While the client pondered floor plan options, we forged ahead with the necessary structural framing.
Once the first floor replacement joists were set on the bolstered foundation configuration (see Foundation post),and the subfloor fastened down, we were ready to get to work on thestructure supporting the second floor. Our first task was toconstruct a support system to carry the second floor joists since theyexceeded their maximum span capacity. The load bearing hallway wall,which bears directly down on the foundation support beam, was leftstanding through the central portion of the house, but the two sectionsof wall towards the rear and front were removed during demolition inorder to open up the floor plan.
Using hydraulic jacks and 6×6 posts, we straightened the second floor joists,which had settled over the last hundred years despite the presence ofthe load bearing wall. Once the joists were straight, we inserted twoPSL beams; one down the center towards the rear of the house, and onetowards the front. PSL beams (Parallel Strand Lumber), are compositelumber, made from long strands of wood veneer bonded together with anadhesive. These beams are far stronger than natural wooden beams, andare used in applications where high bending strength is needed and inload bearing columns.
The rear support beam pockets into the brick exterior wall on one end, andrests on jack studs within the structural partition wall on the other.The front support beam connects to the hallway wall on jack studs,however, since the front portion will be exposed, we will “post down”with an antique bearing column. While we search for suitable wood forthe column, we used a 6×6 post as a temporary support.
Since the layout of the second floor is virtually identical to the first, werepeated the same process on the second floor. The one difference wasthe challenge of supporting the roof where we had removed joists in theliving area and kitchen to create a vaulted ceiling. Using jacks andposts, we raised the roof trusses in the affected area and inserted twoLVL beams (pocketed into both outside brick party walls). Afterbolting the LVL beams together, we removed the jacks, and the trussessettled firmly onto this support beam.