I am plotting to install a support beam on the second floor of my house, as when the previous owners did an addition they left the old roof under the new in the attic, allowing the old structure to support the new but unfortunately wasting space in the process. As a consequence, the upstairs rooms are too small. My long-term hope is to expand one of the two second floor bedrooms into a master suite, which would satisfy two objectives: allow for comfort now, and increase the value of the house for the long term.
The internet is a great tool for such research. I duly typed in how to install a support beam and received the obligatory 8,923,661 results. It was interesting reading. Here is a synopsis of one I selected:
1. It’s easy! Half a day, tops!
2. You’ll need a helper for about an hour.
3. Start to remove the drywall by punching through it with the claw end of a hammer.
4. Oh wait – you were first supposed to check whether there are pipes or electrical wires in the wall. Oops. Do another internet search for the how-to on capping that old water line.
5. Pull the drywall out.
6. Shower, and change into a tight sweater and some heeled boots. Make sure to apply lots of mascara.
7. Buy a beam at a lumberyard. Get some beam support studs while you’re there. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet some big, strong fellow to help you.
8. Tear out the old wall studs by hitting them along the bottom with a sledgehammer. Better have the stud from the lumberyard do this; you could break a nail!
9. Oh yeah – I forgot to tell you that you’ll need temporary support until you can get that beam installed. Stop removing the studs or the roof will collapse on you. Drive back to the lumberyard and get some 2×4’s for this purpose.
10. Gee, I guess it was too late. Better call a roofer. Aren’t we expecting rain tomorrow?
And so it goes.
My preferred method of doing it myself:
1. Pour a glass of wine.
2. Search Angie’s List for a contractor.
3. Verify that the contractor is appropriately licensed.
4. Call 5 for quotes; expect 3 to respond.
5. Pick the winner.
6. Write a check when it’s done.