powered by
Discussions
Photos
Products
Ideabooks
Discussions
Professionals
Users
Is this supporting.
Kristi Galloway
February 6, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I have a beam in my kitchen and I'm about to but the whole thing! I just don't know who to ask or how to tell if it supporting. Please don't judge my scary electrical my grandfather thought he knew what he was doing!!
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
mandylou33
A beam that size? Assume it is support. Get a builder in before you do anything!
I had one of these on almost the same spot. We boxed it, painted it - it actually looks quite good. Let me know of you want pics - happy to post them :)
February 6, 2013 at 10:22PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Franks Home Maintenance
As Mandy says always assume it is load bearing until you know for sure. If it is, in most cases, you can remove the drywall ceiling and recess the beam then use joist hangers to carry the ceiling load.
February 6, 2013 at 10:27PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Dytecture
I agree it looks like a supporting beam. Open up the underside of this beam and see how it is constructed.
February 7, 2013 at 8:17AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
sandkshouse
Looks like a support beam to me too. Does this run down the middle of the house? That will be a clue. Also, if you have a 2 story house, what's directly above this beam on the second floor? If it's a wall, chances are it is a load bearing beam.
February 7, 2013 at 8:24AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Marilyn Wilkie
Which direction does the peak of your roof run? If it is the same direction then most likely it is a supporting beam. Our carpenter was able to remove a wall between our kitchen and living room and actually tuck the beam up above the ceiling so there is no visible beam anymore.
February 7, 2013 at 8:27AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Urbana ~ Designer Ellen Crystal
see how that big beam is supported by post in area you've removed drywall... That means it is structure. Don't take it out. Work with it. It defines your area & will be very expensive to remove. This is question for an engineer or reputable builder... not a DIY job!
February 7, 2013 at 8:28AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Marilyn Wilkie
My question is, where is the rest of the beam that should be traveling to the left (and right)? Why does it just end there? Very strange. Maybe you should ask a professional carpenter about this.
February 7, 2013 at 8:40AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
BeautifulRemodel.com
Hi Kristi,

I'm a licensed general contractor and agree with the others that this looks like a load-bearing beam. Beams are relatively expensive and tricky to install, so its unlikely this was added for decoration. (Building a box beam for decoration is faster and less expensive)

Contact a local structural engineer or qualified licensed GC and ask them what they would charge for an evaluation. (If's part of a remodeling project we do evaluations for free)

If they know what they're doing, it will be quite easy to determine whether its bearing or not, If they cannot get access to the space above, then they can cut several holes to see what load is sitting on this.

Btw, it is a bit odd that this beam is only supported by two 2x4's (at one of the ends). If thats the only support on that end then it isn't carrying much load. Is the rest of that wall made of block or stone?
- Steve
February 7, 2013 at 8:43AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Marilyn Wilkie
I think BeautifulRemodel has hit on what is going on here. I believe that it is a decorative beam and the actual structural beam is above the ceiling above this opening.
February 7, 2013 at 8:48AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Ironwood Builders
I believe the beam is load bearing. It was installed to open the kitchen to another room. Our construction framing practices have changed over the years and modern techniques of supporting loads have been informed by the mistakes of the past. Flush framing that beam MAY be a possibility. The size of any beam is determined by load and span. That means a beam at 3 1/2" wide may need to be taller than the joisting coming into it to carry the loads. Depending on your location, a structural engineer makes that call. In other areas, more loosely regulated, the beam may be sized by the builders supply that is selling it. There are many different types of load bearing beams...solid lumber, glulams, parallams, LVL, LSL, timberstrand. All have particular applications and price points. Call your local builders supply and ask how they determine beam sizes. They will punt to a licensed structural engineer if it is required in your area. If you decide to stay with this beam, I would suggest some additional supports. Cripples, the short 2X that are under the beam, need to be tripled for your span and a king stud, one that goes from bottom plate to top plate and is heavily nailed to all the cripples and to the end of the beam is necessary to prevent rolling.
February 7, 2013 at 9:17AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
BeautifulRemodel.com
To add to Ironwood's great additional points, please note that you will not be able to "pocket" the beam (bring it flush with the ceiling joists) unless you have a gable end at the window wall. If instead you have a sloped roof that starts over that window wall, then the beam will be too tall to fit at above the plate at the exterior.

- Steve
February 7, 2013 at 9:24AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Jayme H.
Agree this is load bearing....have had one put in...follow recommendations from the professionals...not easily removed. And I would get that wire looked at and done properly...wire moulding would even be better, would cover it.
February 7, 2013 at 9:26AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
rinqreation
Why do you want to remove it? Why not just paint it and get used to it?
February 7, 2013 at 9:57AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Marilyn Wilkie
Ironwood and Beautiful, how is the structure supported to the left of that 2x4 post that support=s the end of this beam? The beam just ends with air to the left of it. Would there be another post to the left out of sight?
February 7, 2013 at 10:14AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Ironwood Builders
The wall beyond goes up to the top plate and supports the joisting of the floor/ceiling above. The beam was let into the wall. Whether or not the top plate carries across the top of the beam is an unknown, but possible. The top plate (or plates) are horizontal pieces that the studs are nailed to. One at the bottom (bottom plate) two at the top. They are what makes the wall straight.
February 7, 2013 at 10:19AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Marilyn Wilkie
Ironwood, then possibly she could just get rid of the offending beam if it is determined to be just an ornamental beam. That would be something they could find out by opening the wall further at the top. I got my journeyman's card in carpentry in 1980 so I know what the parts of a wall are...not to sound smug.
February 7, 2013 at 10:23AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Ironwood Builders
Of course, this all depends on the age of the house and how it was built. It is possible it was balloon framed with studs that went all the way to the rafters. A ledger is let into the studs and ceiling joists are either set on top of the ledger and toenailed in or toenailed flush to the ledger. Or nailed right to the studs. I can't tell unless there is more demolition done and I see pictures. Any idea when the house was built? That can tell me a lot.
February 7, 2013 at 10:25AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Ironwood Builders
Marilyn, if you have your journeyman's card then you know that decorative beams don't need cripples. Structural support is for structural members. Decorative beams are, and have been for over a century, boxes attached to plates or furring on joists....they hang usually as box beams.
February 7, 2013 at 10:32AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Marilyn Wilkie
I believe the old ballon framing (bad fire hazard) would mainly effect the exterior walls though wouldn't it?
February 7, 2013 at 10:32AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Marilyn Wilkie
You never know who did the construction and had his brother-in-law help. I know my dad and his buddies did some things that would never pass code even back then.
February 7, 2013 at 10:34AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Jayme H.
That post is there for some reason...and it is a strange spot and low...does nothing to enhance..as a decorative should..as in a vaulted area...Is this a one or 2 story home? The beam could end there if it's not a full second story, etc.
February 7, 2013 at 10:36AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Kristi Galloway
The house was built in 1938. The house is 2 story and the beam is to the left of the center of the home. Currently the beam is covered in dry wall. The wall that supports the bean sticks out 32 inches, and the cabinets are 24 inches deep. If the beam is not structural it would be easier to do a cabinet design on that wall.
I question if its structural because there's a gap between the 2x4 and the beam that is shimmed(shown in picture). It is supported by a 2x4 and does not continue to the wall.
February 7, 2013 at 10:55AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Ironwood Builders
Yep. Shimming was and is a way for a bad cut to be used. The load path is still going down through the shim. Structurally we don't allow it on framing...the inspectors don't like it and neither do the engineers. But a house built in 1938, the carpenters likely had none of those government or professional types looking over their shoulders. I've pulled apart walls that by rights shouldn't have supported anything, let alone the weight that they carried. The advice for making this beam work that I gave above still holds. Same with taking it out. The use of that much lumber in a non-load bearing situation is just not done. That it is wrapped with drywall says something...because in 1938, most parts of the country didn't have drywall, they were still on lathe and plaster. I think this beam is a retrofit to open the kitchen to the other areas of the house. An open floor plan. I suspected as much when I saw the kitchen cabinetry on both sides of the beam. Think about 1938, just after the Great Depression...building a house and making the kitchen a focal point of a room? Kitchens were dark and dreary places...women had it bad. So maybe Grandpa was involved in setting the beam just as he was in running the electrical?

Kristi, which way is the ridge of the roof going? If it is in the same direction as the beam there is no doubt it is structural. Oh and Kristy, it might be a good idea to check out what your drywall is made of. Early versions had asbestos added to them and the paint is definitely pre-1975, so it has lead in it. Wear a respirator, OK?

Marilyn, yes balloon framing is usually left for exterior walls and is a fire hazard because there are usually no draft stop blocks. But depending on the age of a building, it was a technique that included interior walls as well, I've demo'd Victorians with joists pocketed into brick exterior walls and interior walls balloon framed with ledgers. Platform framing, that is plates set on the sub-floor did not become popular until the use of plywood for framing, post WWII. The post war building boom in SoCal was a big driver of that innovation. My 1965 ranch in in NorCal still has 2X6 T&G fir sub-floors on 4X6 girders, no plywood. Sorry I got snippy about the card.
February 7, 2013 at 11:37AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Jayme H.
Ok... I didn't know any of that..Thanks Ironwood!
February 7, 2013 at 11:44AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Kristi Galloway
This is the original kitchen. it was not opened up at anytime. My grandparents purchased this house form the original owner who built it. The kitchen was redone in the late 70s (i think) so the dry wall is newer.
February 7, 2013 at 11:57AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Jayme H.
When your grandparents bought it, the big beam was there? When did they purchase it?
February 7, 2013 at 12:00PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Kristi Galloway
I dont know the answer to that.. my grandfather is passed away and my grandmother has alzheimer's so even if she answered I have no way to tell if its true.
February 7, 2013 at 12:03PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Jayme H.
Sorry to hear that...I ask because many kitchens in that era had individual rooms with doors for kitchens...I would have a professional look at it, and go from there...it needs to be looked at in person, and then you can get options. I hope it works out well for you.
February 7, 2013 at 12:08PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Ironwood Builders
Kristi, so sorry about your grandmother and grandfather. My mom has it too. She stopped talking three years ago. You don't look old enough to have been around in the 70's, so who's to say that when the kitchen was remodeled the beam wasn't added and the kitchen opened up? Maybe your parents know? There are a lot of signs that say retrofit to me...but then I'm here and you are there.
February 7, 2013 at 12:45PM   
Sign Up to comment
The content on this page is provided by Houzz and is subject to the Houzz terms of use, copyright and privacy policy.
Copyright claims: contact the Houzz designated agent.