2-Story Great Room with "Bridge" - How to use posts?

building_a_houseFebruary 11, 2013

In our new home we are going to have a 2-story great room with a "bridge" that connects one side of the 2nd story with the other. The span is roughly 20 feet of railing. (We love 2-story rooms. Please don't turn this into an anti-2-story room post as we are well aware of their drawbacks)

The question I have is do most people put posts from floor to ceiling on the second floor with the railing? And if so do you do the same thing underneath on the 1st floor to match the aesthetics?

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I have no idea what "most" people do. Here's an example below from Houzz.com that looks fine to me.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:47PM
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It's a structural issue more than an aesthetic one. Your architect should have explained how the roof is constructed and what needs to happen to ensure it's support.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:00AM
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You'll have to post sketches and section drawings if you want any useful advice, since it's impossible to visualize your situation.

GreenDesigns is correct: the first issue is to understand the structural necessities.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:01AM
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The railing posts might be 6 to 8 ft apart so there might be two freestanding posts supporting them. The railing posts can go to the floor below, or there could be a single post below in the middle, or there could be no posts below if there is ceiling space for a deep beam.

The lower level floor plan will probably determine what is best. A post in the middle of a room is not always a desirable feature; people seem to be drawn to them like moths to a flame.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:09AM
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@GreenDesigns, @virgilcarter, @Renovator8:

I value all 3 of your opinions and expertise.

I will try to post plans later but as it stands there is no *need* for any posts structurally. It is open above and below the "bridge".

My question is that for the railing it seems to make sense from a stength standpoint to have 2 large posts that go from floor to ceiling on the 2nd floor bridge which would decrease the span from a single ~20 foot span with smaller posts every 6-8 feet to three ~6 foot spans with 2 large structural posts from floor to ceiling. Or is this not even needed (are the smaller posts that would not got from floor to ceiling --- like in the picture that worthy posted above --- strong enough?)

And if I do posts on the 2nd floor (either smaller posts or floor to ceiling posts) should I mirror these with posts underneath for better aesthetics? Or leave them out because they aren't needed?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:24PM
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As I said before, to me it would be not so much the design aesthetics but whether or not you want posts on the lower level. They must work well with the plan and that is a tougher design issue IMO.

In the past I've spent a lot of effort eliminating posts from a floor plan so I would think long and hard before adding them.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:11PM
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Thanks. That's what I am leaning towards as well.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:16PM
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