Installing a Flush Flitch-Plate Beam

We started by removing cabinets and appliances, then cut back a 2-foot width of ceiling drywall so that we could build a temporary studwall to support the second-floor framing over the kitchen.

Next, we took out the windows, leaving as much of the framing intact as we could, then removed the rim joist and exposed the ends of the second-floor joists.

Because the fully assembled beam would measure 4 1/8 inches thick (1 3/4-inch microlam 5/8-inch steel plate 1 3/4- inch microlam), we had to cut back the ends of the floor joists 2 5/8 inches to accommodate the additional thickness.

With most of the floor system still supported by the wall framing, this gave us a little extra peace of mind as we angled the microlam into place and used our sledgehammer to pound it tight against the joist ends.

Because the fit was tight, we occasionally had to run our reciprocating saw in between the top of the microlam and the subfloor to gain an additional 1/8 inch of wiggle room.

Next we installed the steel plate.

We shimmed the steel flush with the top of the microlam and wedged it in place with scrap 2x4s to make sure it didn’t tip forward, then drilled out the bolt holes in the microlam behind it.

After hammering the bolts through both microlams and the steel and securing them with washers and nuts, we installed our joist hangers and then removed the remaining existing wall below the new beam.

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