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Do these posts/columns serve any structural purpose, or only decorative?

Do these posts/columns serve any structural purpose, or only decorative?

Old 09-12-16, 11:03 PM
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Do these posts/columns serve any structural purpose, or only decorative?

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We're working on our split entry ranch house built in 1975. There are some 4x4" cedar (I'm assuming) posts that had been painted by the previous owner, between the main hallway running through the center of the house and the living room (pic 1 & 3), and also between the living room and kitchen/dining area (pic 2a & 2b & 3).

I was originally wanting to remove as much of the "decorative" pieces of the post as possible (see highlighted areas in pics 4a & 4b), and then add trim to make it look similar to this inspiration photo (pic 5). Or better yet, I would love to remove them altogether or at least only cut down to 2 posts instead of 4.

I am a concerned that some of these pieces may actually serve some sort of structural purpose. I've done as much research as possible online, but am still unsure.

The house sits on a concrete slab, lower level is garage and "basement" area. Top level (the area in question) is the majority of the living space. The floor joists run perpendicular to the "post/decorative wall between the living room and hallway. Trusses in roof. Living room has a cathedral ceiling. None of the cedar posts sit on top of any of the metal pole supports on the lower level, but they do sit in line directly above the steel I-beam that can be seen on the ceiling of the lower level.

I can provide any more info if needed. (Please disregard the mess and the painting in progress!)
Any help or advice would be much appreciated! TIA
Old 09-13-16, 04:25 AM
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If the engineered trusses span the width of the house - the post and header would be decorative and not load bearing BUT it's still best to go in the attic and verify! Does the drywall extend under the header or does it stop at the edge. A load bearing wall/header would installed prior to the drywall being hung.
Old 09-13-16, 04:27 AM
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Welcome to the forums! It appears this beam is load bearing, but the stand alone post seems to not be a part of it, but rather a demarcation point for the hallway. I would call in a structural engineer to give blessings for removal of any vertical support. The corbels definitely are not supportive, but decorative.
Old 09-23-16, 01:05 PM
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Thank you marksr & chandler!

Wow! I got super busy there. I had a chance to see both your responses, but hadn't had a chance to reply until now. Thank you both so much for your advice and help marksr & chandler!

So I went ahead and ripped out the corbels and the wall partitions and it made a HUGE difference. Also pulled the trim off the beam so I could see what we were working with. THEN, my husband INSISTED that it would be ok to remove the 2 posts in the center of the beam, and down they came

I know you all had a pretty solid recommendation that we consult a structural engineer prior to removing any vertical supports, but since it's done.......do you mind sharing your thoughts? One of the posts was moved to the end of the beam (next to the post under beam #2 that runs perpendicular to this one) It's a 13' span between the posts on either end. Is that too much? I mean, the house hasn't fallen down yet.......but, you know, I kinda don't want it to

To answer the question about the drywall for the ceiling, it does not go under the beam. Easiest to see it in the second pic below.

I love love love how open it makes it, but if we should add the posts back to keep the house from falling on us, I'll do it! Thanks again!! (btw, the crack/separation in the ceiling on the second pic has been there since we moved in and isn't from this project)
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