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1

It's called HDPS (high density polystyrene) Most commonly used in decking. Some is a direct replacement for wood, and yes it is expensive. But your deck will last much longer without maintainance. It comes in different densities and the lighter the greater the r value, but the lower the strength. Unfortunatly there are pretenders in the market place. HDPS ...


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I'm not sure of the exact formulas as I'm sure they're fairly complex but the John Bridge Deflect-o-meter is a good place to start: http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/deflecto.pl


2

That's an extremely long span for 2x8s, even tripled. Do you know whether there was ever an intermediate post? Most would suggest that you have a engineer look over your situation. Existing framing isn't always a good indicator of what to use. At any rate, a pair of 1-3/4" microlam (or laminated veneer lumber--LVL) beams will almost certainly suffice. The ...


3

The link that BMitch left in the comments is a good guideline. The top 2 answers cover a lot of stuff to check. All in all the best way to check, since the ceiling will need repair anyway, is to remove enough drywall to see the top plate, which is still not a sure thing even if it is a double top plate. I have seen many homes built where non bearing walls ...


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If your description is accurate, it doesn't sound like a load bearing wall. A bearing wall would not transfer load through plywood, it would always transfer through structural members. However, you haven't shown any photos, diagrams, or blueprints. Because of that, there's no way for us to guarantee that it's not bearing. Remove the wall at your own risk.


3

Always for the most strength, place the beam so the 4" faces are the top and bottom and the 6" dimension is the height. As a mention I hope you are planning on adding posts or some means of support in the center. A 16' beam supported by the ends only will not hold up a deck.


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Look in the attic and see which direction your rafters run. If the wall runs parallel to the rafters then generally it is a non-load bearing wall. If it runs perpendicular to the rafters then it may be load bearing.


1

The only problem you may find is accidently kicking in the glass when using the exercise equipment. Other than that the wall studs are spaced 16" O/C only shorter above the header spanning the windows' width.


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No, there's no problem doing so. In fact, you probably have the best substructure there. You'll find a 2x6 or larger header either directly above the window or below the top wall plate. You should also find "cripple" or "pin" studs on standard centers over or under the header. Be aware that some header designs leave a 1/2" or larger insulated gap between ...



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