Update - Mar 02, 2014
This weekend was a MAJOR milestone in my epic theater trek. More on that in a bit.
But first, I finished the first layer on my bearing wall. This is the hall wall, so it'll eventually have three layers on it (one layer of 3/4" particle board and two layers of 1/2" drywall with GG).
The mud job is not perfect because it doesn't need to be. The outer two layers will hide all of this layer and so all I'm shooting for now is some level of (temporary) air-tightness. I say "temporary" because even if it does shrink and crack in the future, it won't matter because I'm going to be caulking the next two layers.
In any event, I still am going to create a temporary door (of sorts). So far, it's just a hunk of rigid foam that I press against the opening. Good thing we're having great weather, so I don't need
to spend the time creating something better. I will, though.
But all that's just pre-amble to what I'm currently pumped about. Those who have read this entire build thread know well about my Evil Support Post - The Bane of My Theater. It's this:
So innocuous looking, but because it is simultaneously a major support for the roof AND is practically in the middle of where the theater is going to be, it's been the focus of nearly everything I've done to date. Well, it's no more!!!
I started by installing the new 4x4 post as specified by the engineering plan. This uses Simpson Strong Tie connectors on the top and bottom -- both as specified in the plan. It's right on top of my new bearing wall, which is an exterior wall and thus outside of the theater envelope. I did need to sister another 2x8 to the top beam since the post-and-beam connector was expecting two 2x boards and there was only one there:
I then tackled the Evil Support Post itself. I won't lie -- this was just a bit scary. I know that the engineers signed off on a plan, but I couldn't shake the thought out of my head that they could be wrong and what if getting rid of the Evil Post caused the roof to collapse. So I went by this very
gingerly and took quite some time. I started by cutting away one of the sides of the post, leaving the core of the post, which was supporting all of the weight (if any, at this point). I started cutting through it with a power tool, but stopped when I realized that I needed to be able to hear if the roof was making any noises. I got out my hand saw and finished the cuts manually. I kept waiting to feel if the blade bound at all. If it did, then that meant that the post was still supporting a load -- which it shouldn't be! I was able to fully cut through without the blade binding. Whew!
I carefully started edging the cut off piece out... but quickly discovered that it was nailed into the other support board. Out came the sawzall and it made quick work of the nails. But now... the board wouldn't wiggle free easily. In fact, the saw width gap that was there before was gone! Did that mean that the roof was sinking?! I was suddenly really wishing that I had cut a deeper kerf in the board, since the 1/32" to 1/16" thickness of a hand-saw isn't a lot to go by. I started getting really worried at this point, though, and so I installed a "canary post". Think "canary in a coal mine". In this case, it was a 2x4 that I firmly nailed into the top beam but left hanging off of the bottom plate by the thickness of a nail. I then slipped a nail underneath:
I made sure that the canary post would swing freely, just a tiny bit. My thinking was that if the roof started sagging, then the canary board would touch down on the bottom footing firmly and I'd have my answer that it was moving when it shouldn't be. So my procedure was to wiggle the cut-off piece of the support beam a tiny bit and then tap the canary beam to see if it was still loose. Wiggle-tap, wiggle-tap, wiggle-tap. After ten minutes of very tiny movements, the cut-off piece popped off... and the canary post was still just as free as it was before. Whoooooo.
It didn't take too much longer after that to remove the last support board and then to pop off the 2x4 braces. And at long last, the Evil Support Post was no more!!
You can see my canary post still attached, in that photo. I kept it there overnight to make sure that there was no movement. There wasn't.
The next day was all about taking care of the two other support requirements. The first was a support that held up a bracing beam. That was essentially just moving it three feet back. In the following photo, you can still see a remnant of the old support on the left. The other support was for the sagging valley beam on the right. The engineering plan said to sister a 2x6 along the length of it, but that was going to be too much of a pain. I elected, instead, to create my own post of three 2x4s and secure it to my bearing wall and to the valley beam. My thinking is that that beam has mostly supported the roof just fine for 30 years (only a little sagging) and by putting a solid post right in the center of it means that each half will now only have to support half of the load as before. It should be fine.
And so that's it! All three supports are outside of the theater envelope and so I'm now free to tear down all of the remaining walls and joists. That'll be my next update. It'll be the first time that I'll truly see the full size of what the theater will be. Can't wait!!