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I'm installing a floor in my attic. To open up the space and simplify the flooring I'm removing temporary construction bracing. Most of the bracing is easy to identify, since it clearly does not support anything: It doesn't touch the ridge or rafter, has no real structure on the lower end, and is some cases is actually being held up by the roof.

One 2x4 post gives me pause, though. Rather than just being toe-nailed into the ridge it is supported (poorly) by a sistered 2x4. It is sitting on the top plate of a wall with some continuity down through the house. It's actually twisted as if it might be buckling from load. And the gable ridge does not run into a header. The valley rafters are massive, though, so perhaps it is supposed to be cantilevered.

Questions:

  • Can I remove it?
  • If not, should I replace it? With something heavier?
  • Does this application have a particular name? (I thought perhaps "king post" but this doesn't have struts)

Front view: post meeting the ridge with fairly loose sistered 2x4 attachment

Reverse view including the opposing valley jack: reverse view showing the post sitting on the ridge and the valley jack from the opposite side

Artsy shot showing the twist in the board: view showing compression twist

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yikes.. I think it does do some supporting- very very bad solution. –  ppumkin Jul 4 '11 at 8:45
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3 Answers 3

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It looks to me like that is the board used to hold the ridge up until the rafters are nailed to it. Once the rafters are up the brace should be able to come out. I think the buckling is due to some settling and age. The framers should have taken it out. They should take out all of this kind of bracing so that no one is confused later. There is no way that a 2X4 is supposed to hold up a 2X12 and the whole roof that sits on it.

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It's not the entire weight of the roof, it could just be extra support for this joint. And the support from a 2x4 being compressed end to end may very well compare with a 2x12 that is supporting a load across it's span. –  BMitch Jul 5 '11 at 12:58
    
@B Mitch I understand what you are saying, and you are correct. I am just looking at the way that 2X4 is sitting there, and combining my experience with installing something like that. If I were putting in a 2X4 there and it had to support something then it would have some other bracing of its own to keep it from twisting, bending or slipping. I can't see that thing supporting anything. Those are often put there to hold a ridge until the rafters are up, and then they do not do anything afterwards. –  Tatton Chantry Jul 5 '11 at 16:11
    
I'm sure you would do it properly, but I never underestimate the potential stupidity of some builders out there, especially after seeing the mistakes made in my own place. It may very well be unnecessary, but I worry about the risks of making a bad call on this. –  BMitch Jul 5 '11 at 16:39
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I am accepting this answer because it matches my final conclusion: After studying all of the other roof structure and the wall underneath I concluded that it was meant to be temporary, the wall underneath is not designed to carry the load (so beefing up this post goes beyond one post: compression of the wall plate had opened up a large crack in the drywall that existed since we moved in) and finally after removing it determined that the ridge did not move using a story pole I cut before removing the post. –  Ben Jackson Jul 17 '11 at 5:00
    
If you notice in the picture, that 2x4 is supporting the turn of a valley and it needs to be there. I would do like BMitch said and trun a 2x4 to make an L shape and screw it together. That is supposed to be there. –  lazoDev Aug 3 '11 at 16:23
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You can sister another 2x4 that's turned 90 degrees on it's side to help with the twist (basically make an L with the two boards). To get them to pull together, first clamp them together and then use some deck screws to attach the two.

It's hard to tell if the twist is from buckling under load or if it's just warped from a moisture change. And from looking at this on a web site, I think it will be difficult for many of us to say if it's necessary. (Though even if I were to see it in person, I may be clueless since we outsource all of our roof work to someone with a crane and even they use pre-manufactured roof trusses where every board is load bearing.)

However, it is safe to say that nothing bad will happen if you reinforce it, while it could be disastrous for you to remove it.

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Without seeing some more detailed photos (not being able to see it in person), below is my initial answer:

Q. Can I remove it?

A. No. At least not "no" without replacing it with something more adequate.

Q. If not, should I replace it? With something heavier?

A. I would most definitely replace it with something more beefy. At least a 4"x4" post, probably a 6"x4" would be better. Ensure you make very! good connections top (at hip or valley timber, sorry can't tell from the photos) & bottom (wall plate).

Additional after thought: Attach a couple of 4"x2" or 4"x3" 45° struts (braces) onto the new support timber you put in. One end fixed to the new support timber (approx ⅓ of the way up the height of the new support timber), other end fixed to existing wall place. Place one strut (brace) either side of new support timber, this will help with any twisting that is occurring.

Q. Does this application have a particular name? (I thought perhaps "king post" but this doesn't have struts)

A. In the UK we call such a supporting timber, either a "King Stud" or "King Post".

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"at hip or valley timber" -- in the first picture the gable end goes to the left. The valley rafter is prominent on the left side and the other is hidden by the post. The tall red board is the ridge of the gable. In the reverse picture the valley rafter has the vertical pencil line. It is partially covered by a jack rafter that goes to the main roof. –  Ben Jackson Jul 4 '11 at 18:13
    
@Ben, I'm not being sarcastic when I say this (I mean no offence), it sounds like you know what you are talking about, therefore I would say you really know in your heart of hearts what the proper cause of action is. I have also added an additional thought to my answer... –  Mike Perry Jul 4 '11 at 19:38
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