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Old 05-09-2014, 12:55 PM   #1
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Hi y'all! I am going to start off with a disclaimer before my question. I've been searching and reading various threads on here, and I have the intention of consulting a residential structural engineer before actually doing anything.

That said, we are in the market to buy a house, and have a property in mind. While the paperwork is all processing, I am spinning my wheels and trying to stay occupied, and that energy takes the form of planning future projects. The house we like has two posts dividing a formal and casual living room area, and I would like to knock those posts out to open up the space.

I know only an onsite inspection can tell me if these are load bearing, and if that beam running across the top is structural or decorative (I'd leave the top beam in place, regardless). But I would like your opinions on these pillars and the possibilities of taking them out. This post is just for fun/speculation.

If they are load bearing, I would consider removing one beam and building a bookshelf between the wall and remaining post.

What are your thoughts? It's a single story ranch, no basement, about 30-50 years old.

(pics in next post)

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Old 05-09-2014, 12:59 PM   #2
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trying to post pictures...

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Old 05-09-2014, 12:59 PM   #3
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:31 PM   #4
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I like it open. Maybe a small book shelf. I like the wall planking. I had the same stuff in the house my x got. I put my book shelf on a wall.
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:37 PM   #5
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I was hoping to do a built in bookshelf of a similar nature on the wall perpendicular to the posts, but if I can't remove them both, I may wrap it around to the side as well.

Really hoping I can remove them without issues; it's such a funky placement. They aren't very decorative looking, and really look more like framing that was left undone and just covered up with paint. But who knows...
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:31 AM   #6
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I don't like those 2 white vertical posts. Personally i feel they have to be removed because i like the open concept and they disturb me
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:35 AM   #7
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We really can't tell much from that photo---

what is above that beam? Attic? second floor?

The beam is to small to be of much use---it looks more like a decorative trim ,perhaps used to hide the scar left when a wall was removed.

More info needed---and ,yes, you need someone on site if assess the structure.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:40 AM   #8
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Get an engineer in there and figure out a way to remove them.

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Old 05-11-2014, 07:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
What are your thoughts?
They're a compromise.

Getting rid of the need for columns and fully open the space would cost more money than the previous owner was willing to spend.

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If they are load bearing...
99.875% chance they are.

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I would consider removing one beam and building a bookshelf between the wall and remaining post.
Another compromise.
Build the bookcase in a way that *incorporates* the column.
---

I'd still suggest an engineer inspect what was done to be CERTAIN that what was done in their compromise didn't compromise anything else. In particular I'd be concerned about the HVAC ducts that were cut out and probably a few electrical outlets.

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 05-11-2014 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:19 AM   #10
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I think it is pretty obvious that there once was a wall there which someone had removed. If you look carefully, you can tell there was a pass-through or something at the one end.
I'm guessing that if it was possible and/or easy, whoever did this would have removed the posts at the same time.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:49 AM   #11
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Many people like "open concept" but buildings like this thing called support. I doubt the span you're showing was built to be self-supporting 30-50 years ago.
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:01 AM   #12
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They are obstructing the area, You are going to need a bigger beam to remove them both.

Have you thought of moving them farther apart, and widening the opening. And shelving on both ends.

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Old 05-11-2014, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtd View Post
I don't like those 2 white vertical posts. Personally i feel they have to be removed because i like the open concept and they disturb me
Same here. It's not a deal breaker on the house, per say, but definitely a negative.

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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
We really can't tell much from that photo---

what is above that beam? Attic? second floor?

The beam is to small to be of much use---it looks more like a decorative trim ,perhaps used to hide the scar left when a wall was removed.

More info needed---and ,yes, you need someone on site if assess the structure.
An attic, I believe. Single story ranch, couple decades old. I have been trying to figure out how to get the blue prints to the house, but so far, no luck.

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Originally Posted by garlicbreath View Post
Get an engineer in there and figure out a way to remove them.

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If we do buy the house, that will be my intention. I feel like they gotta go, but safely!!!

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Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
They're a compromise.

Getting rid of the need for columns and fully open the space would cost more money than the previous owner was willing to spend.

99.875% chance they are.

Another compromise.
Build the bookcase in a way that *incorporates* the column.
---

I'd still suggest an engineer inspect what was done to be CERTAIN that what was done in their compromise didn't compromise anything else. In particular I'd be concerned about the HVAC ducts that were cut out and probably a few electrical outlets.
That's an alternative I was considering. Building a book case between one column and the wall, and possibly removing the second column. Of course, if I'm going to all that work; it may just be better to pull them both out and put a better support beam in. That can be done, right? How big of a beam would it need?

And interesting that you mentioned the ductwork; the house was unlisted for two months and then relisted, saying new ductwork and HVAC had been done and septic as well. Definitely not going into this with rose colored glasses...

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Originally Posted by Blondesense View Post
I think it is pretty obvious that there once was a wall there which someone had removed. If you look carefully, you can tell there was a pass-through or something at the one end.
I'm guessing that if it was possible and/or easy, whoever did this would have removed the posts at the same time.
I have noticed that the side where the couch is positioned had some of those 60's era decorative spindles removed. The posts do look structural, but there are some weird design choices out there too. Some people also like to take short (cheap) cuts, and may have thought leaving the posts was good enough. There is also some weird metal flashing or something at the other side, looking towards the front door. Can't figure out what that is...

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Originally Posted by IslandGuy View Post
Many people like "open concept" but buildings like this thing called support. I doubt the span you're showing was built to be self-supporting 30-50 years ago.
That is something I'm wondering. There is a fire place a few feet behind it that also looks structurally important, though I can't get up to the attic to check the trusses. (Eight months prego; probably not the best idea for me!)

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Originally Posted by de-nagorg View Post
They are obstructing the area, You are going to need a bigger beam to remove them both.

Have you thought of moving them farther apart, and widening the opening. And shelving on both ends.

ED
That was something I thought about, and may do if I can't remove them completely. I guess I would need a consultation to see how far apart they could be safely moved. I just think they look so awful; bookcases and space may make it more tolerable, but opened would be so nice...I actually like the idea of a bigger beam, and putting up faux beams elsewhere.

Thanks for all the comments, guys!

Last edited by Ariadne; 05-11-2014 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:52 PM   #14
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It is almost always possible to remove a structural element like a post or two from a house. The only question is how much is it going to cost to remove the posts. I assume you are going to have a professional inspection before you put an offer in on the house. You may want to hire a local contractor with experience in structural work, possibly a structural engineer, or an architect to evaluate what needs to be done to remove the posts, and to estimate how much it will cost. Then you can make an offer of X - cost to renovate.

There is simply no way anyone on an internet chat forum, which is what this is, can tell you what size beam you would need if you remove the columns, and how much it would cost to do the work. For that kind of information, you need a hands on inspection by a professional with structural knowledge.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
It is almost always possible to remove a structural element like a post or two from a house. The only question is how much is it going to cost to remove the posts. I assume you are going to have a professional inspection before you put an offer in on the house. You may want to hire a local contractor with experience in structural work, possibly a structural engineer, or an architect to evaluate what needs to be done to remove the posts, and to estimate how much it will cost. Then you can make an offer of X - cost to renovate.

There is simply no way anyone on an internet chat forum, which is what this is, can tell you what size beam you would need if you remove the columns, and how much it would cost to do the work. For that kind of information, you need a hands on inspection by a professional with structural knowledge.
Adding a bit to this one, you COULD go to a table that would tell you what size beam you need to span that distance. But you would only have part of the solution....because there is currently a load on the existing that is being divided over the two ends and the two intervening posts. So you need to consider what happens when you take that ENTIRE load and put half on each end of the span. Unhappy ending if the beam holds just fine......but one end goes through your floor because one of the remaining columns was not enough to support. Go with the good advice to hire appropriate professionals to spec things out. Ron

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