We’re super excited because the beams we had installed in our den we’re approved by the building department this morning! I want to get a little more technical with this post because I discovered through my own research a lot of of DIYers want to know how to install beams in an old house and what is appropriate.
Here’s what we did and why:
-LVL beams were sistered to every old beam. LVL beams are sheets of wood glued together which makes them much stronger then a typical 2×4. We used LVLs because they needed to fit into a 4 inch ceiling cavity—we want the new ceiling to hover to the top of the molding. A 2 x 4 isn’t strong enough and a 4 x 4 is too heavy and about the same price as a LVL.
-2x4s were sistered on the other side of the beam. This wasn’t in the plan but we later found out we needed the extra beam to meet building code. The building code states: 16 inches between each beam. If you open up a ceiling and plan to cover it back up you have to meet code.
-Nailers (2 x 4s) were added in between each of the beams for hanging the blueboard.
Before we had the new beams installed the ceiling had a dramatic flex. The beams were installed for stability, to meet code but also in hopes of stopping the plaster from cracking once the new ceiling is installed.
Something to note. All the beams are even with each other which was kinda tricky. My contractors had to come with a solution to keep the beams even with the molding going around the room. Some of the beams were sagging more then others. The sagging beams were shaved to make everything match up. Above and below photos of the finished beams in preps for a new ceiling. Our next step is to add sound-proofing insulation before the plasterer comes next week.