Steel Overkill?Much of the structural work described in the article "Expanding a Kitchen" (8/11) appears to be excessive or not effective. (It is also of interest that while plans by an "engineer" are noted, the name of the engineer is not reported.) First, the flitch beam does not appear to be necessary. Scaling from your floor plan (using a stair width of 7.5 feet), the beam span appears to be 14 feet 4 inches. For a "suburban Maryland" location, ground snow load is very likely either 20 or 25 psf, meaning roof snow load is then less than 20 psf...

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