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Old 12-14-2013, 11:04 AM   #1
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Resupporting Dormer


After gutting a 100+ year old house, we found that the ceiling joists supporting the dormer are 2x4's, and many have sagged over the years, and a few have cracked and broke at the ends.

I wanted to get some opinions on what would be the ideal way to repair this.

One side is about a 11.5' span and the other is about 10'.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:43 PM   #2
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Resupporting Dormer


Oh man, that is a bummer. I am really suprised that it held up with the dormer up there as long as it did. 2 x 4's that far apart provide little structural support. The same type of thing happened in my 100 year old property, except not to that extent. I had true 2 x 6's spaced 24 OC, however it was supporting an entire finished third floor. After I gutted it, I actually ripped down a million 2 x 8's and went in between, so i had 2 x 6 at 12" OC. I dont think you will be able to do that, although the difference it made was tremendous. In your case I fear you may have to almost start over and put 2 x 8's or something much stronger in there and rebuild that middle support wall, but I would ask your engineer. If you do not have one, get one. I am sure you are going to come accross some of the same issues I had when doing mine (Check out my thread NJ Family Colonial in the project showcase) and the engineer is priceless. You also may not be able to make those modifications without one depending on your local ispector. The engineer took a lot of the thinking out of it and truly the next one of these I do I will go a step further and get an architect in there after I gut it to maximize the space and get the most out of the design of the house. Defnitely make sure you get rid of that knob and tube! Good luck!

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Last edited by tjbingha; 12-18-2013 at 01:49 PM. Reason: Ask for Location
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:44 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by tjbingha View Post
Oh man, that is a bummer. I am really suprised that it held up with the dormer up there as long as it did. 2 x 4's that far apart provide little structural support. The same type of thing happened in my 100 year old property, except not to that extent. I had true 2 x 6's spaced 24 OC, however it was supporting an entire finished third floor. After I gutted it, I actually ripped down a million 2 x 8's and went in between, so i had 2 x 6 at 12" OC. I dont think you will be able to do that, although the difference it made was tremendous. In your case I fear you may have to almost start over and put 2 x 8's or something much stronger in there and rebuild that middle support wall, but I would ask your engineer. If you do not have one, get one. I am sure you are going to come accross some of the same issues I had when doing mine (Check out my thread NJ Family Colonial in the project showcase) and the engineer is priceless. You also may not be able to make those modifications without one depending on your local ispector. The engineer took a lot of the thinking out of it and truly the next one of these I do I will go a step further and get an architect in there after I gut it to maximize the space and get the most out of the design of the house. Defnitely make sure you get rid of that knob and tube! Good luck!

Also, be sure to add your location in your profile!
I love going behind architects doing remodeling. talk about on the fly carpentry. I'd say that 85% of the drawings had to be on site adjusted at every wall( wall placement paradox). every now and then there would be a plan that worked without us scratching out heads until bald but hardly ever. Good thing we knew a SE and had them on speed dial LOL. Also the fact that the house we are remodeling is 4" out of level, the plans do not call for that!

back to the thread. for those ceiling joists consider ripping LVL down to appropriate size and sistering old joists wih ripped LVL's after jacking up to level old joists. cut every lvl and have them laying up on the wall plates on their sides and then get your lift assembly set up and once lifted tip the lvl/s into place and nail like crazy... the pivot point where you tip them sometimes grabs between plate and sub floor and I will cut them a hair shy if needed (notch over plate) and then shim under new joist the space left from notching.

maybe consider adding a short 2x2 under old joists at the lift location to keep the lift member out of the way from interfering with sister joist placement and those old joists will vary in size probably from 4" up to 4.5" so make one side, the bottom side in your case the finished smooth everything stays flush side

Last edited by hand drive; 12-19-2013 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:01 AM   #4
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Resupporting Dormer


Really? I am surprised by your architect comment. I am a DIY'er who does most of the "on the fly carpentry" as you call it. My last project I had a SE but I felt that I could have used even a bit more "structure". BC it was a remodel I was in charge of the design and everything and the SE basically just told me what beams to put where and what needed fixing. I guess more than anything I would want a designer rather than an architect. Sorry for the thread hijack....
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:17 AM   #5
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Resupporting Dormer


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Originally Posted by tjbingha View Post
Really? I am surprised by your architect comment. I am a DIY'er who does most of the "on the fly carpentry" as you call it. My last project I had a SE but I felt that I could have used even a bit more "structure". BC it was a remodel I was in charge of the design and everything and the SE basically just told me what beams to put where and what needed fixing. I guess more than anything I would want a designer rather than an architect. Sorry for the thread hijack....
well you will usually have to fine tune every single detail in an historical architect drawing. like you said, make sure and get the beams and footing right and everything squeezes in there around those. the best benifit for the archi in my case has always been the homeowner approval and design (plan in hand) before we ever show up so at least the homeowner is on board. so much of the time trying to get the homeowner on board is the hardest part as to what needs to be done and where.
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