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Old 02-13-2012, 04:02 PM   #1
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


I'd like to widen the entryway into a room and I'm looking for suggestions on how best to support the ceiling in the process. It's a vaulted ceiling and, at the peak, it's about 12' high. The ceiling is wood, with exposed beams. I'm assuming that if I support the ridge beam, it'll be OK, but I'm not sure of the best way to do that. Thanks.

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Old 02-16-2012, 09:40 PM   #2
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


OK, let me try this again... Maybe a couple of pictures will help.

I'd like to widen this doorway and was wondering if anybody had suggestions as to how best to support the ceiling in the process. The ceiling is 12' at the peak. Thanks.
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway-p2160004.jpg   support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway-p2160006.jpg  

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Old 02-17-2012, 10:21 AM   #3
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


Hi Jeremy.....pictures really tell the story.....

First off....I'm hopeing that one of the experts will chime in...but the first thing I notice is that your post supporting the ridge beam is sitting on the top plate and nothing under it.....Normally, one would also run a 4x4 under that post so that it sits on the door header.

Moot point at this stage since you want to pull all that out.

I'm assuming you have had a prfessional size the right beam for you. I'm in the middle of a 2-story addition right now....I actually have a wall that sits under the mid span of my upstairs ridge beam....it is a 7' span and the beam is a PSL 3.5x11.25.....I'm going to assume you will be using something as big if not bigger depending on how wide your going to open it up.

For support.....they make adjustable jack posts....I think you can rent them....if it was me....I would take a couple of 2'x2' squares of plywood and put them on the floor under the beam....then run a 4x4 post from the plywood up to the ridge beam and use some shims to get it nice and snug....real snug....to the point that it is almost lifting it....I would also be checking it with a level to make sure there is no existing sag. I would then use a couple pieces of wood to anchor the post to the beam.

The plywood is to spread the load on the floor and protect it....assuming the floor is going to change...I would also be running some screws through the plywood into the floor. You don't want it to slide out on you.
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:36 PM   #4
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


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Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
Hi Jeremy.....pictures really tell the story.....

First off....I'm hopeing that one of the experts will chime in...but the first thing I notice is that your post supporting the ridge beam is sitting on the top plate and nothing under it.....Normally, one would also run a 4x4 under that post so that it sits on the door header.

Moot point at this stage since you want to pull all that out.

I'm assuming you have had a prfessional size the right beam for you. I'm in the middle of a 2-story addition right now....I actually have a wall that sits under the mid span of my upstairs ridge beam....it is a 7' span and the beam is a PSL 3.5x11.25.....I'm going to assume you will be using something as big if not bigger depending on how wide your going to open it up.

For support.....they make adjustable jack posts....I think you can rent them....if it was me....I would take a couple of 2'x2' squares of plywood and put them on the floor under the beam....then run a 4x4 post from the plywood up to the ridge beam and use some shims to get it nice and snug....real snug....to the point that it is almost lifting it....I would also be checking it with a level to make sure there is no existing sag. I would then use a couple pieces of wood to anchor the post to the beam.

The plywood is to spread the load on the floor and protect it....assuming the floor is going to change...I would also be running some screws through the plywood into the floor. You don't want it to slide out on you.
Thanks for the suggestions.

As for supporting the ridge beam, that's pretty much what I was thinking. I'll try to take some pictures of my setup and post those.

For the new opening, it's going to be 6' wide, and I've got a 4 x 10 header (select structural grade) that will fit snug under the top plate. I did quite a bit of searching and from various tables that I found, I believe that size of header is more than sufficient for the application. I also put blocking between the appropriate floor joists, and even added a couple of 4x4 posts below as support.

Btw, this wall is parallel to the floor joists. I'd thought that load bearing walls are generally perpendicular to the joists. To make matters worse, the wall is not even centered over a single joist. So I believe that the blocking and posts below will make the new wall more solid than the existing wall.
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:43 PM   #5
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


If that vaulted ceiling runs through that wall into the next room then that's a nonsupporting wall.
Looks like the ridge pole is supported on the two outside walls.
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:16 AM   #6
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


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If that vaulted ceiling runs through that wall into the next room then that's a nonsupporting wall.
Looks like the ridge pole is supported on the two outside walls.
I think you're correct in that the side walls should be supporting the weight. However, it appears that the ridge beam is not continuous thru this interior wall, so I think there is some weight there---not the full weight of the roof, but still something. Anyways, I just want to play it safe, and I figure extra blocking and support can't hurt.
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Old 02-18-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


Here is how I have done this type of thing.
Cutting opening in Load Bearing wall
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:44 PM   #8
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


The deed is done.

It all went very smoothly---just me and my 18 year old son were able to manage it. Here are some pictures.
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway-pic1.jpg   support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway-pic2.jpg   support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway-pic3.jpg   support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway-pic4.jpg  
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:53 PM   #9
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


from the looks of your photo your support looks good.. only thing i would do differently is add some plastic to mask off that bedroom to keep dust out of there
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:15 PM   #10
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Good job.....
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:35 PM   #11
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


I got curious about the header over the window on the opposite side of this room, so I removed some drywall and it's not a pretty picture (actually, pictures). It looks to me like somebody decided to replace a window with a wider model, but didn't bother to put in a bigger header. I'm going to fix that, but it does indicate that this wall is not supporting a lot of weight. It's likely that a similar thing can be said for the wall where I just put in the 4x10 header. But, what the heck, it was pretty easy to do and when the rest of the house falls down in an earthquake, that header will still be standing...
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:41 AM   #12
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


Ouch.....your right.....perfect example of a hack.....

Good thing you care about doing it right.....
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:07 AM   #13
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support vaulted ceiling while enlarging doorway


Just a couple thoughts:
Did you have header sized with the point load on the beam as a factor? Whenever I see a point load, I think LVL for the beam. Also, did you follow the new load down and add blocking below the new post locations?
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:14 AM   #14
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Ouch.....your right.....perfect example of a hack.....

Good thing you care about doing it right.....
Yes, exactly. And, I'm planning on installing a loft bed by attaching joist hangers to that header---that project is described here:
loft
If I'd done so, it would surely have destroyed the window and caused a huge mess, and could've gotten somebody hurt. I opened up this wall based on nothing more than a hunch that something didn't seem quite right. Well, that and my experience seeing some of the weird things that had been done to this house in previous remodeling attempts. In any case, I'm glad I did so, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. I just hope there are no more surprises...
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:17 PM   #15
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Just a couple thoughts:
Did you have header sized with the point load on the beam as a factor? Whenever I see a point load, I think LVL for the beam. Also, did you follow the new load down and add blocking below the new post locations?
You've got a point there...

I've definitely got the second part covered---on one side the load is almost directly over a 2x6 load-bearing wall (I put plenty of blocking in there too), while the other side now has 4x4 posts that take any load all the way down to the foundation.

But, I suppose the point load could be an issue, since I didn't really think about that. However, I'm about as certain as can be that it's not a problem since there should not be any significant weight on this wall. But, supposing I'm wrong, is there any way to spread the weight of the "point" out over the beam a bit more, so it no longer counts as a point load?

In any case, I'm hoping to get an engineer to look at a questionable beam that I recently uncovered and, to be safe, I'll probably ask him to look at this one too. (Btw, this questionable beam has a 15' span, it's only 4x6, it is most definitely load bearing, and one end sits directly above a window, on top of a 4x6 header.)

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