Author Topic: Help! Is this at all structural?  (Read 4088 times)

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Offline live4ever

  • Posts: 829
Help! Is this at all structural?
« on: February 19, 2012, 02:30 AM »
Hi all,

Disclaimer:  There are no Festools involved in this post.

We did a kitchen remodel/facelift a while back but left the finishing touches until now.  One issue was an odd archway that divided the long kitchen in half (the original 1930 home probably had two rooms separated by a wall or half wall) and made hanging our cabinets difficult.  We were on a time crunch at the time and didn't bother dealing with it.  We finally decided to go ahead and tackle the archway and see whether it is structural and whether it could be removed as we finish painting and trimming the room and cabinets.

The photos below show what we found after removing the really odd combinations of plaster, lathe, drywall, and wood.  Basically the "beam" is three 2x4s thick, with the topmost 2x4 being the only continuous one.  The middle layer is only spacers, and the bottom one was in three pieces.  The 45 degree support on the right side looked good but on the left side (removed) it wasn't attached to anything, just held in place by the drywall.  The fact that there was drywall on a part of this archway indicates that at some point a modification was made, perhaps removing a part of a wall.  The right side of the structure is clearly supported by a vertical member that sticks out of the wall and transmits the load to the floor, but the left side (which did have a similar arch support) isn't resting on anything.  As the zoom shows, the topmost horizontal 2x4 is nailed into the ceiling joists but is merely wedged against the vertical framing member on the left side.  

The ceiling joists DO run perpendicular to this archway.  My question is basically whether there is anything structural about this or can we remove the visible wood?  I suspect there is nothing structural since as it was, the entire left side is unsupported.  However, we are concerned whether a previous owner made a modification that was not sound.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  Thanks!




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Offline RvB

  • Posts: 225
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2012, 02:34 AM »
Nope.. Please support it quickly..

Rick
ALLREADY GOT: - Domino DF 500Q set - CS70 precisio - Kapex 120 EB set - TSC 55 REBI plus SCA - TS 55 EBQ  - EHL 65EQ - PS 300 EQ - PS 420 EBQ - Vecturo OSC 18 Li -   - OF 1010 EBQ - OFK 500Q R3 - CTL 26 SD E/A - CTL Midi - CTL MIDI I - DTS 400 EQ - ROTEX 150 FEQ - ROTEX 90 EQ - T 18+3 -  CXS Li 1,5 set x2 - FS 1400/2 x3 - FS 1400/2 - FS 2700/2 - FS 3000/2 - FS 800/2 - FS Bag

D 36 HW RS craftsman cleaning kit - D27/D36 portable cleaning kit - RO90 & DTS 400 abrasive sys - carpenter sys - Fein supercut sys - homemade drills&drivers sys - nailguns sys5 - SYS-ToolBox1 x 2 - SYS-ToolBox2 x 2 - Sys-StorageBox - SYS-CART RB-SYS

WORKIN' REALLY HARD FOR: ETS 150/3 - one extra DTS 400,one extra cxs, PSC 420 eq, centrotec sys, T18+3 PDC18/4, BHC 18.

Offline Holzhacker

  • Posts: 926
    • www.aic-chicago.com
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2012, 03:10 AM »
Is what's there structural? Realistically, No. What did the plaster look like before you removed it? Was it severely cracked, showing signs of movement etc? Whether this needs to be structural depends. Is there a 2nd floor above that ceiling or just an attic or a roof, what size are the ceiling joists, what's the span? If there is actual load above then most likely you will need to put in a beam. If there is no real load above, ceiling and roof framing may be sufficient. Hard to say without a few more details.
"The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7652
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2012, 03:11 AM »
You can detect load buy applying some upward pressure with you hands ... you'll be able to detect deflection visibly and the effort you apply to create it will give you a good/bad feeling.

Are you able to get into the space above or is there a floor upstairs? ... If there's a floor upstairs, get someone to walk above while you perform the test I mentioned before.

On appearance I'd say it's cosmetic support ... but without seeing the rest of the place I wouldn't take risks assuming so.

If you have any doubts - get an engineer in.

Kev.

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 506
    • www.savatteridesigns.com
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2012, 03:23 AM »
Hi all,

Disclaimer:  There are no Festools involved in this post.

We did a kitchen remodel/facelift a while back but left the finishing touches until now.  One issue was an odd archway that divided the long kitchen in half (the original 1930 home probably had two rooms separated by a wall or half wall) and made hanging our cabinets difficult.  We were on a time crunch at the time and didn't bother dealing with it.  We finally decided to go ahead and tackle the archway and see whether it is structural and whether it could be removed as we finish painting and trimming the room and cabinets.

The photos below show what we found after removing the really odd combinations of plaster, lathe, drywall, and wood.  Basically the "beam" is three 2x4s thick, with the topmost 2x4 being the only continuous one.  The middle layer is only spacers, and the bottom one was in three pieces.  The 45 degree support on the right side looked good but on the left side (removed) it wasn't attached to anything, just held in place by the drywall.  The fact that there was drywall on a part of this archway indicates that at some point a modification was made, perhaps removing a part of a wall.  The right side of the structure is clearly supported by a vertical member that sticks out of the wall and transmits the load to the floor, but the left side (which did have a similar arch support) isn't resting on anything.  As the zoom shows, the topmost horizontal 2x4 is nailed into the ceiling joists but is merely wedged against the vertical framing member on the left side.  

The ceiling joists DO run perpendicular to this archway.  My question is basically whether there is anything structural about this or can we remove the visible wood?  I suspect there is nothing structural since as it was, the entire left side is unsupported.  However, we are concerned whether a previous owner made a modification that was not sound.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  Thanks!


I don't want to seem to be an alarmist, but by all appearances you have a situation there that you need to be very concerned about - primarily for the safety of your family.
You have what appears to be a combination of a compound of errors, by the previous owners and yourself.
If the ceiling joists run perpendicular to the archway and if that one room was once two, I see no evidence of a structual remedy to accommodate the open space you now have.
You live in California, we have strict codes in place to deal with such modifications especially since we are in an area that could have an earthquake at any moment, even one that would register low on the "richter scale" would not be a happy moment.

For argument sake let's say you did indeed have two rooms that had a bearing wall which hold the joists on either side of that archway, and the ceiling joists  are not spanning the two rooms as one run but indeed do meet at that prior division of the two rooms. Thus you have two membranes that hold everything in check without a support system in the middle.


This is a very scary situation.

My immediate suggestion is to temporally run some supports (4 by 4 posts) in the middle of the room.
Open up the drywall ceiling on either side of the old archway in order to have a clear view and have a licensed structual engineer make the structual remedies you need to follow.

And pronto!

.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 03:34 AM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline RvB

  • Posts: 225
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2012, 03:38 AM »
My immediate suggestion is to temporally run some supports in the middle of the room.
Open up the drywall ceiling on either side of the old archway in order to have a clear view and have a licensed structual engineer make the structual remedies you need to follow.

My idea also!! Safety first! Good comment abou the earthquake
also!! I live in The Netherlands, so practicly no earthquake here.
But please, be safe, support it, open the sealing up, and find out
whats up there.. Cuz is doesnt look good at all..

Rick
ALLREADY GOT: - Domino DF 500Q set - CS70 precisio - Kapex 120 EB set - TSC 55 REBI plus SCA - TS 55 EBQ  - EHL 65EQ - PS 300 EQ - PS 420 EBQ - Vecturo OSC 18 Li -   - OF 1010 EBQ - OFK 500Q R3 - CTL 26 SD E/A - CTL Midi - CTL MIDI I - DTS 400 EQ - ROTEX 150 FEQ - ROTEX 90 EQ - T 18+3 -  CXS Li 1,5 set x2 - FS 1400/2 x3 - FS 1400/2 - FS 2700/2 - FS 3000/2 - FS 800/2 - FS Bag

D 36 HW RS craftsman cleaning kit - D27/D36 portable cleaning kit - RO90 & DTS 400 abrasive sys - carpenter sys - Fein supercut sys - homemade drills&drivers sys - nailguns sys5 - SYS-ToolBox1 x 2 - SYS-ToolBox2 x 2 - Sys-StorageBox - SYS-CART RB-SYS

WORKIN' REALLY HARD FOR: ETS 150/3 - one extra DTS 400,one extra cxs, PSC 420 eq, centrotec sys, T18+3 PDC18/4, BHC 18.

Offline jmbfestool

  • Posts: 6628
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2012, 06:27 AM »
How long has it been like that for?  If it's been like that for a while I wouldn't go out rushing to support it as it has clearly held up and you have I assume given it some hammer to remove the plaster and it's still holding.

Like others have said whats above it if it's just a ceiling (loft) you don't store anything above it or is it another floor does it have any load bearing. etc.

If it is a loft and has no load above and you want to remove the arch "support" I would go up in the loft (make sure you do prop the ceiling if you are working above though)  and do all the structural work above  ie you can bolt timbers together to tie them together or stick a beam along and joist hangers or somthing like that.   This will save the ugly appearance of a bulk head below if you was to stick a beam to support it.

I gotta say though it alsmot one of the worst supports I've seen! Looks terrible.


Jmb
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Offline wooden

  • Posts: 319
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2012, 09:06 AM »
As others have said, doubtful that wall is load bearing.

The way to know if that wall is load bearing or not is to know what the ceiling joists are and what the ceiling joists support.  For example, 2x6 ceiling joists spanning 25 feet and that are part of an engineered roof truss holding up composite shingle roof - probabaly only the outside walls are load bearing. 

The ceiling joists combined with what they are holding up will determine which walls underneath are load bearing.


All walls are structural.  The existence of a wall pretty much defines a part of a structure.


Offline lambeater

  • Posts: 481
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2012, 09:13 AM »
Could of been a wall arch entrance but not sure. If in reall doubt call Mike Holmes for advice. He is Canadian and knows ALOT! [scared] But on a serious note it may also be worth inspectind the ceiling above also.
thx
Lambeater

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6130
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2012, 09:20 AM »
In the first picture there appears to be a skylight tunnel. I Most likely attic space above the kitchen.

If you cannot get above this area, cut a small hole in the drywall next to the 2x4 on the ceiling. If there is no joint over the member this is most probably a decorative detail added at some point in time.

In the last picture it also appears as if the finished ceiling runs over the 2 by.

Your back is most likely to an outside wall, from the perspective of the picture. The bearing walls are the one just past the skylight and the one your back is to. If you have 2x6 ceiling joists and the span is 12' or less just about any lumber would do. If it is more than 12' with the modern grading system they would need to be doug fir. Back then the lumber was better and they may be a true 2x6, so I would not worry about it.

For colors I would go with the main wall color the lighter of the 2 you have on the right wall in the first picture. For trim color the middle on. Make sure the bulbs in your track are 6500k, they will bring more of the red out in the cabinets.

Tom

Offline Deansocial

  • Posts: 2114
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2012, 10:50 AM »
id rip it out, doesn't look like support to me. looks like its been like that for a while so hardly going to suddenly fall down.

recent job had a steel in an opening which had a big bend in it sideways. The inspector said he wanted an engineer to look at it which we questioned. he asked why we questioned it because he thought it was potentially unsafe. we explained that the bent steel was bent in the 40's when a train hit it so if it is unsafe why hasn't it fallen down yet?

Offline Scott_W

  • Posts: 54
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2012, 11:20 AM »
From the way it is framed, that adds no structural support. But framing from YEARS ago was quite scary. Most likely the house is what they call "balloon framed" in this instance the load bear for the most part is on the exterior walls. That being said, by todays codes, they were generally over spanned.

The only real way to see what is going on, is you need to see what is above AND below it.

scott

Offline Swingman

  • Posts: 21
  • General Contractor & Cabinetmaker
    • eWoodShop ~ Custom Cabinetry & Fine Furniture
Re: Help! Is this at all structural?
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2012, 12:55 PM »
The proper question would have been to ask if it was load bearing (it certainly is not now, if it ever was). BTW, is that a downward bow in the ceiling, or is that just camera distortion?

There are really only two approaches to handle the situation as depicted:

If the house is yours, take the advice based on photographic evidence given in the thread as gospel, and the results of your own investigation as to the span of the joists above, and proceed in the direction you feel qualified to take with regard to any future risk.

If the house belongs to a client, be aware that only someone looking to risk everything he owns would not immediately seek a definitive answer from a Professional Engineer. The approximate cost of +/- $300, in most places, could turn out to be money well spent, and the cheapest part of the deal.
Karl Caillouet
http://ewoodshop.com