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Enclosing a two story family room without opposing load bearing walls.

September 2, 2017
last modified: September 2, 2017

Ever since we bought this house, I have NOT liked the two story family room. It is difficult to hear the TV, the entire upstairs is open to the rest of the house, and I have five VERY loud children. I would love to enclose the room, and gain some extra square footage for a bonus room above. The problem, is that there are NOT enough load bearing walls to support a floor. I was told my only option would be to install an additional pier under the house to support a new beam to support the new floor, and that the whole project would actually be a lot more difficult and too expensive and probably not worth the trouble. I am wondering if I can get a second opinion. Anyone have any ideas?

Comments (10)

  • PRO
    JudyG Designs

    What we did:

    all railings were converted to tempered glass…

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    Add window treatments…and have them lined. Consider wallpapering t v wall with a beautiful grass cloth...

    ksolom01 thanked JudyG Designs
  • ksolom01

    The tempered glass looks beautiful in this house, but I am not sure it would work for us. (lots of kids, fingerprints everywhere.) But just to clarify, does that really help with the sound?

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Engineered wood and steel can span all kinds nds of distances. It isn't even that expensive. The labor is what isn't cheap. Contact a structural engineer if you haven't met the right contractor. 15-25K and you can have a second floor room. Pretty cheap construction, actually.

    Be careful what you wish for. Now all those windows will be too close to the floor to not get changed out to safety glass. And you'll need new electrical up there. Etc. Add another 5-10K for associated scope screep.

  • ksolom01

    That is what I was thinking. But the contractor said I would need new piers to support the beam. We are on a concrete slab. Does that seem correct?

  • smit2380

    We are planning something similar over a smaller area (our breakfast area has a strange vaulted ceiling). We are starting with a structural engineer to determine what we need to do first. Then we are working with contractors based on the recommendations of the engineer. (This has worked out better for us in the past on other projects that involved structural engineering, but were dissimilar to this project.)

  • lazy_gardens

    For a small start - you have many "bright" sound-bouncing surfaces and very few soft things to absorb the sound. That's the curse of an open floor plan, multiplied by the curse of a 2-story room.

    Rugs, a runner in the upstairs balcony, fabric wall hangings, window curtains, etc. can make a difference.

  • Milly Rey

    A load bearing wall is any wall bearing a load. There is no issue here. Might have to add headers to openings in the floor below. That's quite easy, actually.

  • Barbara Laue

    Did you complete this project? We are in the very beginning stages of trying to come up with a plan to close in our family room. Our layout is close to your design.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    First you talk to a structural engineer not a contractor.

  • ksc36

    Always talk to a competent contractor or 2 first. You might not need an engineer or the project might be over your budget.

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