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Old 09-10-2009, 06:36 PM   #1
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Removing ceiling joists


I'm trying to turn my attic into a loft. I want to open a ceiling (10 x 8ft) and have stairs (ladder) going up to the attic.

The ceiling is made of rafters (2x6) at 24" centers, that attach to a cross brace (2x4) that sits on the rafters (2x6), just beyond the exterior walls.

I've read that i can cut joists so long as i run a joist perpendicular to the cut joists - but this was in reference to a sky light and much smaller in scale.

Is it possible to cut out an 8ft x 10ft section in the ceiling (this would represent a quarter of the space under the roof).

Would i need to re-enforce this with any posts?

How can i determine how much much of the ceiling i can cut out? Is there a general rule for this?

Thanks for your help.

j

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Old 09-11-2009, 05:13 PM   #2
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Removing ceiling joists


As I've heard so many times before, you need a professional.

Altering the structure of your attic can be a dangerous thing.

Contact an architect or a structural engineer.

If you can't find one -- or get them to return your calls -- contact a local building contractor and have them out for a look. Even if you want to do the work yourself, they might be able to give you some good information. Or even work out something where you can do most of the work yourself.

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Old 09-11-2009, 05:38 PM   #3
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Removing ceiling joists


I have done this before. The load on the ceiling is still the same on the unadulterated sections, you should just have to double the ceiling joists longways for the entire lenght from the interior load bearing wall to the exterior wall, and perpendicular to it at the opening.

Hard to say without more info, but a 2x6 is pretty light for a combo floor joist and ceiling rafter. Also need to consider the transfer of additional dead and live loads through the lower level walls and possible basement supports.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:22 PM   #4
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Removing ceiling joists


Do you have a picture of the rafter/cross brace/joist ?
Almost sound like a truss setup w/24" OC
If truss you can't touch it without an engineers stamp on the modification
Opening up a 10x8 hole is a pretty big job
And with 2x6 rafters & joists you are on the low side for support
The 2x6 ceiling joist may not work as floor joists
How far are they spanning?

All depends upon how this is built & load bearing walls that are present
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:27 PM   #5
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Removing ceiling joists


I agree with Kemp. A Contractor would go to a Structural Engineer to see if it is feasible and how much it costs. Removing rafter ties (the attic ceiling joists) which hold the exterior walls from spreading and the roof from sagging could be dangerous. You would need a structural ridge beam to take the spreading load from the present structure, with proper continuous bearing to the soil below. OR, you could install rafter ties a little way above the wall plate, at a height to be determined by a S.E. as mentioned.
Be safe, Gary
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:27 PM   #6
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Removing ceiling joists


GBR, kemp, and Dave are spot on correct. I'm a structural engineer, and a sizeable pie slice of my work is for residential contractors that run into this type of project. This issue you have is not cut and dry, not by a long shot.

Ohming, the arrangement you suggest works for only very specific circumstances, and not every circumstance.

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