Framing a taller exterior wall inside the existing wall

Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.

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Framing a taller exterior wall inside the existing wall

Post by PeacefulWarrior »

Hello, I am new to the forum and hope to find some good advice.

I recently purchased a 1945 Cape Cod. We are renovating the house including raising the back roof of the house to have a full height ceiling in the "attic" which will be for the master bedroom. We plan to tear off the roof from the ridge beam to the back of the house, build a new back wall, and then build to our new height.

My problem is the house has asbestos siding underneath the vinyl siding. My intention is to not have to disturb the siding as much as possible because we have no reason to touch 3/4 of the house's siding. The only time we would have to deal with the siding is if we re-framed the gable-end walls from the ridge beam towards the back of the house. The house is 2x4 balloon frame.

I would like to keep the existing walls as they are, remove the top plates, and then run new 2x4 from the floor up to the new wall height. I would sister my new 2x4 against the existing. I think I have to do something for a bottom plate, but I'm not sure what to do. This is only for (11) bays on each side of the house. Finally I would have to cut my sheathing to fit against the existing, and probably fur it out.

Has anyone ever done or seen something similar to what I am trying to do?

FYI I can't step the addition walls in towards the center of my house because my stairs run perpendicular to my gable walls and it would diminish the landing at the top of my stairs (which is already only about 26").

Thank you,

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Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2003 11:36 am
Location: Central New York

Re: Framing a taller exterior wall inside the existing wall

Post by Joel »

Our house is a cape with a "shed" dormer similar to what you are describing. Be careful. The ridge "beam" may not be a beam at all, and creating this extra space may disturb the integrity of the roof structure. Many such conversions end up with sagging roofs, tilting walls, leaky roofs and ice dams (ours had all of these!). In my opinion the asbestos siding is the least of the issues. It is not dangerous in its present form. Just don't saw, sand or otherwise pulverize it to release fibers. In New York the homeowner is allowed to remove it.

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