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coralhead1 05-29-2006 08:47 AM

Steel Beam or Wood Reinforcement for 2nd floor addition?
Hi Everybody.

Have another fun problem with my theoretical 2nd floor additiion. My current house, a single story brick (approx 1600sqft) built in 1979, was built on 24" centers. This was apparently legal in Texas for about 2 years, if 3/4" ply skin was applied, then brick. My building line will not allow me to build out without exeptions from the army corps of engineers (which isnt going to happen). reason for addition would be quality of life...I wont be able to afford/find a better house on better property in this area. Others are starting to add on for the same reason.

I cannot level up without reinforcing/supporting the walls. I am trying to weight the cost/feasibility of 1) tearing out sheetrock and adding 2x4/4x4 supports, then re-sheetrock or 2) thinking outside the box and sinking steel beams which would support a steel cap plate/beam (basically building the second floor on stilts above the first floor). I could brick in the beams to look like pillars/decorative.

tearing out the sheetrock and re-supporting would entail a huge mess and at least half the house being unlivable for a time. I have to admit the beam idea is mine and I dont even know if its feasable structurally, let alone monitarily, but Ive floated it by a couple of GCs and they seem to think it can be done (after an initial look like "are you nuts?").

any ideas here? I have never built with steel, so I dont know costs or limitations, but in a perfect world the beams could be set exterior and attatched to the house (or possibly interior over the footing), with the cap beam being laid just under the eves, ready for the 2nd story walls to be attatched after the eves are removed, with minimal interior damage to the house.

joasis 05-29-2006 05:43 PM

The steel support can be done, of course, but at what expense? Generally speaking, all 2 story framing rests on 2x6 walls (with some exceptions). You really need to see what your local inspector and codes have to allow about what you will be getting into. Drywall is relatively cheap, all things considered. If it was my project, I would strip the old rock and add the studs or double the studs as required, depending on the loads you will support. From you added description of the house size, pitch, and ceiling joists, I doubt you will find a way to actually get the addition up without being open for a time. The time of course would depend on the framing crew.

DaveH 06-06-2006 01:22 PM

I fully concur with Joasis. You might want to check your local code and also with an engineer for weight limitations as well. Thae last thing you want to do with something like this is to make it too difficult.

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