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Building Homes or Extensions/Ceiling joist / rafter support



I have a stick framed house that we are remodeling; I estimate it was built in the late 1940's or 1950's.  Construction is pier and beam, 2x4 wall studs, ceiling joists, and rafters - all on 24" centers.

The area I am concerned is 26' wide by 20' long, and it comprises the living room, kitchen and dining area.  The walls and ceiling are 1x6 tongue and groove - this will eventually be covered with 1/2" drywall.  There is currently a load bearing wall about 10' in length that supports the ceiling joists about midpoint, but I want to remove the majority of this wall.  There is also some type of double 2x12 header / strongback currently in place above the section where there is no supporting wall, but it doesn't span the entire distance and I'm not really sure what it's purpose was.  My questions are how to support the ceiling, and the roof above as there are no proper supports for it either.

I'm tentatively proposing installing a glulam or LVL 20' in length, parallel to and directly under the ridge of the roof.  This would be supported by multiple solid studs in the walls at the ends, then down to the ground with concrete blocking and pads (the entire house is on pads and blocks - no footings or piers).

I would then jack up the ceiling joists if necessary, support the ceiling joists from above with strapping to the beam, and brace vertically from the beam to the underside of the ridge every 4', or every other rafter.

I'm also concerned with the span on either side of this proposed beam in the center - I thought of sistering 2x8's to each 2x4 joist, which should be adequate for the span of 13'.  However, I would like to brace the rafters at least midway of their length - could they be braced down to the new joists, or could a strongback be installed on top of the joists to brace to?

At this point, I'm not looking for a fully engineered solution, but I would like to make it better than it currently is.  I'm not sure what size to make the main beam, or if I should place secondary beams on either side for the roof bracing.

Any advice would be appreciated!



Hi Andy, yes adding a ridge beam will help support the roof system and allow you to support the mid span of your ceiling joists as well..and yes if you beef up your ceiling joists you can run a vertical post or "web" from the rafter to the new joist.  Another option would be to run two more parallel beams mid span, similar to the ridge beam and half way between the ridge beam and the outside walls.  Again, you can use it to support your rafters and strap your joists to it.  There are also some homemade truss designs available, which, if you have good access, you can use the existing 2x4 framing to support itself by adding gussets and webs between the rafters and the ceiling joists. Sincerely Bruce Johnson

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Bruce E. Johnson


I can answer any construction related question in regards to carpentry, concrete, drywall, masonry, structural elements of any type of building, residential or commercial. Interior or exterior.


Custom Commercial and residential buildings. Churches, theaters, schools and auditoriums. Most recently I am working with the Catholic Church on several design build committees. I have a website related to scheduling and project supervision. Although my expertise is more related to multimillion dollar commercial, educational and theatrical projects my generous credentials in residential and remodelling construction make me a viable source of information regarding all forms of building questions.

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