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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read this forum for a long time but finally had a real need to post a question.

I'm reframing a large 4 story rowhouse here in DC. Joists were in poor condition, and we decided to gut them and reframe with engineered ijoists (also to accomplish the span and load requirements). I'm wondering how you all would recommend attaching them to the walls. We had thought about repocketing them in the existing holes, but I've heard of issues with moisture (from older posts on the forum), and the wall would need a lot of masonry work (new spacing from old joists). We've considered using a ledger board with joist hangers, but the wall is not entirely straight, and it's going to be hard to get a good connection (it won't sit entirely flush). In any case, we'll carry most of the load with the wall framing below, although I'd like a wall connection as well. I know I'm not reinventing the wheel here. What have you all done in the past? Thanks for any tips or advice.
 

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I've read this forum for a long time but finally had a real need to post a question.

I'm reframing a large 4 story rowhouse here in DC. Joists were in poor condition, and we decided to gut them and reframe with engineered ijoists (also to accomplish the span and load requirements). I'm wondering how you all would recommend attaching them to the walls. We had thought about repocketing them in the existing holes, but I've heard of issues with moisture (from older posts on the forum), and the wall would need a lot of masonry work (new spacing from old joists). We've considered using a ledger board with joist hangers, but the wall is not entirely straight, and it's going to be hard to get a good connection (it won't sit entirely flush). In any case, we'll carry most of the load with the wall framing below, although I'd like a wall connection as well. I know I'm not reinventing the wheel here. What have you all done in the past? Thanks for any tips or advice.
Can you post a photo or two?
 

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Professional Instigator
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I've read this forum for a long time but finally had a real need to post a question.

I'm reframing a large 4 story rowhouse here in DC. Joists were in poor condition, and we decided to gut them and reframe with engineered ijoists (also to accomplish the span and load requirements). I'm wondering how you all would recommend attaching them to the walls. We had thought about repocketing them in the existing holes, but I've heard of issues with moisture (from older posts on the forum), and the wall would need a lot of masonry work (new spacing from old joists). We've considered using a ledger board with joist hangers, but the wall is not entirely straight, and it's going to be hard to get a good connection (it won't sit entirely flush). In any case, we'll carry most of the load with the wall framing below, although I'd like a wall connection as well. I know I'm not reinventing the wheel here. What have you all done in the past? Thanks for any tips or advice.

What do the plans say???
 

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uh, I am assuming brick ext. walls, and if so, there should be a detail on the PLANS from the ENGINEER that give you the details for the ledger and epoxied bolt connection. Should be right next to the height to thickness ratio study on the ext. walls and above the requirement for special inspection and shear test requirements for the brick.
If, and only if this is framed and not brick, and you cannot attach a ledger... put the hammer down... step away from the nail gun...
 

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Sean
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I've read this forum for a long time but finally had a real need to post a question.

I'm reframing a large 4 story rowhouse here in DC. Joists were in poor condition, and we decided to gut them and reframe with engineered ijoists (also to accomplish the span and load requirements). I'm wondering how you all would recommend attaching them to the walls. We had thought about repocketing them in the existing holes, but I've heard of issues with moisture (from older posts on the forum), and the wall would need a lot of masonry work (new spacing from old joists). We've considered using a ledger board with joist hangers, but the wall is not entirely straight, and it's going to be hard to get a good connection (it won't sit entirely flush). In any case, we'll carry most of the load with the wall framing below, although I'd like a wall connection as well. I know I'm not reinventing the wheel here. What have you all done in the past? Thanks for any tips or advice.
In this case, I would call in a professional crew with experience in said matters & add my %. I know just the guy up there - if you need his number just have the owner let me know
 

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I'll just chime in with everybody else...get an engineer. I can't believe the inspector didn't want to see attachment details before the permit was issued. If this issue came up after the permit was issued it is your responsibility to let the inspector know of the change and have him sign off on it. He won't do that without an engineer designing something .
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Engineer has seen the building

I've had my structural engineer in the building. He said I had options, I was just trying to get some feedback from others as to past experiences. I'm the owner/contractor, and I use a skilled framing crew to actually do the work. Also, RB's- I believe you've seen the building. It's on 6th st NW. I bought it as a short sale from a previous owner who had gutted it, started some framing and then began to lose it in foreclosure. I saw one of your signs in the property. I don't know the whole story or what work you did, if any.

I appreciate the warnings about building collapse. I also appreciate the offers for referrals, although I'm not in the market.

pics are up on my site at gormanpropertygroup dot com and then click on the blog link
 

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Al Smith
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what were "your options" as stated by the Engineer of record?

You have to understand the process of how the structure was built originally. They brick up from the basement level and set joists for the first floor. they brick up to the second floor and again set joists. the third, the roof, etc. The joists are what stabilize the masonry party walls and front and rear masonry walls of the building. thats whats tying it all together as a unit. Even if you remove a portion of one floors joists in preparation for ledgers or whatever. You do not know whats going on on the other side of that party wall in the adjacent row house, there could be a thrust force or point load, There could be fractures in the single wyth of brick you do not see on the other side of that party wall. There could be erosion of the mortar or lime putty holding the masonry together in that party wall from failed coping at the parapet. you mention the pockets are not at an acceptable joist spacing, Understand that if you attempt to open up new joist pockets you can be compromising the integrity of that wall. You and your engineer need to walk through the building paying close attention and note every single crack, settlement, bulge or bow in the masonry and come up with a plan.. NOT "options'. You may have to leave the joists in their existing location and supplement the structure with perhaps a steel frame adjacent to the party walls down to pier footings to support your new work and place your wood frame upon that. it might be a good idea to consult with your engineer about movement sensors with alarms so you can get the hell out of there if something starts to move. Working on an old row house is like walking into a 80 year old coal mine with rotten timbers to commence digging. You can have fifteen or twenty years of experience in construction and still not have enough experience to know the hazards you are walking into when dealing with such an old structure. With lime putty masonry. stuff moves around over years and stresses change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks

Points well taken. Made several calls today, will continue to work in the morning to set up a meeting with a different structural engineer later this week before we make any decisions. I'm not confident in the competence of the original engineer. I just want to make sure the work is done correctly. Thanks for all the advice- I'll post after the meeting as a follow-up.
 

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what were "your options" as stated by the Engineer of record?

You have to understand the process of how the structure was built originally. They brick up from the basement level and set joists for the first floor. they brick up to the second floor and again set joists. the third, the roof, etc. The joists are what stabilize the masonry party walls and front and rear masonry walls of the building. thats whats tying it all together as a unit. Even if you remove a portion of one floors joists in preparation for ledgers or whatever. You do not know whats going on on the other side of that party wall in the adjacent row house, there could be a thrust force or point load, There could be fractures in the single wyth of brick you do not see on the other side of that party wall. There could be erosion of the mortar or lime putty holding the masonry together in that party wall from failed coping at the parapet. you mention the pockets are not at an acceptable joist spacing, Understand that if you attempt to open up new joist pockets you can be compromising the integrity of that wall. You and your engineer need to walk through the building paying close attention and note every single crack, settlement, bulge or bow in the masonry and come up with a plan.. NOT "options'. You may have to leave the joists in their existing location and supplement the structure with perhaps a steel frame adjacent to the party walls down to pier footings to support your new work and place your wood frame upon that. it might be a good idea to consult with your engineer about movement sensors with alarms so you can get the hell out of there if something starts to move. Working on an old row house is like walking into a 80 year old coal mine with rotten timbers to commence digging. You can have fifteen or twenty years of experience in construction and still not have enough experience to know the hazards you are walking into when dealing with such an old structure. With lime putty masonry. stuff moves around over years and stresses change.
You can say that again. I do quite a bit of just door work on old row houses in Trenton area and let me tell you, the facade brick can be beautiful and solid but when I pull the old jambs out the courses behind are a crumbling mess. I would hate to be pulling out the structural members on 4 stories and see that.
I would ask the engineer about designing a building inside your brick walls taking all the load off of them and putting it on your new structure. Then tie the brick to your new walls and the brick just becomes a cosmetic fascade.
Of course that's easy for me to say, I'm not the one writing the checks.
 

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Al Smith
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You can say that again. I do quite a bit of just door work on old row houses in Trenton area and let me tell you, the facade brick can be beautiful and solid but when I pull the old jambs out the courses behind are a crumbling mess. I would hate to be pulling out the structural members on 4 stories and see that.
I would ask the engineer about designing a building inside your brick walls taking all the load off of them and putting it on your new structure. Then tie the brick to your new walls and the brick just becomes a cosmetic fascade.
Of course that's easy for me to say, I'm not the one writing the checks.

After I posted that i visited his blog for the pictures, i zoomed in on the arches and some looked peculiar like there was movement. don't know if they were taken before or after the re-pointing. But i saw mention that the mason when extracting the front double window the archway collapsed clear up to the next floor window sill :eek:, I think the building is trying to communicate something to him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just a follow-up. I had another structural engineer come by on Friday. He told me to do basically what I was planning- attach the joists to a lvl ledger. Bolted to the wall with 5/8 hex bolts, staggered spacing, at least 4 in deep in the brick. Use Hilti HY20 adhesive in the masonry to secure the bolts. Fill any spaces where the wall isn't totally flush with non-shrink grout. Advised repointing some places on the inside course of brick on the front wall, although noted that it appeared to be in good shape.

Al, this building is over 100 years old, yes the front has had some settling. It's common for the arches to weaken here in DC, and pretty much every building needs to have the arches replaced.

Dave
 

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Just a follow-up. I had another structural engineer come by on Friday. He told me to do basically what I was planning- attach the joists to a lvl ledger. Bolted to the wall with 5/8 hex bolts, staggered spacing, at least 4 in deep in the brick. Use Hilti HY20 adhesive in the masonry to secure the bolts. Fill any spaces where the wall isn't totally flush with non-shrink grout. Advised repointing some places on the inside course of brick on the front wall, although noted that it appeared to be in good shape.

Al, this building is over 100 years old, yes the front has had some settling. It's common for the arches to weaken here in DC, and pretty much every building needs to have the arches replaced.

Dave
Why does the ledger board need to be an LVL?? The grouting of the ledger board is also a bad idea as well.

Who give you this info??
 

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I did a project a couple of years ago with the same detail. The walls were pretty thick. We placed the double LVL's in the original but now enlarged pocket. We set them on steel plates to separate from masonry bearing and left it open. See the attached picture.

I would also question using LVL for ledger. I think you would be better to use steel angle. It was be straighter and better against masonry than LVL. Definitely use an engineer. I did so that the liability would be on him. And of course make sure you do it exactly as he has drawn. If there are field changes make sure he signs off on it in writing.

I did two whole floors and had to keep the first floor catering business in operation the whoie time. And it was in downtown with nothing but a walk between the building and two major streets.
 

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Just a follow-up. I had another structural engineer come by on Friday. He told me to do basically what I was planning- attach the joists to a lvl ledger. Bolted to the wall with 5/8 hex bolts, staggered spacing, at least 4 in deep in the brick. Use Hilti HY20 adhesive in the masonry to secure the bolts. Fill any spaces where the wall isn't totally flush with non-shrink grout. Advised repointing some places on the inside course of brick on the front wall, although noted that it appeared to be in good shape.

Al, this building is over 100 years old, yes the front has had some settling. It's common for the arches to weaken here in DC, and pretty much every building needs to have the arches replaced.

Dave
Hey Dave
Sorry for breathing life into an old thread but I was wondering how this worked out for you. I had a few questions and was trying to PM you but it wouldn’t let me. Not sure if I need a certain number of posts before I can message someone directly.
Thanks
Kevin
 
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