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Old 11-21-2011, 08:30 AM   #1
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


Finishing up some drywall elsewhere in the house and planning to paint living room this week. Started thinking maybe these columns (either side of window) are decorative rather than structural or hiding something. However, I don't know why you would do that when the living room is already small. We just moved into the house last month so I have no insight as to the use of these.

How can I verify what both are used for?

Thanks.




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Old 11-21-2011, 09:26 AM   #2
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


What does the outside of the house look like at that window?
Is it a two story house?

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Old 11-21-2011, 09:29 AM   #3
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


Two storey house and outside of house in front of living room is flat and the window is at the same depth as the front wall. The middle support load bearing wall is the left wall in the photo (2x8 wall). It is not "on-top" of the column.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:45 AM   #4
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


If there is a way I can tell that there is something in one/both of these columns I would be very happy to not have to cut a hole and look. If I know there is something there I will leave it and paint the room. If I cut in to discover there is something there, I will need to repair and have to wait a couple days to paint.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:49 AM   #5
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


Is there a basement? What's down there if anything?
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:34 AM   #6
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


If you have forced air heat or A/C, it is likely that one column is for ducting. the other may be decorative.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:37 AM   #7
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


This is what I was thinking. There is definitely nothing in the right one (from basement inspection) but the left one could very likely be ducting (can't tell from visual basement inspection).

If this is the case I think I would rather leave both for a uniform look as opposed to demoing the "decorative" one.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:42 AM   #8
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


Duct work on an outside wall???

H-m-m-m-m, seems odd!

I thought of that also but ruled it out immediately, didn't seem prudent to use an outside wall for ducting heat and cool air.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:48 AM   #9
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


Also a valid point and looking at the bedroom (original master suite) above the living room, I have an idea.

There are 3 'blank' wall plates in the house, one in the middle of the main level, one in the middle of the upper level, and one in the master bedroom on the upper level. There looks to be some sort of speaker wire in them right now but I am thinking that perhaps this was rough in for central vac? If this is the case, the left column could be housing pipes for central vac rough in? I am not sure I guess I will have to do a bit more scouting. If I can't come to a conclusion from visual inspection I will just paint the room and look into this in the future when more extensive remodels take place.

(The house was built in 1988 by the way, and we just moved in exactly one month ago).
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:00 PM   #10
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


I don't see where removing the boxes would gain anything. It would cause you to have to repair the ceiling and would/could effect existing floor covering as well.

Also all of the crown molding would be affected.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:02 PM   #11
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


Thanks, I agree but would make a little bit more usable space (tv corner mounted on wall with coffee table in nook between wall and couch. That is alright, I plan to get an articulating extending tv mount, mount the tv beside the fireplace and have the ability to swing it out to approximately where it sits right now anyways.

Thank you.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:22 PM   #12
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


Usually the house-vac pipes (2") are drilled in the plates as they fit in the wall cavity. Open one of the blanks, look for a 2 wire low-voltage, 18 gauge or so wire taped to the pipe. Could be they never hooked it up with the $$$ option being too much.

I would just pull the base moulding at the column, cut a small inspection slot to see. Single bottom plate on sub-floor without underlayment would be 1/2" high because of the wood flooring thickness, leaving you room for a 3" slot if base is 4" high.

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Old 11-22-2011, 10:28 AM   #13
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


Actually, that is a great idea. Pull off the baseboard and cut a small slot to have a look. Easy to hide after!

And yes in the "blank" holes there is a small 2-wire wire of which I referenced looked like speaker wire. Hmm central vac...
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:37 PM   #14
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How to tell if these are decorative or necessary?


Could be a feature not originally in the house. Shouldn't be too hard to figure it out.

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