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Old 04-10-2014, 07:13 PM   #1
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


I'm going to be removing an abandoned chimney from our 1880 home and then patching the roof. The chimney's not supporting any of the structure. In examining where the chimney exists the roof, I've run into two issues that I wanted to pick your brains on.

1) There's a single rafter that "dies" into the chimney about 24" down from the ridge. The brick is built out around the ends of the rafter and these ends are rotted. I've never seen a framing detail like that. The rafters on either side of this one are full length and in good shape. My plan is to remove the chimney below this rafter, cut off the rotted ends and then toenail on a new piece of rafter. I would then sister a full length rafter next to the repaired one. Sound like a good idea? Better way to handle this?

2) There's a full length ridge board to one side of the chimney and then only about a 24" long piece on the other. The remaining 6 rafters between this short piece of ridge board and the outside gable rafters are plumb cut at the top and toe nailed together. This is all original lumber, so it's been this way for a long time. Has anyone seen anything like this in your travels? Do you think it needs to be addressed? Also, when removing the chimney, there's going to be a 24" gap left in the ridge board. What's the best way to insert a new piece of ridge board and use it to splice together the two original sides?

House is located in Maryland. I've included photos to help show what I'm up against. If different angles are needed, I'll take more. Thanks for any advice!
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge-chimney1.jpg   Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge-chimney2.jpg   Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge-chimney3.jpg   Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge-chimney4.jpg  

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Old 04-10-2014, 08:17 PM   #2
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


a couple of ways to tackle that.
1. add headers to both sides in between joists catching the rafters that land on the chimney, like a standard chimney would be framed around now days. the requirements for that procedure is to double both rafters both sides of roof to be headered off of. so you would need to add a rafter at four places. you would do all this before removal of chimney. after chimney is removed the ridge can be set and the fill in rafters from the header up to ridge added and thebn sheath roof and shingle.

2. temp support middle rafter, tear down chimney. add fill in ridge and then sister full length next to short rafter allowing new rafter full bearing wall to ridge, nail /screw old rafter to new rafter, sheath then shingle


Last edited by hand drive; 04-10-2014 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:00 PM   #3
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


When the chimney is out, you could support a short length of ridge (say 2x6) off pieces of 2x4 screwed to opposing pairs of rafters. The new 'fill-in' rafters would then span on to this from both sides.

As above, trimmers would be needed just below where the chimney is at present, and new (short) rafters go from these up to the ridge.

As regards sistering, personally I wouldn't bother as the existing rafters will be supporting the trimmers very near the end of the span, where the stress will be lowest. But that's only my own view from a purely structural perspective and I'm not trying to encourage you not to sister the rafters! - your local code may require this anyway.
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Last edited by tony.g; 04-11-2014 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 04-11-2014, 02:51 PM   #4
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


hand drive and tony, thanks for the advice! And tony thanks for taking the time to prep that sketch! It looks great!

My main question for both of you is this: why do I even need to bother with installing headers? Especially since I won't be installing another chimney and there's no longer a need for that space? Wouldn't it make the most sense to have a full length rafter (or rafters) there? Along the lines of hand drive's suggestion #2:

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Originally Posted by hand drive View Post
2. temp support middle rafter, tear down chimney. add fill in ridge and then sister full length next to short rafter allowing new rafter full bearing wall to ridge, nail /screw old rafter to new rafter, sheath then shingle
I was going to take these exact steps, with the addition of adding a short piece of rafter where the chimney was. As far as temp support, I was thinking of nailing a 2x6 across several rafters, picking up the repaired rafter midway. I'm not nearly the artist that tony is, so I used sketchup to draw my idea.

Sketch 1 - What I have now...

Sketch 2 - Remove chimney and cut back ridge board to nearest rafter. (Red arrows) Or... would it be best to let the ridge run long, toe nail a filler piece in and then scab a piece of lumber each side. This would tie the old and new ridge boards together. Does it matter structurally?

Sketch 3 - My proposed repair with green being the new lumber. Added ridge support per tony's suggestion.

EDIT: Added sketch 4 showing proposed location of temp 2x6 brace. Nailed/screwed to inside of rafters.
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge-remove1.jpg   Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge-remove2.png   Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge-remove3.png   Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge-remove4.png  

Last edited by Pittsville; 04-11-2014 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:47 PM   #5
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


If you header across the cut rafter without sistering, you will meet code;http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...9_8_par034.htm

Fix the ridge; http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...9_8_par021.htm

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Old 04-11-2014, 05:00 PM   #6
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


We just had our roofer knock ours just below the roof. He then put a 2x6 inside the existing box, so that he could patch the hole with a piece of exterior grade 3/4" Plywood.

Then he just covered with #30 felt, shingles we had left over from the existing roofing job in 2008. You cannot even tell a year later, where the old Chimney was at.

At some time I will finish knocking the chimney down inside itself, so that I can get it out of the house. For now it is just standing in the attic waiting to go bye-bye. The structure of ours is still sound. Just that we were not using it anymore. Due to we have a 95% furnace and power vent Water Heater.
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:01 PM   #7
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


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We just had our roofer knock ours just below the roof.
We switched from gas to electric heat, and that's exactly what I did. Just knocked it below the roof line and patch the hole.
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:48 PM   #8
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


I have to install a footing and then a support column right where the chimney lands in the crawlspace. Plus the chimney has been abandoned for at least 40 years and is badly deterioated. So that's why the entire thing has to go.
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:54 PM   #9
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


Question remains though... why the need for a header between the rafters? Why not just install a new full length rafter from wall to ridge? This is how it would have been framed to begin with had there not been a chimney. Not trying to argue the point, just trying to understand.
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:45 PM   #10
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


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Question remains though... why the need for a header between the rafters? Why not just install a new full length rafter from wall to ridge? This is how it would have been framed to begin with had there not been a chimney. Not trying to argue the point, just trying to understand.
To stabilize the repair. Most likely from the looks of some of those timbers. The OP may have to scab in some new Timbers to replace the ones that are in bad shape.
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:54 PM   #11
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


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To stabilize the repair. Most likely from the looks of some of those timbers. The OP may have to scab in some new Timbers to replace the ones that are in bad shape.
With the exception of the one that butts to the chimney, all of the rafters are solid and in good condition.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:44 PM   #12
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


The one to the right looks like it has some water damage.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:21 AM   #13
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Removing chimney and repairing rafter/ridge


the add a ridge and scab a new rafter after chimney is removed is the easiest way. I posted ways to header off the two rafters butting the chimney but really it is not needed. your green diagram is the way, cut the rot back on old rafter and scab a small filler on old rafter next to new sister rafter that goes to ridge.

I would just fill in between ridges with new ridge and then add two more ridge scabs either side of ridge that span rafter to rafter and butt the new rafter to the scabs. rip an angle at the top of the scabs the pitch of roof so you can place scabs as high as possible onto ridge.

otherwise cut old ridge back flush at rafters and then add new ridge ( rafter to rafter) and then cut short 2 or 3 ft rafters with the angle on top and butt them up to new ridge while nailing to old rafters and to ridge. the little rafter at the top serve as pressure blocks in a way.
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Old 04-13-2014, 12:26 AM   #14
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the add a ridge and scab a new rafter after chimney is removed is the easiest way. I posted ways to header off the two rafters butting the chimney but really it is not needed. your green diagram is the way, cut the rot back on old rafter and scab a small filler on old rafter next to new sister rafter that goes to ridge.

I would just fill in between ridges with new ridge and then add two more ridge scabs either side of ridge that span rafter to rafter and butt the new rafter to the scabs. rip an angle at the top of the scabs the pitch of roof so you can place scabs as high as possible onto ridge.

otherwise cut old ridge back flush at rafters and then add new ridge ( rafter to rafter) and then cut short 2 or 3 ft rafters with the angle on top and butt them up to new ridge while nailing to old rafters and to ridge. the little rafter at the top serve as pressure blocks in a way.
Sounds like a plan. Thanks!

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