In my continueing project of removing the fireplace, I have another
construction question. In the middle of the wall, horizontally, about
4ft. high is a large cross beam. Ideally, I would remove this for plan
'A'. I cannot tell if this is a load bearing header, or if it was put
there to be support for the very heavy mantel that was on the wall
above the fireplace. If I remove this beam,or just cut it flush with
the opening, will the second floor come crashing down? The void that
it goes across if 50 inches, is this too long a gap to not have
support for an exterior wall? Its not much wider than for a window.
Are there any alternatives to getting around this obstruction?
Heres some pictures:
Is it an iron L-beam? If it is, are there bricks sitting on it? Without
seeing it my suggestion would be that it is a lintel there to hold up the
brick going up the "house" side of the chimney. Is it near the opening of
the fireplace? As such, if it is, and you are removing the brick, then you
can remove it. Otherwise it will have to stay to do its intended job.
PS: Get someone in to check to be sure. I had an architect come in to
check a 6' bearing wall project I have. Cost me $190. Good, cheap
insurance against thousands in potential costs if I screw up!
Don't have your original post so I don't know what "Plan A" is, but
based on what I'm seeing (or thinking I'm seeing) that's a load
bearing header (same as over a window, for example).
Can't go further since I don't know what your plans are for the area.
On 15 Jul 2003 20:33:13 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (P.E.) wrote:
The biggest question is which way the joists run inthe ceiling
above, and whether they terminate on top of this wall. You
need to support the ceiling above while you take out the
beam the posts supporting it, and the studs above it, then put
in taller posts, and put the beam back, high enough to be clear
of whatever you're planning. That would be far easier to
accomplish if you were openning the ceiling up, too.
Then you could just prop up beams on either side of the wall.
By chance did you happen to notice that the studs through your house are 16
inches on center? And now you have to ask again if it's OK to have a 50 inch
gap in the studs without a header, and under a second story no less. As I
stated in another post, you need to get someone in that has some idea about
building codes before you either wreck the house or get it condemned by the
Or, look at it the other way... If you go see the building inspector
and ask nicely, you can often get him to come by and look at the
project and tell you if it's load bearing. Just tell him that you
want it done right and would like his input. Then he can tell you
if you need a permit or not. The project is so small that you will
probably only pay $20 or so for the permit *and* it will be legal.
Pretty cheap for an on-site consultant to review your project for
applicability and conformity to local codes, eh ?
My advice is for you to get someone that knows construction code in your area
to help you with design before you proceed any further. You are going to put
yourself in a position where the building inspectors will either condemn your
house, or make you spend thousands of dollars you didn't intend to, correcting
email@example.com (P.E.) wrote in message
Check at the ceiling leve and tell us what you find there. I't
possible that there is a double 2 by in line with the wall on either
side of the shaft you are reworking. It is important to know whether
or not the floor joists run parallel or perpendicular to the wall with
the window shown in your photo.
Thanks for everyone's advice, I did listen and installed a new header
at the top of the ceiling. Not a huge deal, nothing a small sledge
hammer couldnt overcome! ;-)
Check the site for updates, I just finished sealing off the top of the
chimney using some galvanized sheet metal to cap it off. Now I can get
to the fun stuff of actually building something that people can see...
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