Passed Beam Inspection

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.

Regatta Construction
Christian Tosi
(781) 639-1660

Related Posts:
Narrow Doorway
Ceiling In Progress: Installing LVLs
Getting Estimates For New Ceilings

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  1. so did you have to raise the floor in the room above this one to accommodate the new supplemental beams?

    I am researching ideas to dampen a live load in an upstairs room over a wide-span beamed ceiling (in our kitchen below). We also want to provide noise insulation, etc. between the beams. What type of insulation are you using for this?

    Thanks for this post!


  2. ddl-

    We talked about it but nope no overhead lighting in this room. The ceilings are way to low for lights and if I did put lights in this room I would probably do sconces on the wall.


  3. Are you running any wiring before you close it up? I did that during a renovation, just in case. Its something Greg could do easily, take some photos and its up there if you ever want any overhead lighting. Just a thought, sorry to bring it up with your plaster guys just days away
    but its worth a conversation.
    Love your blog esp. this kind of stuff.


  4. Patsy, I assume it depends on structural and if you pulled permits. There is no way we could have hung a new ceiling without it cracking without putting in some new beams. Our contractors pulled permits to add the beams and I assume that’s when the building department entered the equation.


  5. Interesting! We had a ceiling opened up and replaced without an inspection – I wonder if the inspection is needed if something structural inside the ceiling is changed?


  6. I’ll bet that feel great to have that done. I assume that center beam will stay exposed? I have to say I like the door that you narrowed back to the original too.


  7. Hi Katy,

    Just a note; The ceiling joists were 18″ on center, however, code calls for 16″. We had hoped to get by with “existing conditions”, but alas.


  8. Thanks for the technical! As architects out here in Seattle we don’t see houses if this vintage so its very interesting for us. Can’t wait to see what comes next.