Monday, September 5, 2016

House Update - Support Beam

Once we got the upstairs floors done and the windows and doors trimmed out we took a bit of a break from major construction.  

Our idea of a break is to do massive gardening, thinking, hauling, mulching, more thinking, figure out how to get ductwork  to the upstairs bedrooms so we could all survive the summer, disconnect the ductwork to the front end of the house, install ductwork to the upstairs [yay! a.c.!], more thinking, more hauling, digging, canning, move the master bedroom upstairs to the guest room, move the living room to the old master bedroom including the actual furniture that almost didn't fit through the actual doors, pull up the laminate flooring in the living room, rip off some of the aluminum [!] siding on the front of the house, cut a 'door' in the old front wall of the house, seal up the old hallway to the front room to keep the mess out of the house, gut the old front room, dispose of the debris....

It wasn't much of a break.

Especially since the next part involved mixing, by hand, a ton of concrete.  Not kidding.   Eric is my hero.

The concrete was for two footers and two piers [inside the front section of the house] upon which will rest a load bearing support beam.  Load bearing is a scary thing.   It means it holds the house up.    Hence all the thinking.   This is not something that we want to screw up.

Here's a pic of  Eric in what used to the be the front room.  Piers poured.  He was just getting ready to lay the boards down to build the I-beam that will support the center of the second story.


'But, Robin!   How?..', you ask, 'HOW is the second story staying up now if he's just now building the beam??'  

An excellent question.   There's another beam in the floor of the second story that runs the entire length of the house and it's resting on stuff it needs to rest on.  The second story is safe. Those piers are dead plumb under the upstairs beam.  Once this new beam is in and a support wall between it and the beam above, the house will be EXTRA sound.   We like extra.

Here's a pic of the roof situation in the front of the house.  You're looking straight up into the ceiling of what used to be the front room.  

WARNING!   This pic is confusing.   Also, it's blurry.  Sorry about that.  It was darkish in there.  I've labelled a bunch of stuff and then tried to explain it below.   You can click to biggify the pic.

Explanation:  Start from the top of the pic on the left side.

  • See the new beam?   That beam runs the length of the house.   It's in the floor of the second story.   The new ceiling joists [which are also the floor joists of the upstairs] are on top of that new beam.
  • You can see the plywood decking above the new ceiling joists.   That is the floor decking for the new upstairs.
  • The blue round things are old light fixture innards on the old ceiling joists of the front room.   Notice that the old ceiling is about 2 feet LOWER than the new ceiling is.   [Don't get me started on the ceilings of the old house.]
  • On the right side of the pic you see the Old Roof Decking and the Original Roof Rafters.   Yes. That's part of the original old roof, tucked under the new addition.   Eric stripped the roof when we put the second story on, but only took out the peak of the roof and enough to set the new beam and build over the old stuff.  There were excellent reasons. All that old stuff is about to come out very soon.

I kind of love this picture because it really illustrates the careful thinking and bizarre sequence of events we've had to co-ordinate to live in the house comfortably-ish while doing a major renovation.

Eric is a genius.


  1. Wow!!!! Really complex!!!😳 But you are doing a lovely job...beautiful new rooms with great new/old floors and book cases. A.MAZ.ING.!


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