When I'm reviewing the prints for a remodeling job, one of the first items I check for is the addition of new structural beams, which always require plenty of manpower and extra work. But prints don't always give you a clear picture of actual site conditions.

Such was the case with a split-level home we recently remodeled. To increase room size on the ground floor, the plans called for the removal of a bearing wall, which would be replaced with a 15-foot-long beam made from a pair of 1 3/4-inch-by-14-inch Microllam LVL joists. The problem was that setting this 14-inch-deep beam flush to the top of...

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