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olimits7 10-15-2012 10:57 AM

Garage Roof Support & 2nd Floor Addition Info?

I'm interested in purchasing a house; the house is small and the current homeowner is a contractor who just re-built the house. The house is a little small so he would add a new family room by taking the existing 2 car garage, and making it a single car garage. And where the current office/laundry room is he would extend into the garage to make a big family room.

From the office/laundry room there are 3 steps down that go into the garage; he would deck out the garage floor this way it was the same level as the office/laundry room.

In the office/laundry room there are around 8' ceilings, but in the garage he has 1 wood ceiling beam running across that is lower than the current office/laundry room ceiling, with the floor decked out, I would say this beam would be around 7'.

There are no columns in the garage, and he said his plan if he didn't need to move was to put in 10' ceilings, and he would remove this beam, and use another support beam this way he could go with a higher ceiling in the garage.

My question is what type of support beam could he use that would allow him to remove the current beam running accross, and allow him to increase the height of the garage?

Also, a concern I have is in the future I would like to add a 2nd floor addition over the garage; would this support he adds to the garage be able to hold a 2nd floor; if there are no columns in the garage?

Thank you!

GBrackins 10-15-2012 02:44 PM

there is a difference in a beam supporting only an attic space and a beam supporting bedrooms. attic space for limited storage typically requires 20 pounds per square foot for live loads and bedrooms require 30 pounds per square foot.

a beam is sized based upon the loads it must support and the length of the beam. They can be of solid sawn lumber, engineered structural composite lumber and various metals such as steel and aluminum. There are however limits to the spans based upon their loads.

if a room is being formed in part of the garage then it may be possible to install a column within the new wall. shortening the beam spans will allow more options for your beam. the 2009 International Residential Code provides prescriptive beam design for solid sawn lumber.

engineered structural composite lumber manufacturers have prescriptive tables for their products. Some aluminum beam manufacturer's have prescriptive tables for their products. Typically steel beams are designed by a professional engineer.

Should you desire to add a second floor onto the garage I would recommend having a conversation with your local building official to determine what your building code is, what drawings will be needed, and other requirements.

Typically your foundation would need to be evaluated by a professional engineer to determine if it can support the added loads. Adding more load onto a foundation than it or the underlying soils can support could create structural issues. Footing size for foundation walls are based upon the loads they must support and the soil bearing capacity of the soil.

If you decide to move forward with this project I would recommend hiring a local professional engineer that specializes in residential construction. Just remember, not having a building code to build by, not needing a building permit, or are not required to submit drawings to the building department does not change the physics of building construction. The money you spend in having it designed properly will save you money in the long run, especially if something is overlooked.

Good luck!

ddawg16 10-15-2012 06:39 PM

Some good advice above from an expert...

And here is some advice from a non-expert taking a different view.....

I would be very cautious of someone willing to make those kind of modifications to a house in order to sell it....if you look at it from his perspective....he is going to do the bare minimum (if that much) in order to get the job done. He has no vested interest in doing a good job other than making it good enough to dump...I mean sell....

GBrackins 10-15-2012 06:42 PM

so true dawg, so true .....

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