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We found this house that we really like, but it needs substantial renovation for our taste. The thing that killed it for us was the crazy kitchen countertop that has been narrowed to make way for a walkway. It seemed like there was no feasible way to work around this because of the placement of the support post. (See below photo)

enter image description here

So, I'm wondering: Is it feasible to relocate a support post? The ideal location functionally would be to push the post to the right of the photo (towards the painting of the bear), so that it's instead along the half wall of the silly narrowed counter.

Would it be possible to move this post to the right and still support the beam it's presently holding up? If so, what would be involved in moving the post and presumably adding some kind of additional (steel?) beam work along the ceiling as needed?

Here's the view from the other side:

enter image description here

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    You'll need to call in a structural engineer. It's likely going to be quite a bit of work, and cost a bunch of money. – Tester101 Apr 11 '15 at 17:32
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    Agree with @Tester101 ... The post is supporting two separate support beams. To move it one way or the other would require new support beams which could span the distance and support the load ... which ever one is longer would have to be bigger. Again, going to require a structural engineer to compute the size of the new support beam to do it. The only other way would be to get a beam which would support the entire thing without the need for a post. This would, unfortunately, be metal, probably hang down about 8" more than the current one does, and be twice as thick ... not feasible IMHO. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Apr 11 '15 at 18:03
  • @Tester101 we would certainly hire a structural engineer and architect if we bought the house; I'm just trying to get an idea of what might work from someone experienced with this kind of work. – glenviewjeff Apr 11 '15 at 21:30
  • I like the narrow countertop. Makes the house look less like a spec built home, and I'm sure there would be many uses for it. Take down the phone from the 90s and you're set! – Edwin Apr 11 '15 at 23:48
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    Have you considered moving the walkway to the other side of the post? – TomG Apr 12 '15 at 12:58
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You would certainly need to consult a structural engineer and get all plans approved and permitted before beginning work. It will be expensive but since you indicate willingness here goes.... It is completely possible to relocate that post. The question will always be price and design. In my humble opinion the work isn't even all that difficult once you know exactly which material and sizes are required for the load.

That support post is compression support for the visible beam. In order to properly move it you would likely need to add two vertical support beams with a perpendicular cross member to take their place. This member would likely be steel.

That new beam could go below the existing beam (with the existing beam sitting atop it) but depending on the span and the load this would fill in significant headroom and break your clean ceiling line.

Alternatively, depending on the roof structure, you may be able to hang the new beam above the visible beam inside the attic space. This would have the added benefit of not eating interior headroom. You would probably place the vertical beams inside the wall where the bear painting is, and the wall to the left of the sink.

Either approach should work. Neither is significantly complex for a structural engineer. They will both likely be quite expensive to do.

EDIT: So how will they change it? What's involved? If you put the beam below the existing one, then temporary support posts will be constructed on both sides of the existing post. The post would then be removed and a replacement beam jacked in place beneath it.

If the beam is to be "hung" from a new crossmember then the existing post will stay in place while the new posts are built. The beam would be jacked up slightly from both sides, and a steel hanger bracket would be placed under it, fastening it to the new in-ceiling beam. Finally, the existing post is removed.

In both cases a support immediately below the beam, beneath the floor, should give support all the way to foundation which means that you may need to pour in the crawlspace and tie into the existing stem walls.

  • Want to be really clear that I am not down voting because of yours - that I don't care about. But I will give a very big -1 because your specific example of how this would happen would completely ruin why people would want this type of house in the first place. You would completely ruin the ceiling lines and the architectural design. – DMoore Apr 12 '15 at 4:20
  • Not with a beam inside the attic space. The only thing you would see would be a steel bracket at the junction of the beam. The Question asked what would be entailed in this structural change... my answer explains exactly that. – Matthew Apr 12 '15 at 18:54
  • You don't know that. There are skylights, you have no idea what the structure is in the attic. How would said beam get into the attic? Where else are you going to sit the load? If you want to give an intelligent answer explain those things, otherwise you are just guessing. – DMoore Apr 13 '15 at 4:13
  • @DMoore I don't know what's in the attic just like I don't know what's in the walls. However, it's entirely possible that the attic space is large enough given the way the skylight hole looks deep. There is a wall to both sides of the post which could contain new structure. OP asked what about be involved in removing the post... I delivered. New structure above or new structure below. – Matthew Apr 13 '15 at 16:17
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My suspicion is that the ceiling joists are lapped over that beam, something like:

enter image description here

So moving the beam is nearly impossible without major structural work.

Furthermore, in the basement, under the post there is likely a footer. You'd need to crack the concrete floor and dig a 20 inch deep hole and fill it with concrete and rebar for the new post location in the basement.

I really don't think you're going to be able to do this for $15k. It's major structural work.

  • It looks to me like it's a jackpost with a kingstud on one side. The photos don't look like the beams are lapped... though they certainly could be. The "bear picture" wall appears structural so there will already be a footing below it. The "kitchen cabinet wall" may not be. – Matthew Apr 15 '15 at 19:33
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    There's some thickness to the ceiling -- Look at the skylight. I think that planking on the ceiling is just a finish material. I'm talking about joists above that. – Chris Cudmore Apr 15 '15 at 21:14
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enter image description here

I have seen this solution done many times, and it is taught in carpentry and building courses. Please note homeowners must not attempt to design or carry out this work themselves. Your whole roof may collapse in on you. Your roof framing may be one of two standard types - truss framed roof or "old school" non truss (officially called traditional and or conventional roof framing)(those words are not describing the shape of your roof BTW). Depending which roof frame type your house has been built with, you will need to apply a different solution to this particular situation. Sometimes to save on the cost of one large beam fitting into the ceiling several smaller beam can span across and become hangers for this larger beam which you want to remove the support post from. Approx cost guide 2018 - $500 engineer, $200 council approval application and a few weeks waiting for it, $500 new beam and brackets, $500 replace ceiling (gyprock and plasterer), $1000 a day for between 1-3 days work for carpenter gang of 2 or 3 once all materials on site and ready to go. $1000 contingency for shifting electrical cables currently in ceiling, more if you have gas or air con pipes in ceiling, and more again if you need to take roof covering off and hire scaffolding to get new beam into the ceiling space. This solution is virtually impossible if this is a two storey house. hope this helps all you readers out, and doesnt put you off. Apologies for the scratchy sketch, just knocked it up quickly to make the points clearer.

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What's involved is more money than you could possibly want to spend. Incorporating it into an island would be expensive enough: (nothing would be acceptable esthetically without a complete structural re-work)

enter image description here

  • I'm willing to spend at least 10k, maybe 15k to do it. We'd be incorporating this with about 150k in other improvements/renovations (gutting this kitchen, replacing most of the windows, master bath, etc.) This post pretty much makes the kitchen an indequate space, and is the deciding factor about whether or not we try to buy the house. – glenviewjeff Apr 11 '15 at 21:24
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    Island conversion is a pretty good idea. Clear up that entire "bear picture" wall. – Matthew Apr 12 '15 at 0:50
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No it is not feasible to change that post. It could be moved but it would have to go into the kitchen more, which I am sure would make matters worse for you. So the answer would be no. Moving it would be pretty much redoing the supports for the house.

Also you said that this house needs major renovations. Just a suggestion from a long-time flipper...

This house doesn't need major renovations. This house looks great and just needs some minor updates and new appliances. There is a good chance that if you spent 80k renovating this area that it would be work 10k more. I suggest if you think this house needs major renovations that you want to really make your mark on a house and do what you want - then start looking at houses in far far worse condition. I am sure there are similar houses in the area haven't been kept up. Restore these and add value to both the house and your pocket book.

  • We're looking to live in the house, and the renovations are to make it livable to our standards. I'm willing to spend at least 10k, maybe 15k to do it. We'd be incorporating this with about 150k in other improvements/renovations (gutting this kitchen, replacing most of the windows, master bath, etc.) This post pretty much makes the kitchen an indequate space, and is the deciding factor about whether or not we try to buy the house. – glenviewjeff Apr 11 '15 at 21:28
  • If you want to do 150-200k in improvements go to a house where it will make a noticeable improvement. Both of these don't look like they need that much work. Actually depending on the architect that designed these, you could decrease the value when you start moving/improving things. You can usually get away with new appliances and lighting, everything else is based on expectations of the era home and architect. – DMoore Apr 11 '15 at 21:33
  • I am confident that nobody who intends to live in this neighborhood would move in and use the house as-is without substantial renovations. Almost all of the window and door hardware is no longer functional to start with, and that work alone is probably going to be >50k. The average price of houses in this particular area is probably about 1.5 to 2M. – glenviewjeff Apr 11 '15 at 21:50
  • @glenviewjeff - not saying they wouldn't want to do that much work and I have been a part of flipping at least 5-6 houses in that price range. You have to make sure you aren't spending money on modern upgrades that detracts from the historical value of the home. Really some of these homes I would liken to classic cars. I could make my 69 Mustang awesome to drive and handle almost like a new car with all kinds of upgrades but it would be worth half the price after taking out all of the original stuff. – DMoore Apr 11 '15 at 22:37
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    -1 The question isn't really about whether or not we think renovation is necessary. – Matthew Apr 12 '15 at 0:49
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I have done many jobs like this. Esthetic values can make all the difference for the home owner but remember the column is there for a very specific purpose. Speculating upon it from finished photos is fruitless. Building codes vary by region, here an architect needs to be consulted. Structural engineers rarely work on anything but large public works. An architect will pull the original plan and take field measurements to make calculations for the modifications.

The skylight suggests the roof is immediately above the ceiling and a larger beam or truss may be able to replace the existing exposed beam on the roof level providing the existing bearings are adequate. Otherwise you may have to replace one column with two, as well as their footings.

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