Is a structural engineer necessary?

HouseofsticksJuly 29, 2012

I am adding approx 1200 sq ft to our 1978 built Stockade style (verticle logs) Boyne Falls Log home. Upon doing some reno of the upstairs master bedroom (house is a story and 1/2) I discovered the second floor is on 2X4's. This makes me nervous as my kids bedrooms are underneath.

We will be doing either a two story or a single story reno with a hip roof tied into the current roof. Is one of these options less of a load on the roof?

I also thought about doing a self supporting squared hip roof and doing just a corridor walk way/library shelves between the old and new. (on either 1 or 2 levels).

Am I just paranoid since I hear the logs/wood always creaking away or do I have a consern that deserves the budget for a structural engineer prior to building. We are using an architect for the plans but he is dealing only with the new and transition areas.

Thank you for your educated responses in advance.

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I would be surprised an engineer wasn't required to get a permit unless you live in a rural area.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:25AM
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"I discovered the second floor is on 2X4's." Do you mean floor joists?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:35AM
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Yes, the floor joists. When we were adding shelving in our false knee wall (story 1/2) we found 2X4's comprised the tub area-since it's the same level throughout I think it's the MB Bath and closet also a small loft (MB is 14 X 16' of usable area with a cabinet knee wall on both roof sides. Bathroom is 5X5' with tub in knee wall. Under the Master is a closet and walls for the bedrooms and hallway. But one of the bedrooms is larger 121/2' X131/2'.

@ David Cary- We live in the county (not city) we met the city structural engineer. He said if we could get the maker of the home to send a letter stating the addition would be OK then he'd stamp it. This sounds crazy to me also, unable to contact the co. since they sold to Town & Country Log homes years ago. It's not a detailed permit process they are more conserned with water usage and septic. Our contacting an architect for actual plans is more for our piece of mind than a requirement.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:13AM
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You need a structural engineer. Anytime you are messing with tying in to a story and a half roofine (and supporting the original roof when you do it) you should have the engineer make sure you have proper support of your original roof when you are done. In your 2x4 joist case... are they closer together than normal? Is your tub cast iron?

My contractor told me that generally houses are over-engineered (ie, built stronger than they need to be) for all kinds of reasons. Nevertheless, we had an engineer design our roof connection when we added on to our story/1/2 (cape) home. It wasn't terribly expensive either--certainly less than an architect.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:02AM
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It might be fine to have a bunch of short 2x4 joists under a tub perpendicular to the actual floor joists.

Since log construction is not listed in the building codes, it requires an engineers stamp.

The manufacturer likely provided the first set of stamped plans (just like roof truss manufacturers).

You should have kept a set of those plans.

You are going to need an engineer's stamp for changes, and they will have to charge more if they have to analyze what is there without plans for changes.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:06AM
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Thanks Kirkhall! I just called to schedule an engineering firm out of a larger nearby city since the one's locally were not interested in doing this.

Brickeye, Thanks for your response my builder said the same thing about structures being over engineered but with all the creaking.... As for the plans, I would *LOVE* to have a set of plans but, this home was built in '78 (when I was a toddler:) We are the 3rd owners and no plans were available to us. The firm I scheduled with has a flat rate for inspection and will include the reccomendations for the addition so we can move forward with the architect.

Starting to get excited about having a home that works for my family! Thanks you again....I will have many more questions and appreciate your time!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:50AM
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