Removing Attic Cross Beams

I am helping a friend with a project. He has a raised ranch style home, I believe. There is a basement, one main floor, and an attic. The attic has no exterior walls other than that on each end. It is just the pitched roof up there.
He wants to take out the attic floor and create vaulted ceilings for half of the house with a loft on the other half. I don't know if he should really remove all of the cross beams and risk the integrity of exterior walls.
Is there some solid advice or formula for such a project?
------------------------------------- _ _ _ _ | |_ | |__ (_) ___ (_) ___ _ __ ___ _ _ | __|| '_ \ | |/ __| | |/ __| | '_ ` _ \ | | | | | |_ | | | || |\__ \ | |\__ \ | | | | | || |_| | \__||_| |_||_||___/ |_||___/ |_| |_| |_| \__, | |___/ _ _ ___ (_) __ _ _ __ __ _ | |_ _ _ _ __ ___ / __|| | / _` || '_ \ / _` || __|| | | || '__|/ _ \ \__ \| || (_| || | | || (_| || |_ | |_| || | | __/ |___/|_| \__, ||_| |_| \__,_| \__| \__,_||_| \___| |___/
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/4/2011 12:06 PM, cordator wrote:

Your "crossbeams" are actually called ceiling joists. And you are correct. He does NOT want to just start ripping them out. They are an integral part of the roof support design. (not so much supporting the walls, but forming the third leg of the triangle that makes up the roof). He'll need another way to support that roof if he takes them out.
--
Steve Barker
remove the "not" from my address to email
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/4/2011 12:11 PM, Steve Barker wrote:

Oh, and as for the "loft" area, well he'll need to consider that his ceiling joists are probably 2x4 (maybe 2x6) and neither are rated for a live load if they are over 4' long or maybe 6' long if they are 2x6.
--
Steve Barker
remove the "not" from my address to email
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Before destroying the structure of the house and risking a collapse of the roof and walls, your friend should pop a couple of hundred $ and hire a structural engineer/architect to look at the home and create a plan for the safe modifications if they are possible. If structural changes are made without plans & permits, not only are you risking life and limb, but will also void homeowners coverage and open the owner up to huge liability potential when the stucture fails.
And to answer in advance - no I am not a structural engineer or architect. I'm a homeowner who just finished designing and building a new home, which had the participation of a certified engineer for the structural design.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 04 Jan 2011 18:06:49 +0000, cordator_at_yahoo_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (cordator) wrote:

Yes, he will have problems, as the roof will try to push the walls out away from the house's center line. He will need somthing to strengthen the structure. Some go with a stronger (much stronger) ridgepole (most of these houses have a simple 2x8 ridgepole), going to a big beam, supported well at both ends, might work.
He could also consider building in trusses but that would be a major project (either solution is non-trivial).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jan 4, 1:06pm, cordator_at_yahoo_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (cordator) wrote:

Sure. Here's the formula:
Desire for a vaulted ceiling + hired help engineering = successful project
There are a number of ways to do what your...ahem...friend wants to do - structural ridge, tie cables or rods, rare earth magnetically- levitated roof, etc. What is the best approach depends on your, or your friend's, budget and taste. The more open it is, the more expensive it will be.
You'll find all sorts of stuff on the internet about opening up ceilings and creating cathedral ceilings, but you'll need someone to sign off on the plans when you go for the building permit anyway, so bite the bullet and call an engineer or two. BTW, this is probably _not_ the project that you, or your friend, want to go commando on and not pull a permit - it requires experience.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 4 Jan 2011 13:25:00 -0800 (PST), RicodJour

Rare earth matnetically levitated... Man, I've got to get me one of those! <RBG>

Personally I think the owner will be (if he has to do this project) best off by pulling off everything, putting in trusses that give a cathedrial look, and going from there.
Most split entry houses are not worth that level of work! (And I know, he's describing my house exactly--split entry raised ranch.) I toyed with the idea myself to give the smallish living room more volume and character, looked as how the house was built, and realized I'd be ripping off the roof and probably investing more for the change than the house cost new! <g> There are much better places to spend my money, like my 1800 sqft garage and man cave (which does have a cathredial ceiling, if you want to call it that!)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you are talking about wooden beams near the top of the rafters then these may be what are known as collar beams and they are important. They often are found on every second or third rafter depending on the pitch of the roof. Get professional help.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stop before you do take out any structure that holds the roof together. The attic floor is more than likely what holds the Roof members together... Have you seen an older home that has a sway to the ridge. (or a barn) That is caused by many things and sometimes by the collar ties from loosening up or being removed to make room as you would like to do. To prevent that from happening some could leave in every other attic floor joist....... and bolt it securely to the rafter........maybe........ Or, temporary support the rafters with a higher collar tie, and put in a structural exposed beam in place of every other rafter or so........(this is where engineering and or common building sense come into play) Some may put in a ridge beam under existing ridge to "support" the rafter and thus relieving the reason for "collar ties" or ceiling joist. So, yes there are many things a person can do to "take out" the joist/collar ties and make more room. If I were to look at the structure, I could tell what needed to be done. A person can ask a qualified engineer to access the structure or if you want to do it yourself, common building sense can also take care of the problem. I have built both ways, have taken out supporting joists, put in ridge beams, put in every other rafter for support of the roof tie.....many things....... So, the question you ask has many facets........ jloomisconstruction.com

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
cordator wrote:

Yes, don't do it unless you absolutely know what you are doing. Even structural engineers cringe at the idea of removing structural elements from a pre-existing structure.
Rui Maciel
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
cordator wrote the following:

Where I come from those 'cross beams' are called 'collar ties'. Just sayin'.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
yep, collar ties...... john

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/5/2011 9:18 AM, willshak wrote:

OK as described, they are ceiling joists, not collar ties. Collar ties are typically ABOVE your head (or about eye level) if you are standing in the attic. As described, this guy was talking about the "beams" (ceiling joists) he was standing on.
--
Steve Barker
remove the "not" from my address to email
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ceiling joists are collar ties too.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Huh? They may have similar functions, at times, but they are not located in the same place. The OP could clarify this, but I am pretty certain that his sloppy terminology is creating some confusion. The only way that collar ties could also be ceiling joists is if the room below had a partially vaulted ceiling - almost certainly not the case as the OP mentioned standing in the attic.
But please, no in-fighting over terminology. Stick to the tried and true insulting of ancestors if you must fight. ;)
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OK: similiar functions..... is what I meant.....
Anyway, I guess the issue is, removing the joists that act as collar ties and what should be done in lieu of this action. Been there and done that....seen many that have done it unsuccessfully too! anyway....... least there is meat on this bone to chew. john
wrote:

Huh? They may have similar functions, at times, but they are not located in the same place. The OP could clarify this, but I am pretty certain that his sloppy terminology is creating some confusion. The only way that collar ties could also be ceiling joists is if the room below had a partially vaulted ceiling - almost certainly not the case as the OP mentioned standing in the attic.
But please, no in-fighting over terminology. Stick to the tried and true insulting of ancestors if you must fight. ;)
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.