After a day of prep and getting the temporary support walls built, I was ready to set the first of two beams. These will hold up the roof and the ceiling joists once I remove the wall currently running through the middle of the new master bedroom.
In this case, there is not much weight to support. The joists are only there to hold up insulation and drywall. The roof is no longer really “the roof.” It’s an underframe remnant from the original footprint of the house as it was built in 1956. When the master bedroom was added on, they “overframed” the new roof (this is called a California-framed roof, I guess because it’s quite common out here), so the weight is really minimal.
The engineer specified a 3-1/2-in x 9-1/4-in PSL (parallel strand lumber) These go by the trade name Parallam but PSL is the generic type of beam. You can get all kinds of useful information from the Weyerhaeuser website.
I’ve done this dance a few times and have learned some tricks: First, give yourself plenty of space. A lot of times, temp walls are so close to the area needed to work that there is no space to maneuver. I like to have 18-to 24-inches on either side of the wall, so I have a wide 3- to 4-foot work area. Second, get your beams inside the temporary walls before you build them. There is nothing worse than not being able to get the beam where it needs to go because you have built a temporary wall that is in the way. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)
Once I had everything ready, I could start the removal of the partition wall.
Since I am working alone most of the time, I have to improvise ways to accomplish some of these tasks. For instance: How do you set a beam by yourself? Fortunately, these PSLs aren’t that heavy. I can easily pick up one end of them at a time, so I just had to work end-to-end. A couple of 6-foot step ladders got me off the ground — literally.
I already have the beam pocket and all the cuts for the joists and rafters made, so the beam should slip right into place. I just shouldered it up about 6 inches at a time and braced it with temporary support posts at each interval. With all the demolition, we have no shortage of lumber to cut up for this kind of improvisation. And since it’s all going into the dumpster, it makes no difference if it’s all cut up.
I only needed to make a couple minor relief cuts to alleviate binding as it slid into place. All-in-all, the process was seamless.
I finished this in the dark, so no detail photos tonight. I’m hoping to post again tomorrow with a few more thoughts on this aspect of the project.
Thanks for reading…