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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    2

    Default bowed ceiling rafters

    I am thinking of fixing up an old house. The house only has 2X4 rafters and previous owners made a second floor living space above these rafters. Now the 1st floor ceiling, that is 9' high, is bowed down at the points on both sides of the original support wall. Can anyone tell me if it is possible to replace these rafters with 2x6 or 2x8 rafters or if it would be feesible to just add these rafters below the original and tie everything together and still have the small upstairs usable. The house is approx 30'X 34'.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: bowed ceiling rafters

    Quote Originally Posted by scox View Post
    I am thinking of fixing up an old house. The house only has 2X4 rafters and previous owners made a second floor living space above these rafters. Now the 1st floor ceiling, that is 9' high, is bowed down at the points on both sides of the original support wall. Can anyone tell me if it is possible to replace these rafters with 2x6 or 2x8 rafters or if it would be feesible to just add these rafters below the original and tie everything together and still have the small upstairs usable. The house is approx 30'X 34'.
    2X6s will not solve the problem, neither will 2X8s.
    My thinking that 2X10s sistered to the existing 2X4s, if you have a load bearing wall in the center of the first floor is the route to take.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: bowed ceiling rafters

    Or LDLs, I-Beams.
    Time to talk to an engineer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: bowed ceiling rafters

    Thanks Ernie and Unregistered for your responses. I really appreciate your advise.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: bowed ceiling rafters

    Quote Originally Posted by unregisteredto View Post
    ***, this is good example of people who do something they don't know what they're doing. It's hard to believe the second floor didn't come crashing down on someone.You're probably going to find all kinds of other things like plumbing issues and electrical if they had done something that scary.
    Those 2x4 ceiling joists are barely enough to support the ceiling and besides they are also collar ties that keep the outside walls from falling outward and the roof from collapsing.

    I totally agree with Ernie.

    If they are bowed to much when you put in the correct size then bottoms of the joists won't be the same , the 2x4's will be lower at the points where they are bowed.
    I think you might need to remove the 2x4's one at a time and replace them with the right size , like 2x10's
    Ditto.

    This sounds like another one of those misguided remodle projects.

    I would strongly recommend having a professional to check this out as soon as possible before something serious happens.

  6. #6

    Default Re: bowed ceiling rafters

    I had the same prob with my house...but i had 2x6's instead of the 2x4's.....same prob since the span of the room was 18'.

    I didn't want to tear the ceiling out and consulted with a local, who has faced this sitch many times. What he did was add beams beneath the existing ceiling. Obviously - running opposite of the ceiling joist. I was able to get by with two, but you may want to shorten the distance between them given the 2x4's.

    We removed the wall boards - ran amble supports for the beams in the walls - straight through the floor and secured the supports on the main house beams underneath.

    The cross beams for the ceiling support are actually two 2x10's sandwiched with a peice of 3/8" thick 8" steel plating. Plating is drilled for carriage bolts, staggered every 12". It's a heavy beam obviously due to the plating, but very very strong. He also refused to use any prefab hangers due to the weight of the beam and weight it was carrying for the upstairs - so he had the end supports made of steal plate also and bolted them in place.

    They jacked the ceiling up - hung the beams and on to next project.

    Once we finish with the casing they will actually look great and solve the prob.....my ceiling had close to a 3" drop. Next room is the kitchen.

    (FYI - once you rip out the wall covering i am sure you will find that the stud spacing is less than desirable. While the wall covering was out i had them add double the studs for piece of mind.)

    The Carpenter I used has been doing this for years - he consults with an engineer then add's a little to the width of the steel for piece of mind. Many have said the width of the plating is overkill - - but it's good knowing for a few extra bucks at the metal shop you are done!

    What you will find (at least in my case) is that the beams actually may be helping carry the weight of the roof - not just the added living space upstairs. If your house is like mine - they probably just tore out walls in the upstairs and added new ones in teh middle of the floor (right above your downstair ceiling prob).

    WARNING - if your house foundation is on beam - make sure you do not merely run the supports to the floor. Crawl underneath and see what's underneath for support. The prior owner added what he thought was a support wall, but had no clue as to what he was doing. All he did was add a wall that was sitting on floor boards. Once we cut thru the floor, i got lucky and the beam supports were all directly over foundation piers.

    I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not. If you decide to add 2x10's in place of the existing joists - get ready. You will rip out the ceiling - also will have to rip out the walls anyway since these new joist will have to ride on top of the wall plates to get benefit of the 10" width....this means you will have to rebuild a top-plate.

    The second solution - is exposing the ceiling/joist...jack it up to level....and insert steal plating along side (bolted) the existing joist and sandwich them with another 2x4....will cost you though using that many steel plates in 3/8" x 4"....but you will be able to park your car up there.

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