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After working to remove a wall that runs parallel to the ceiling joists, I've run into a little problem. The builder used a 2x6 for a nailer (to attach the ceiling drywall) on top of the 2x4 stud wall that I am removing. I can get this out but I'm trying to disturb the existing ceiling as little as possible so I was hoping to leave the 2x6 in place (I plan to frame out a beam across the space and am trying to avoid dumping the 18 inches of spray in insulation into my dining room).

My current plan is to create a beam out of the 2x4s in the top plate, adding one or two more as necessary and screwing them together... but I need to span just under 15 feet. The only load above is the roof/attic space (without storage). I have very little access to the attic space so was planning to use joist hangers to face-nail the sandwiched 2x4 beams on either end. As is, they run at the same height of all the other walls so without creating a post up against the walls, I see no other way to support the beam... and this wouldn't work anyway as one of the beams would go right in front of the window that I planned to put in. Things were going so well until today.

My question: Is a sandwiched beam made out of 2x4s laid flat a feasible solution for the span that I need?

Sketches

State of the Wall

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    what's that huge lintel supporting? – Jasen Feb 8 '16 at 10:23
  • There was a pocket door there so the lintel had to span the opening with the door both in the open and shut position. – Derrik Feb 8 '16 at 15:23
  • there's a lot of wood there, are you certain there's no load above it? – Jasen Feb 9 '16 at 5:40
  • Positive.Toward the left had side of the wall I have removed a single stud that was in the back of a small pantry closet. You can see the outline of the what was the pantry in the removed ceiling area above. Adjacent to that is a large rectangular opening where a dropped soffit area was that went above some cabinets and had two in-wall speakers in it. This was attached to the upper portions of the studs behind the ladder and the side of the pantry closet. – Derrik Feb 9 '16 at 6:08
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If you put a beam across the room you'll feel bad every time you look at it. if you have a flat ceiling, you'll feel proud.

Use joist hangers to put some 2x4s between the ceiling joists so that they pass just above the 2x6 (stuff's going to sag), drill through the top plate from below with a spade bit and screw the 2x6 to the 2x4s remove the wall and top plates patch and plaster the ceiling.

If you can't get into the ceiling to get enough access to fit the hangers you could just lay 2x4s across the top of the ceiling joists and use really long screws, or maybe even come through the roof with threaded rod.

  • I like this answer ("you could just lay 2x4s across the top of the ceiling joists and use really long screws...") as I see it being fairly feasible. The only catch is being able to separate the 2x6 from the 2x4 plates. The 2x6 is nailed in place from above, and despite having a reciprocating saw, the top of the top-most 2x4 is above the sheetrock line (see 'Section 2' sketch). Any suggestions? – Derrik Feb 9 '16 at 6:12
  • "really long screws" have solved several problems for me in the past. Have you got a hand-held circular saw, cut the top plate in pieces until you can get a pry bar above it... in a pinch you could use a drill, if you don't wear a hat you'll sawdust all through your hair. be sure of your footing, if you hit a nail you need to maintain control of the saw. – Jasen Feb 9 '16 at 8:57
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    I wouldn't even worry about the hangers; it's only supporting drywall after all. This is basically making the 2x6 into a nailer for a drywall seam. The fact that the top of the top-most 2x4 is flush with the top of the drywall doesn't matter much. You'll be piecing in a run of drywall 3 1/2 inches there anyhow, so if you make some nicks with the reciprocating saw you can just fill them when you do the other mud work. – DrewJordan Feb 12 '16 at 16:15
  • I'm more worried about the weight of the 2x6. the drawing shows it free-floating (which is probably incorrect) if it's supported (vertically) off the joists it's fine how it its. – Jasen Feb 15 '16 at 8:54
  • The 2x6 was supported by the top of the wall that I was removing... that was it. I ended up climbing into the attic as I had to use a junction box to extend a few light switch wires to reach their new location anyway. Since I was up there, I cut a few lengths of 2x4 to span to the next ceiling joists, pre-drilled holes on either and and essentially toe-nailed them in (but with screws) to the ceiling joists, then screwed down into the 2x6. Everything is now sheetrocked where the hole was. So far so good. – Derrik Feb 16 '16 at 5:22

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