I need to convert my 1 1/2 story detached garage into a mother-in-law living space - it has a gambrel roof. With a 22' width and no support columns, the 2nd story floor joists are 2" x 8"s and understandably have sagged. I would like to open up the space by removing the floor joists for an exposed-beam look, but don't want to compromise the integrity of the roof (or entire building for that matter). Virtually all the plans I've seen assume that you want a 2nd floor.
Question - do the floor joists provide strength for the roof and overall integrity of the building? Can I remover them completely or would I need to put up scissor rafters or in effect, raise the height of floor joist to just under the second slope of the rafters or other alternate bracing? Don't want it to implode!