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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all first post here! =)

I am planning to rebuild my half-wall and turn it into a breakfast bar but I am concerned demoing the current half-wall. There is a column at the end of my half-wall and I am not sure whether this is a column is for support or decorative.

My set up looks like the following:


Any tips would be great! Thanks all!
 

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You would need to know whether the ceiling joists ran parallel or perpendicular to the 1/2 wall.
You should be able to determine this pretty easily.
You can try pushing the ceiling up next to the column on all 4 sides( about a foot away) and see where the beam is. Look in the basement and attic and see how those joists run.
You can cut a hole in the ceiling and look.
 

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KemoSabe
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Don't assume anything. Go underneath the floor. If it's a bearing column, there will be support under it.

Also, try to free up the cap and lower it. Cut out a few inches of rock around the post and look for a structural beam above.

My guess would be that you'll find a flat block of lumber between the joists that serves as a nailer to attach the column top, but the only way to know for sure is exploratory surgery.
 

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the Musigician
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If you're tearing it out anyways, just open the wall under the bottom of the column, if it's a support, it'll continue through.
If it's hollow, it's decorative. If you're not tearing apart the half wall, perhaps a long drill bit will tell you if it's continued or hollow.

:)

DM
 

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If it's hollow, it's decorative.
Actually DM there are hollow fiberglass structural columns that look just like that.

I’m not saying that is though, a little more detective work is needed as said.

My guess would be that there’s a 4x4 from plate to block inside just to keep the end of the wall from moving.
 

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the Musigician
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Good point. If it's fiberglass, you'd know that too if drilled. You'd SURELY know if there was a steel pole up the middle that way! :laughing: Same with a 4x4.
I guess we've covered most bases here and he has numerous ways to check.
If he's tearing out the bottom too, he'll know in a hammer stroke or two.

renn: Let us know what you find out?

DM
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow guys thats a lot of responses - I appreciate all of your follow-up questions.

So what I did was cut open a part of the half wall and this is what I am seeing:


I wrote on the drywall to show you guys where the stud / joist ends for the half wall and I noticed that the joist / stud at the end doesn't reach all the way to the column. As you can see, the center of the column is just at the edge of the joist as I marked for reference.

I also checked out the basement and the floor joists run parallel to my half wall. My column is approx above this location in my basement ceiling:
 

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the Musigician
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I thought you were just showing us there was no support under the floor and that the wall was hollow?

DM
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I thought you were just showing us there was no support under the floor and that the wall was hollow?

DM
Oh =)

I actually wanted some confirmation from you folks :laughing:

With all this evidence, can I conclude that this column can be taken down?
 

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KemoSabe
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Judging by those pics, there's no chance that column is structural.

That's not to say it's not being used for structure though.:whistling2:

If it was designed to carry load, there would be some type of structural beam or other support underneath to pick up the point load.

I'd still drop the column cap and explore some before losing it completely. You can never be too safe.:thumbsup:
 

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What about the ceiling joists? From the room setup it looks as though the joists would be parallel, but confirmation would be prudent.
 

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the Musigician
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What about the ceiling joists? From the room setup it looks as though the joists would be parallel, but confirmation would be prudent.
If it's decorative and non-supporting, how could that affect the ceiling joists?
I don't understand, what am I missing?
Do you mean if it's attached to the joist (toenailed/screwed?) into the joist up there at the ceiling level? If it's attached, even through just the drywall, it'll still need a patch/paint touchup to hide the holes in the ceiling, right?

DM
 

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If it's decorative and non-supporting, how could that affect the ceiling joists?
I don't understand, what am I missing?
Do you mean if it's attached to the joist (toenailed/screwed?) into the joist up there at the ceiling level? If it's attached, even through just the drywall, it'll still need a patch/paint touchup to hide the holes in the ceiling, right?

DM
Sometimes floor joists change orientation from floor to floor(as in my 1949 house). I just want him to make sure the joists above the column are running parallel to the pony wall, not perpendicular.
Unlikely, yes but why not check?
Wouldn't be the first time a previous homeowner pulled a wall down who didn't know what they were doing and were told by their brother in law that a column would do the trick.
 

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the Musigician
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Wouldn't be the first time a previous homeowner pulled a wall down who didn't know what they were doing and were told by their brother in law that a column would do the trick.
Makes sense. Smart thinking!

DM
 

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As TJM said, from the picture--- looks to be non-bearing by the room's dimensions. Joists probably run the shorter, 12' way across the fireplace, not the longer way (but not always). A stud finder on the ceiling would be non-intrusive...... unless it had strapping, even then you could tell the width of strapping. Check the upper floor thickness at the stairwell for joist size--- non-standard thickness means strapping on standard joists, along with previous point on width. Lack of bearing joist confirms--- non-bearing. That big knot is unusual at the bottom edge (tension) of better-rated joists......

Gary
 
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