Heavy Lifting


To accommodate the new open design of the kitchen and dining room area, a load bearing wall had to be removed.

Existing load bearing wall between breakfast room (future kitchen area) and dining room.
Photo taken standing in dining room.
Another view of existing load bearing wall on the left of this photo.

It’s nearly a 16 ft span that the load bearing wall covered, so we debated between adding columns or installing a really big wooden header to carry the load across the room. The wood header would have been massive and the idea of having columns to work around in the kitchen didn’t sit well with me. We really wanted a flush ceiling between the two rooms, essentially turning the space into one big room.  The solution was a steel beam, which for a given size can carry more load than wood.

Dad helped us source a steel beam that fit the bill. It was 18 ft long and weighed over 400 lbs.

Measuring the new beam
Marking where to cut
Getting ready to cut the beam
The cows watch as dad makes the cut
Holes were also cut into the beam so that wood could be attached to it. The addition of the wood would allow for the joists to be attached via joist hangers.
Holes added to beam
Wood attached to steel beam using the holes to hold it in place
I didn’t get a picture of the guys moving the beam inside, but as you can imagine it was quite the task!
Below you can see the beam inside and laying on the floor waiting to be installed. A temporary wall, shown to the left and right of the photo below, was built to carry the load of the house while doing the install.
Steel beam laying in between the two temporary walls
Another view of the beam between the two temporary walls
Upstairs, directly above the location where the beam was to be installed, the load was spread to the temporary support walls.
Upstairs temporary spreading the load of the house
The beam was sunk into the existing joists, allowing for the ceiling to be flush between the dining room and new kitchen. Dad cut the existing joints to accommodate the steel beam.
Cutting the joists, making room for the beam to sit snug between them
Temporary walls up downstairs and joists cut ready to receive the steel beam between them
They safely walked the beam up a little bit at a time using jacks and by re-positioning wooden supports to the temporary walls.
Beam going up between the temporary walls
Here they have the beam walked up about 3/4 of the way to the ceiling
 They made it look so easy.
Going up
Beam in place and joints attached to it via joist hangers
After the beam was in place and the joists reattached, the temporary walls were removed.
New steel beam spans across opening from dining room (left) and future kitchen (right)

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