(Topic ID: 292811)

Any structural engineers?


By Pickle

10 days ago

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    #1 10 days ago

    Looking for anyone that may be able to help me determine if these columns are load bearing. Here is a link to my floor plan but it doesn’t indicate.
    We don’t really use our dining area so we are thinking of getting a pool table. With the columns an 8ft pool table will fit bit only if you play with 48” sticks so no good. But if I can remove the columns I can turn the the table and an 8ft table works perfect. I looked in the attic and about where the columns are is where the AC is so not sure as they could be load bearing. Any help?

    http://www.newhomepreview.com/build-directory/ewExternalFiles/322FP.pdf

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    #2 10 days ago

    You really need a structural engineer to inspect them in person.

    They don't look it. But no way of knowing what is inside of them.

    LTG : )

    #3 10 days ago

    Yeah they are big on the outside and pretty hollow when you tap but don’t know how solid they are inside. Gonna see if the builder will disclose as they should know. But sometimes they won’t help you at all.

    #4 10 days ago

    Probably.

    Notice how they are directly down the center of the house in a wide open space.

    What kind of beams can you see in the ceiling/attic? Regular wood beams or engineered beams? (engineered beams look like steel I-beams you typically see in large multi-story commercial buildings, but in this case, they're made of wood).

    I'm not in construction by trade, but I've been around it enough to get a general sense of some things, so this is my best guess.

    I don't think any designer or architect would purposefully stick columns out in the middle of nowhere unless they had to be there. A lot of newer homes tend to favor more of an open floor plan, but the tradeoff is fewer places you can hide load bearing supports. However, I'd guess those columns are mostly hollow and there's really just a 4x4 or maybe a 6x6 in the center of each column. Since the column is so large, and given that there's a wall plate and likely a gang box on one column, I'd bet on a 6x6.

    Worst case scenario, you might be able to shave off about 4-6" by removing the outer covering of the columns & re-frame it right up against the inner support post.

    I've heard of situations where you *might* be able to get rid of a supporting wall/post by using a long spanning steel beam. Although, I don't know enough about the specifics of that to be able to say if it's possible in this situation.

    In any case, if you drill a large enough hole somewhere in the column, that should be able to give you a look inside. If it's load supporting, you will probably see something in the center. If you only see framing for the shell of the column, then there's a good chance that it might not be load bearing. But, I'd highly recommend talking to a professional to be absolutely sure.

    #5 10 days ago

    If I had to guess i would say

    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Probably.
    Notice how they are directly down the center of the house in a wide open space.
    What kind of beams can you see in the ceiling/attic? Regular wood beams or engineered beams? (engineered beams look like steel I-beams you typically see in large multi-story commercial buildings, but in this case, they're made of wood).
    I'm not in construction by trade, but I've been around it enough to get a general sense of some things, so this is my best guess.
    I don't think any designer or architect would purposefully stick columns out in the middle of nowhere unless they had to be there. A lot of newer homes tend to favor more of an open floor plan, but the tradeoff is fewer places you can hide load bearing supports. However, I'd guess those columns are mostly hollow and there's really just a 4x4 or maybe a 6x6 in the center of each column. Since the column is so large, and given that there's a wall plate and likely a gang box on one column, I'd bet on a 6x6.
    Worst case scenario, you might be able to shave off about 4-6" by removing the outer covering of the columns & re-frame it right up against the inner support post.
    I've heard of situations where you *might* be able to get rid of a supporting wall/post by using a long spanning steel beam. Although, I don't know enough about the specifics of that to be able to say if it's possible in this situation.
    In any case, if you drill a large enough hole somewhere in the column, that should be able to give you a look inside. If it's load supporting, you will probably see something in the center. If you only see framing for the shell of the column, then there's a good chance that it might not be load bearing. But, I'd highly recommend talking to a professional to be absolutely sure.

    I am sure it is a 6X6 in there especially if it is load-bearing.

    Can you get into the attic and see what is above it? If there is a large truss above it then you are screwed. If not, you are probably safe.

    #6 10 days ago

    Definitely structural, going to need a LVL or steel i-beam for the span. You need to have an engineer inspect and draw this up for you.

    #7 10 days ago
    Quoted from woody76:

    If I had to guess i would say

    I am sure it is a 6X6 in there especially if it is load-bearing.
    Can you get into the attic and see what is above it? If there is a large truss above it then you are screwed. If not, you are probably safe.

    I think you mean a beam. Trusses are meant to span large distances.

    OP- are you on a slab or do you have a crawl space? If you have a crawl, an easy way to determine if load bearing is if there is a post or structural beam below that area. You can’t have a structural post without the weight being transferred to the ground. Also are you able to repair drywall easy? You can use a hole saw and drill a hole to peek inside and then use a little wood backer and you can use the same piece to patch back in.

    #8 10 days ago

    Concrete slab so no crawl space underneath.

    May have an answer from my neighborhood group....a couple people have confirmed they are load bearing.

    Appreciate the responses and suggestions. I have a plan B for a pool table so may have to go that route.

    Thanks!!!

    #9 10 days ago

    If newer home contact the original builder of the house and see if he still has a copy of the blueprints which should include a structural page columns usually indicate there point loading something (you mentioned attic a/c unit) and house is on a slab so there should be a spread footing underneath to help support the load as the slab itself is insufficient to bare interior weight on and as former master residential carpenter of custom homes anything you want is possible but let your wallet be your guide

    #10 10 days ago

    Use a stud finder? Metal detector for determining if steel?

    #11 10 days ago
    Quoted from dhard:

    If newer home contact the original builder of the house and see if he still has a copy of the blueprints which should include a structural page columns usually indicate there point loading something (you mentioned attic a/c unit) and house is on a slab so there should be a spread footing underneath to help support the load as the slab itself is insufficient to bare interior weight on and as former master residential carpenter of custom homes anything you want is possible but let your wallet be your guide

    Yes- you need the foundation and structural framing drawings if you can get them to confirm. From the looks of it - I’d say you have steel pipe columns inside supporting steel wide flange members (I beams) Your wood framing is supported off that. (My guess only. Need to verify ). If you can get in the ceiling area you should be able to check?

    #12 10 days ago

    With another wall so close you’d think they wouldn’t have to be there but yet they may be there for a reason. That being said I’d guess the one on the left is there for a reason especially because it’s more intrusive to what appears to be a hallway. Second one with electrical might have been to balance the other out.

    Can’t tell from pics to be certain.

    #13 10 days ago

    Sounds like it’s probably solved. I would question why else they would put 2 beams there like that for any other reason than to bear load.

    #14 10 days ago
    Quoted from dhard:

    If newer home contact the original builder of the house and see if he still has a copy of the blueprints which should include a structural page columns usually indicate there point loading something (you mentioned attic a/c unit) and house is on a slab so there should be a spread footing underneath to help support the load as the slab itself is insufficient to bare interior weight on and as former master residential carpenter of custom homes anything you want is possible but let your wallet be your guide

    There is a roughly 10’ X 10’ stricture in the attic the AC sits on and of course the AC is positioned right about where the columns are.

    Gonna see if the builder will tell me if they are load bearing. I suspect they are but with another wall so close I can’t be certain. Definitely need the structural detail.

    #15 10 days ago

    If there’s no second floor then there’s a chance they’re not very structurally important. Usually roofs are supported by the exterior walls if you have trusses and a straight forward roof, if your roof has hips and valleys then there’s a good chance they’re needed. I’d be very concerned about the weight of the A/C unit. They’re more likely in place to support that weight, if so can you move the A/C unit?

    Everything can be changed. If they’re load bearing then you’d have to. Put in a steel I beam and transfer the load to the exterior walls. This would need an engineer to design, but it’s not impossible. We have a house built in the 50’s with a second floor and had the main load bearing wall removed to open up the main floor. It’s possible, but don’t expect it to be cheap.

    #16 10 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I don't think any designer or architect would purposefully stick columns out in the middle of nowhere unless they had to be there

    This. No way a newer house would normally have 2x random pillars in the middle of the floor if they weren’t needed. These days it’s all about space. (*)

    You’ll find under the decorative dry wall, there’ll be either a timber or steel post in there supporting whatever is above it.

    (*) unless the original owners had them built for decoration because they had something between them .. a large fish tank for example ..

    rd

    10
    #17 10 days ago

    im not an engineer by training but If you knock them down and the roof caves in you know they are load bearing.

    #18 10 days ago

    If they are this is an idiotic way of doing it. There is a wall very close to each of them. Any builder worth a crap would've put a beam in there instead of those god awful things and installing a beam would not be that difficult a task now

    #19 10 days ago

    Zero chance they are decorative only and not load bearing. Having said that, we had a similar situation in our previous house. The posts were there to support a traditional wooden laminate beam. But we hired a local engineering company to do the calculations as to how large of a steel I-beam we would need in order to replace that laminate beam and get rid of the posts. Can’t remember the exact cost, but I think it was less than $10k total (10 years ago however, so probably more today depending on where you live). Still the best money we ever spent at that house.

    #20 10 days ago
    Quoted from Pinzap:

    Zero chance they are decorative only and not load bearing. Having said that, we had a similar situation in our previous house. The posts were there to support a traditional wooden laminate beam. But we hired a local engineering company to do the calculations as to how large of a steel I-beam we would need in order to replace that laminate beam and get rid of the posts. Can’t remember the exact cost, but I think it was less than $10k total (10 years ago however, so probably more today depending on where you live). Still the best money we ever spent at that house.

    Sounds about right, I know 2 people who have done this fairly recently and it was $10-$15k.

    #21 10 days ago

    Regardless of what is posted here you absolutely need to have a PE (Professional Engineer) look at it in person and tell you what is going on. (There is NO WAY to only look at the photos and a floor plan and tell what is the actual makeup and function of the columns.)

    But I'll chime in for something to do.

    Let's just say that is a very interesting floor plan design. It seems this is a one story home. I am assuming a truss roof system? Pictures of the attic might explain things.

    You mention your AC is above. If those 2 columns are needed for that, I would be shocked-typically the types of systems that require structural supports are chilled water systems with cooling towers usually at large buildings.

    You also mentioned a 10 x 10 structure above. Is there a loft or storage room up there? That could be possible if the truss pitches are steep enough. The dining room is at the center of the home so that could allow for the maximum area above. So the columns might be there to transfer the floor loads from the loft area. (Again guessing)

    If those columns are structural, and there is no loft above, then it is possible they are supporting a girder that in turn supports the trusses. Which even then is odd; the spans based on the floor plan are not that excessive and the columns are very close together with respect to the exterior perimeter. Further, why the columns could not be hidden in the walls is a mystery. The room is not that large.

    Now it is also possible that *only one* of the columns is structural and the other is placed because they thought it would look really ridiculous to have a single unbalanced column in the middle of the floor, so the architect decided to balance it with a second column. (Not that having 2 columns in the middle of a 12 x 13 dining room makes any sense either.)

    Lastly the actual column size is probably much smaller than what we are seeing; it is maybe a 4x4 steel column. (Given the high ceilings, I would be surprised if it the columns are wood, even if the home is wood framed). Then back to the idea of aesthetics-nobody wants to see a 4x4 steel column in the middle of the room, so they frame it out to make it look substantial and match the surroundings.

    To beat a dead horse, I am just guessing since I really cannot figure out why the floor plan is designed like that. (Everybody in the thread is guessing)

    Anyway, I'll close with what I said above-you absolutely need to have a PE look at this in person and tell you what is going on.

    Thanks for providing an interesting diversion to talk about

    Good luck !

    #22 10 days ago

    too ugly not to be structural!

    #23 10 days ago

    Assuming they are structural, you could still work around them - how far will they be from the edge of the table?

    Assuming enough room to walk comfortably between them and the table, I'd consider removing all the framing and doing a nice paint job on the remaining pole. If they're far enough away from the table, the number of shots they will actually interfere with will be minimal (and you could have a short stick handy if needed).

    #24 10 days ago

    I would say by looking at the floorplan they are decorative intended to separate a walkway from the dining area, but you give very little info to come to a proper conclusion. single story, 2 story, basement, crawlspace, slab, roof construction = trusses or stick framed ?

    Put a hole in each one and look inside.

    #25 10 days ago

    Licensed PE here (but I deal with concrete and steel vs wood/home)...

    Not really enough info to know for certain, but my gut says structural because why the hell would you stick those giant columns in the MIDDLE of the room like that if they weren't needed? But to be honest, you need someone to do a full inspection of the house to determine the load transfer mechanism going on in your home.

    Designing a support beam for that would be simple. The install would be the costly part.

    #26 10 days ago

    Whatever municipality your home was built in should have a full set of building prints on file. Call and ask for Code DEPT. See if they have construction blue prints (that were submitted with the building permit) on file for your home.
    Or you could call a structural engineer who will do the same thing but charge you several hundred dollars for what you could have done in less than an hours time for FREE.

    #27 10 days ago
    Quoted from Pickle:

    There is a roughly 10’ X 10’ stricture in the attic the AC sits on and of course the AC is positioned right about where the columns are

    Sounds like you figured it out already.

    #28 10 days ago

    To easy to simply pull a piece of the molding and put a vision hole in to see whats in there. By the placement and what looks like a damper control knob on the column my guess would be HVAC duct drops or vent lines. Oddly close to perimeter walls for supports. Best to inspect or have someone qualified do so. As for the overhead HVAC unit typically under 200 lbs so not a reason to put 12" columns in for that.

    #29 9 days ago

    Been busy at work. Lots of good comments/suggestions so gonna see what I can figure out without having to pay an engineer.

    It’s one story. In the attic they built what I referred to as a structure but more of a deck about 10x10 over the rafters and that is what the AC is sitting on. To me the columns look to break that room off as it is supposed to be a dining room area. The space separated by the columns is the EXACT dimensions recommended for an 8ft pool table if you play with 48” cues LOL. Now granted 70% of the shots you could use a longer cue but you would be grabbing a short cue pretty often so to me the table is still too big. A 7ft table helps but the space is only big enough to accommodate 52” cues.

    Gonna dig a little further into this and will let you know what I find out

    Thanks again for all the suggestions/comments!!!!

    #30 9 days ago

    And for reference the space created by the columns is 15’ 6” x 11’ 10”.
    Without the columns I can easily fit an 8 ft table. It would allow the space to be 15’ 6” x 17’ 9”.

    #31 9 days ago

    Need more info, Do you have a second floor? By the looks of the plan you don't have any stairs, but I can't confirm if you have an apartment above or not.
    You just need to know how the ceiling joists are located in order to determine structural columns or not. Do you have a second floor plan or a roof joist plan handy?

    #32 9 days ago
    Quoted from Berserk:

    Need more info, Do you have a second floor? By the looks of the plan you don't have any stairs, but I can't confirm if you have an apartment above or not.
    You just need to know how the ceiling joists are located in order to determine structural columns or not. Do you have a second floor plan or a roof joist plan handy?

    It’s a 1 story house. I don’t have a floor plan handy. Not sure if these pictures help. It’s foam insulation up there so not really much to see unless you know what you are looking for. From the attic opening looking down to the floor is the entryway to the dining area where the columns are.

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    #33 9 days ago

    So curiosity got the better of me and I drilled a hole in each column. They are hollow stuck a 16” length of wire in there and I can hit both sides of the column. Stuck a long screwdriver in there as well and they are hollow. The corners are solid but I am guessing that is just the frame to hang the sheet rock. May be in good shape after all....

    #34 9 days ago
    Quoted from Pickle:

    So curiosity got the better of me and I drilled a hole in each column. They are hollow stuck a 16” length of wire in there and I can hit both sides of the column. Stuck a long screwdriver in there as well and they are hollow. The corners are solid but I am guessing that is just the frame to hang the sheet rock. May be in good shape after all....

    Great news. Now the next potential problems. I think I saw an outlet on one of the columns so there is electric that will need to be removed (easy). The other issue is if there’s flooring under there so you don’t have to repair the two spots (hard and or expensive)

    #35 9 days ago

    Yeah...that’s the next problem to solve. Don’t care about the electric in the column. We had the floors installed a year ago so I know the floor has to be fixed. I have 2 boxes left...I am sure a good flooring guy knows a couple tricks to fix it. If it can be done for a reasonable cost these columns are outta here.

    #36 9 days ago

    Holy crapola! The attic. Were the builders/electricians serious? I bet at least one of those columns hide electrical or plumbing. EZ solution for them.

    #37 9 days ago

    It's hard to say from the pictures you provided, I don't really see a beam per-se so I can't say for certain it is structural or not.

    If the columns are hollow you should be good, but make sure they are 100% hollow... usually what you will see is that there will be a 2 or 3 inch post inside, so judging by the size of the size of the column there is a possibility you might have missed the post. Since you already made the hole, might as well make it slightly bigger and check with a flashlight. If you see an ugly metal post like in the picture below, sorry to say that would be a structural column. Columns will hold up the beam and the joists above will run perpendicular to that beam (just like in the picture).

    @building-materials-basement-lally-columns-ht4w1280-600x338 (resized).jpg
    #38 9 days ago
    Quoted from Berserk:

    It's hard to say from the pictures you provided, I don't really see a beam per-se so I can't say for certain it is structural or not.
    If the columns are hollow you should be good, but make sure they are 100% hollow... usually what you will see is that there will be a 2 or 3 inch post inside, so judging by the size of the size of the column there is a possibility you might have missed the post. Since you already made the hole, might as well make it slightly bigger and check with a flashlight. If you see an ugly metal post like in the picture below, sorry to say that would be a structural column. Columns will hold up the beam and the joists above will run perpendicular to that beam (just like in the picture).
    [quoted image]

    I stuck a 16” screwdriver in there and moved it side to side....if there was a beam I would have hit it. Drilled a bigger hole and 2x4’s for the frame and sheet rock is all I see.

    #39 9 days ago

    Do you have any closeup shots of the area directly above the columns? Your attic shots are all over the place.

    Note: Without a licensed PE or construction plans of your house, you probably still don't want to get over zealous.

    #40 9 days ago
    Quoted from nicoga3000:

    Do you have any closeup shots of the area directly above the columns? Your attic shots are all over the place.
    Note: Without a licensed PE or construction plans of your house, you probably still don't want to get over zealous.

    I am definitely gonna get it checked out by a qualified person to be 100% certain but I have confirmed they are both hollow. They are just 2x4 fames in the corners with sheet rock. If this was load bearing I would have expected to find at minimum a 4x4 post or a metal post. I am confident it is worth pursuing at this point so will let everyone know how it turns out...may be a month or so.

    #41 9 days ago
    Quoted from Pickle:

    I am definitely gonna get it checked out by a qualified person to be 100% certain but I have confirmed they are both hollow. They are just 2x4 fames in the corners with sheet rock. If this was load bearing I would have expected to find at minimum a 4x4 post or a metal post. I am confident it is worth pursuing at this point so will let everyone know how it turns out...may be a month or so.

    I think you are probably home free on the posts, but being that I remodel houses, I can’t stop wondering why is the ceiling joist tipping in this pic. That would bug the shit out of me. Actually, it is bugging the shit out of me lol

    7B3888E2-03A2-458E-82D4-09A8D98AC640 (resized).jpeg
    #42 9 days ago

    Good eye...I will go and take a look at that tomorrow....not shocked. They throw homes up so fast. It’s scary to think about what is really hiding behind the sheet rock of most homes LOL!

    #43 9 days ago
    Quoted from Pickle:

    Good eye...I will go and take a look at that tomorrow....not shocked. They throw homes up so fast. It’s scary to think about what is really hiding behind the sheet rock of most homes LOL!

    It might be nothing. I’ve seen some pretty twisted boards before so the other end of it could be sitting straight up like it should be. As long as there’s not some lateral force pushing it over, it’s probably fine. If it really bothers you, you could always nail a 2x across the top of a few of the joists to lock it together with the others and prevent further tipping.

    #44 9 days ago
    Quoted from JayDee:

    I can’t stop wondering why is the ceiling joist tipping in this pic.

    It’s not. Someone’s just cut off the overlap poorly with a circular saw when they put that step there.

    You can see the grain in the timber is straight.

    rd

    #45 9 days ago
    Quoted from JayDee:

    I think you are probably home free on the posts, but being that I remodel houses, I can’t stop wondering why is the ceiling joist tipping in this pic. That would bug the shit out of me. Actually, it is bugging the shit out of me lol
    [quoted image]

    There's a lot of crap bugging me in those pics. And from what I see, you can rip those garbage columns out and be fine

    #46 9 days ago
    Quoted from rotordave:It’s not. Someone’s just cut off the overlap poorly with a circular saw when they put that step there.
    You can see the grain in the timber is straight.
    rd

    You might be right. It does look like the end cut is angled up, creating an optical illusion. Good eye

    #47 9 days ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    It’s not. Someone’s just cut off the overlap poorly with a circular saw when they put that step there.
    You can see the grain in the timber is straight.
    rd

    It appears they did it so you wouldn't trip on it. There's a step in front of it.

    I'm wondering who the electrician was. They kinda sucked.

    #48 7 days ago

    Im not a engineer but ive framed about 300 houses give or take and many houses from the ground up. Those are very strange looking. I only ever built 2 dozen or so ranchers but usually you would have a load bearing beam or a doubled up girder/gable with extra tall bottom runners with metal hangers not 2 giant beams in the middle of a room like that on any modern built home. Basicly ive never ever seen anything like what you got going on and ive built a few custom 4k sqft ranchers with all kinds of crazy cut up roof lines. Id tear it apart myself and see whats in there which it sounds like you already started.

    Also i would need to see the roof lines to understand why they would put those beams in there. I see how your foyer entrance is placed and the columns are directly in the middle of the house but without seeing roof lines its hard to say why they would need the columns there.

    In your pictures i noticed one thing that stands out. Its this beam with hanger on it. Is the beam directly over those columns?

    Inked8b82c8e649fbe9e57f89d9a097d48ef59ac7a123_LI (resized).jpg

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