Ever tried to make an omelet without breaking an egg? If you were searching for an analogous challenge in residential remodeling, it would no doubt be adding a second story addition without pulling off an existing roof.
STRITE’s president, Bob Mundy, is hardly one to walk away from a challenge — particularly when it’s structural in nature. Among the pleasures of being in our industry, after all, are the problem solving opportunities inherent in working within existing constraints rather than building from scratch.
We recently finished up a project in which our clients wanted to add around 200 square feet to the second story of their home, in what had been dead attic space, in order to create a dedicated quilting room for the wife. The attic was located above the first floor dining room, with about half an inch separating the two, floor and ceiling. Seeing this, along with identifying a bearing point on the common wall with the kitchen, Bob decided to do something STRITE had never before attempted. When our clients realized that in taking the approach he recommended they could continue to live virtually undisturbed in the rest of their home during the course of the remodel, and without adding cost to the project, they were only too happy to consent.
“Basically, what we did was hire the expertise of roofers to take the single story truss roof off one side of the house without affecting the entry, another side, or rear of the home,” Bob explained. “This is very unique.”
STRITE’s construction team began the process by cutting a hole out of the trusses, after removing all the insulation from the attic. “We then ‘sistered up’ 2x12s to the existing trusses to give them strength, and began to cut the trusses out,” said Bob. We covered the hole so we wouldn’t go into the dining room,” an accomplishment that our clients greatly appreciated. “We could be sitting at the table having dinner and not know that anything was going on above us,” observed the husband.
“I came up with the idea of doing this from seeing what was structurally possible based on bearing points down below,” Bob said. “We found a bearing point on the common wall with the kitchen and then put a header on the back of the house to carry the weight of the floor system and the roof. The trusses are attached to the new house wall in line with the existing roof. It’s a first!”
While it may be a “first,” it is hardly an “only.” Said Bob, “We’re doing something similar in Surprise Valley…overcoming single story trusses. Rather than take the whole truss off the back of the garage we’re just cutting it back so that as you look at the back of the house you’re seeing a wall that has now become the point of strength for the house. In the old days you would just have pulled the whole roof off. This approach maximizes the homeowners’ square footage, which adds additional value to the house as well as saving them thousands of dollars.”
We love thinking outside the frame — and having someone with Bob Mundy’s experience makes doing so second nature to us, and a source of professional satisfaction.