A Structural Engineer has already told me that the floor being higher will actually make the building stronger. Of course I plan to go back and make sure I didn't forget something once I figure out the mechanics of doing the actual lift. Raising the floor one section at a time leaves the end walls and the remaining sections in place as well. That should retain the structural integrety of the building.
Anyway, I am looking for input from someone that has actually done this or seen this done before. There are several pictures online of barns like mine where the entire ceiling has been removed on round roof barns like mine. The website shows that customer now uses the barn for storing a combine. Anyway, I just want to raise the floor up, not remove it entirely and I am sure that there are many that have done that before.
Thanks,
DOC
MN, USA ------------------------------------- PeterD wrote:

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Avon_Jeepman wrote: ...[top posting repaired--dpb]...

Well, you didn't say you had a block building... :(
A link to one of those pictures (or even better, to a picture of yours) would undoubtedly help at least some...
I just looked at it here again a little earlier this morning -- it would still be a major project here because as noted before the columns aren't in line so there would have to be significant structural modifications to change the load bearing locations to transfer that load from upstairs to the ground.
But, if that weren't a problem (and the bottom walls were block instead of frame so the side loading isn't such an issue), what I'd do w/ this one would be to pull up the flooring in the mow and stack it somewhere out of the way. Then, as another poster noted, I'd simply work my way down from one end to the other a rafter at a time. Since these side walls are vertical the joists are attached to the 2x6 studs w/ a supporting rim joist under them. They could be individually removed, raised and then the rim joist added last.
In your case what I don't understand from your description would be the hanging the outer end from the rafter -- that doesn't sound nearly as strong as the current setting on top a block wall and the added load will add additional outward load as the force will be transmitted along the length of the rafter which is, as you say curved pointing out.
What is the construction detail at this point this engineer is recommending and how does he propose to transfer the new load and hold the top of the wall?
If it weren't for the column alignment issue raised above, I'd feel far more comfortable w/ the gambrel roof here than w/ the round roof you have as I'd only be changing the location vertically, not the direction of the loading.
I'd want to see engineered drawings and some load calc's before proceeding but the mechanics once that were done I'd do as outlined--I'd certainly not attempt to take an entire floor section and raise it as a piece--simply too much rigging for a one-man effort; that's a housemover/large construction job way of attacking it imo.
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Avon_Jeepman had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/construction/Re-Raising-the-ceiling-in-an-existing-barn-16299-.htm : I have said several times that I plan on going back to the structural engineer so I will avaoid that topic for now.....
I have thought about removing the flooring as well and moving up one joist at a time. Much safer, but more time consuming. The major hurdle there is that in those days barns were built while the wood was still wet. So how do pull the nails out of the flooring? I have been pondering that one for months.
The barn has about 5 courses of block above ground. Then there is a sill plate that the ROUND (not gambrel) rafters attach to. The ceiling is about 3-1/2 feet above the cement blocks and attached to the rafters at that height. On the inside they sit on top of 2 beams that run the length of the barn. I have several pictures and I even created a 3d Cad drawing of the barn. How do I post them on this site?
That comment about the columns not being in line does not apply to me....If you go back through the replies you will find that someone else commenting about thier barn and how it was similar yet different. That is where you got the column issue from. I do not plan on changung the column location unless it is required.
DOC
MN, USA ------------------------------------- dpb wrote:

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Avon_Jeepman wrote: ...

What kind of wood (both flooring and joists) and what is the flooring (T&G, flat-sawn, 1x, 2x, ???...)?
"How" depends on "what"... :)

That "someone else" was I and I understand it's not the same...I was, indeed, just commenting on similarities and differences...the column alignment problem is, indeed, limited to my situation and not yours; I understand that. "Just talkin'..." :)
Hmmm...that's another _slight_ detail missing in earlier descriptions... :) -- that the outer floor joists are currently hanging rather than sitting. That adds credence that they were, then, intended to act as load-bearing other than the roof only. If so, then ensuring they're reattached at the higher point at least as securely as at present should be adequate as well as long as the rafter structure is at least as heavy going up and wasn't just "beefed up" at the lower end.
Those additional details make a big difference in the picture I had and add confidence the advice previously given is ok with the caveat noted. That's a major difference in the structural design of the building than as envisioned originally from your description.
As far as the overall "how", it would depend on the factor of whether you can afford some help or simply hire it out, how important it is that it get done in some particular amount of time, etc., etc., etc., that are questions all out of anybody else's ability to answer. I was assuming you were intending it as a self-help project at minimal out-of-pocket cost; hence my suggestion as how I'd approach it from that basis.
I'm just thinking of the $$ we put into the old barn here w/ a new roof and repair of siding and some relatively minor structural work (sill plate on half one side and one end, sisters on some bottom ends of studs, etc., etc., ... W/ one hand at moderate wages (not minimum, but he was well better than that) and a minimal amount of volunteers (getting distracted by the pheasant hunting kept the volunteers from spending much of their actual time on the roof :( :) ), it was still about $40k. There's really no way could possibly economically justify the expense other than it was/is the home place and one of the few remaining wood barns in the County and I couldn't stand the thought of letting it go. It simply isn't functional for today's farm equipment and since the mules and draft horses are no longer used and we quit milking ages ago, there's really no actual functional use other than storage and have my woodworking shop equipment in it.
As for posting; a.b.c is a usenet text group. There are any number of free hosting sites to use; pick one and post a link.
Good luck, sounds like fun time...
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dpb wrote:

I intended to add that you'll have to remove some at the edges no matter what as it's narrower as you go up. So, you'll have an area of sacrificial material that you can experiment with.
If nothing else, I'd think you could get a little clearance and use a sawzall from below between the joist and the bottom of the floor.
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Avon_Jeepman had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/construction/Re-Raising-the-ceiling-in-an-existing-barn-16335-.htm : Sorry, I got confused about who said what.
The joists are 3" wide and 8" tall. Some of them look like they could be oak. I am not sure what type of wood they are though, just that it is tough to drive a nail into them.
The florring is 1" tongue and groove. I was able to pound them loose from the bottom with a sledge hammer. I just did a little as an experiment. I tried earlier in the middle of the board with no success. This morning I started at and end and them came up really well.
Thanks,
DOC
MN, USA ------------------------------------- dpb wrote:

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Avon_Jeepman wrote: ...

Our barn is 38' x 64' w/ similar mow floor height -- now that we no longer do loose hay it would be nice to be able to make a similar rearrangement, but I don't think it would be at all cost effective unless don't care anything at all about the aesthetics of an old barn (and really not even then).
I'm sure there must be an effective rim joist around the outside as well and I suppose it's possible w/ the narrower barn there is only a single center beam. Where does the roof line meet the walls -- at the present mow floor (unusual, that would give essentially zero head room) or at some height above? (It's 14' sidewall height here for comparison.) Is it actually a domed roof or a gambrel? How are the lower wall braced for wind load (you won't have the wind routinely we do in SW KS, but it's still a big building and there's a lot of lateral load to resist.
The biggest rub here would be that their are two ridge beams for the roof gambrels and that load is transferred by the columns in the mow to the beams below but the columns on the bottom level aren't in line with the columns above in order to have more unobstructed center space in the mow but the necessary width on both sides of the center aisle below for the horse stalls and milking stall below.
Anyway, have wished for the additional headroom here quite often as well but it just ain't practical unless you got's really deep pockets methinks.
But, you definitely need some competent structural evaluation and analysis about what would be required to hold the thing together while making such a modification.
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I would do this work, but leave all the existing rafters in. I would build temporary supports and support the new joist placement with temporary posts. I would bolt the new joist to the rafters. This uses a lot of "new wood" Another way would be to do every other joist if you want to save material. You would still need to temporary support the "new joist placement" So, put a post and beam temporary support in at the correct height. Start with one joist and move it to its new place. Do the alternate side....... Then go to every other joist and do the same. When all the joist are moved and "bolted securely" to the rafter replace the "new post" to the new joist support beam. I know it can be done, and I would not be afraid to give it a go. jloomis construction and concrete

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Avon_Jeepman had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/construction/Re-Raising-the-ceiling-in-an-existing-barn-16296-.htm : Now we are getting somewhere. That sounds much more manageable and much safer. I'll go out to the barn and think that through while looking at the structure. The issue I immediately see is removing the flooring. The nails are into the joists pretty good since it was built while the lumber was wet in those days. There must be a way to get them out. ?????
I could add new concrete pads inward a few feet of the existing ones since my ceiling will get a few feet narrower once it is moved up. Then I could place the new (taller) posts and put in new beams that run the length of the building. Then do what you said and start moving joists.
I am pretty sure I will add angular bracing near the edge at some point for wind bracing. There currently isn't any which is typical for barns in theis area.
I am heading out to the barn right now.. LOL
Thanks
DOC
MN, USA ------------------------------------- jloomis wrote:

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Using a sawzall can cut the nails instead of pulling them. Sometimes hitting the nail prior to pulling loosens the grip caused by corrosion and or "set" A nail puller does a good job. (hammer puller) Drilling off the head will save the board, time consuming, and then pulling up the board. A good pry bar works wonders..... Yes, you can, move the pier footing, although if you temporary crib the new joist, you can pull out the old post and add a new one when ready. Sneaking in the new beams may be tough but doeable. jloomis construction and concrete.

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Avon_Jeepman had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/construction/Re-Raising-the-ceiling-in-an-existing-barn-16334-.htm : After looking again at how the ceiling is built I agree that temporarily cribbing the new joists might be the better way to go. Mainly because the new beams that run the length of the barn would prevent me from just lifting the joist straight up as one piece. They are made of three boards and pulling those nails out would certainly be unpleasant (and a waste of time).
Thanks,
DOC
MN, USA ------------------------------------- jloomis wrote:

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