What do I do with this space?

stretchtex1January 15, 2014

This is a 1550 sq ft ranch that's built on pier and beam. The first pic below is a view from the dining room towards the area of concern. The second pic is a view from my living room to the area of concern. You step down into the area because it was originally a covered patio that was framed in by the previous owner. An architect suggested that I convert it back into a covered patio with hinged patio doors on the dining room wall and adding windows on the living room wall. Others advised against this option because I would loose 150 sq ft of living space. The idea would be to open the walls up as much as possible and adding a false floor and using as additional living space. In order to open up the space, an engineer says that a 12" beam would need to be installed to replace the dining room wall. Does anyone have thoughts on this space? I'm a single male with no kids. Thanks

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This is the second picture from my living room.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:58PM
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What do you think you would use it most for? Would it really make much difference in the neighborhood comparisons to loose the square footage?

Would the existing floor structure support another raised floor on it definitely. Sometimes enclosed porches are still structured as porches and things are added, but essentially the whole thing is understructured. Was this an architect's or builder's recommendation also or just off the cuff?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:23PM
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Its hard to tell what is required without looking at how the roof is supported. The patio area wall with the large open section looks like its the main load bearing wall. However, the stud-framed wall was also the original house wall, so it may also be load bearing.

Installing a properly sized manufactured beam 9.e.g, an LVL beam) should work for that span as long as you have adequate support on both ends.

LVL beam manufacturers have a table that shows span lengths and beam size requirements. Once you select items like the floor joists and thickness of the beam, the table will show the beam height required for each foot that is spanned, up to a max span length. However, it takes a while to figure out all the explanations in the tables, so I would suggest going to a lumber supplier to get some assistance.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:32PM
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The wall in the first pic above supports only ceiling joists and will be replaced with an 11 1/4" two ply LVL that will span that 14 feet. The covered patio was part of the original design of the home and under the gable roof footprint of the home. In the following picture I've rotated just a hair to the right to expose the sheetrocked wall that separates the living room from the galley kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:54PM
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I've had an architect, a contractor, a structural engineer and tomorrow I will meet with an interior designer all to discuss this space.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:57PM
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I've had the same problem as that before, though yours is a little wider. What we did was to put a billiards table for my elder brothers' amusement during their days off. It would also be perfect to fix large pictures or paintings to accessorize the area.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 9:55PM
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"You step down into the area because it was originally a covered patio that was framed in by the previous owner."

is the exterior of the house brick?
if so, this is what I've learned in my years of testing
homes with blower doors for air infiltration.
with brick clad houses, there is a 1" gap between
the stud wall, and the brick cladding, bricks are
attached to wall via brick ties nailed to faces
of stud wall.

what this means, is that when you make an exterior
brick clad wall into a wall of a conditioned room,
that there is a huge amount of air leakage.

this leakage comes from the 1" gap behind the
brick. without sealing the gap..the room will
be difficult to heat/cool.

the other issue is that usually for patios, as for
garages & porches...there is no vapor barrier
under the slab.

when these areas are made
into conditioned space, moisture wicks up through
the concrete floor into the covering..padding & carpet,
wood floors, even ceramic tile.

without knowing what is under concrete, &
what cladding of house is..it is impossible
to answer with any dependability.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:34PM
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I'm replacing the wall in the first picture of this post above. It's a 13' 6" span in a single story ranch supporting a 17' span of ceiling joists coming from the front of the home and an 11' span of ceiling joist coming from the rear of the home. The beam to be installed is a two ply 11 1/4 inch LVL. The engineer informed me that a single jack stud and a single king stud on either end of the beam will be sufficient for support. Does this sound correct?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 4:43PM
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