A Designer’s Renovation – Part 6

Renovation Stumbles and Tumbles

SO this week I was supposed to write about the den. And although that’s fun, to be honest, I haven’t really finished that design, and many more interesting things have happened during this renovation.

Let’s talk about the time we tried to put in the beam in our kitchen…

There are a lot of things that get “assumed” in a renovation, by both the architect and the engineers.  They have to do this, in order to create the plans without tearing your entire house apart. BUT, they are assumptions. And we all know that assuming makes an *&^ out of you and me”.

In our home, the one big assumption was that the bearing wall that runs along the house was well built. That it was thick enough, that it had posts and footings that would be needed in order to build up above them.  Let’s remember, 1945.  The new areas, built in 1971, perfect. 1945…not so much.

Let’s get some definitions out of the way:

Beam: Horizontal wood or steel beam that is used to hold up the ceiling or floor joists which in turns holds up your floor or ceiling

Post: The vertical wood or steel post that holds up the beam so it doesn’t fall down.  Strategic posts must be installed along the length of the beam so it does not sag, and this is calculated by the size of the beam and the load of weight and span of flooring it covers.

Footing: The cement pad at the bottom of a post that keeps it in place in the earth. The size of the footing is calculated by the engineer.

The Cold Hard Truth

So we had been living in the basement for a few months at this point, with little movement in the renovation (thanks to Nosy Neighbour #1), and we were itching to get moving. As you read previously, we got shut down.  But they key is when.  We got shut down 1 day before the beam was done.

The beam was needed in order to support the third floor, when we took the wall down between the old kitchen and one of the main floor bedrooms. It’s all in the plans, in blog #1.  Anyhow, the assumption was made, that the beam, posts and footings below would be able to support this endeavor. We were wrong.

When we got working on it, we started some investigative work and realized that we needed a third post in the basement, and 2 new footings. I totally stole the pic below from Google. But it is a pretty good explanation of what I am talking about.

A cross section of posts, beams and footings

You remember, we were living in the basement. And they were about to DIG IT UP!

So, we moved in with my mom. For a week, they jack-hammered our kids bedroom floor and our tiny kitchen area.  It was surreal.  But, it had to be done, and was all a part of moving forward!

It took only a couple of days for the dig, and the cement to get poured in.  Once dry, the beam on the main floor was put in place, and we moved home.

Big hole dug up for cement!

It was really exciting.  I was so happy. Seeing that beam go up really meant that it was over. The tiny kitchen was gone, the wall was down, and the beam was up.  I was truly going to get my dream kitchen.

The original Kitchen
Kitchen torn out. Look at the multiple flooring and wall finishes!

Wall down! Beam up!

Ok, momentary sidebar…my backsplash tiles weren’t available. Doesn’t that suck? I was so sad. I really loved them. But at $50/sf, wholesale, they were super expensive. So maybe a blessing in disguise?

My wonderful husband used the ceiling joists from the old great room ceiling to create an amazing wood cover for the beam.  It was my job to stain it.

I didn’t really want to stain it.  I wanted to just seal it up, and let it be.  But every sealer we tried made it look pink! PINK!!! Apparently fir looks pink when sealed up.  So we had to pick a darker stain. Which took me, and the guy at the stain shop, about an hour to choose. And then I came home and tried it in different strengths multiple times.  When I was finally happy with the result, I got to work.  Here’s the video. If it doesn’t work, because it’s the first time I am trying to do this, then I will post it to my facebook page. The link is on every page of this website.

So that was pretty educational, and very beam oriented. And the truth is, I was super busy this week and had zero time to be blog creative.  But I promise to be way more entertaining next week when we get back to design!!


Next week…why having a Handyman Husband has both it’s positives and it’s negatives…

Have a terrific day!

1 Comment

  1. Your all post about home renovation really great and very helpful for me in my home renovation gta. Thanks for this and please keep posting.

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