How to Remove Roof Joists

There can be various reasons of removing roof joists. One of the common reasons is to transform the existing ceiling to the cathedral like ceiling in your house. Another reason to remove joists may be to create an attic living space. Joists form the trusses in the shape of triangles in the roofs. They keep the roof in its position and take the bearable amount of the stress due to load and maintain the roof and wall structure also. You cannot just jeopardize this structural system of the roof and joists.

Joists are important elements in structural integrity and they cannot be removed without providing the alternative elements to take the load support elsewhere. Replacing the joist is not a simple task. It requires a careful planning. You should consult an engineer or architect to make any changes as the roof joists support the roof and at the same time transfer the load to bearing walls. You should not attempt to disturb the joist structure without any expertise.

Material to be used

  • Dumpster
  • Joint tape
  • Joint compound
  • 1/2-inch drywall
  • Steel turnbuckles
  • Steel bolts
  • Coarse-thread drywall screws
  • Reciprocating saw

Step 1: Examining the Structure

Get the help of the experts to check the existing structure before attempting to remove any joist. You cannot risk the structure to collapse as the bearing walls are important to consider. The joist forms a part of an integral structure and cannot be just removed independently.

Step 2: Planning

Plan with the help of experts how the joists are to be removed without causing any collapse.

Step 3: Removing the Drywall

Follow the plan. Start with the removal of drywall under the joist. Discard the drywall in a dumpster. Next, remove drywall on the upper half portion of all the four walls.

Step 4: Securing Exterior Wall Intersections

Secure the intersections of the exterior walls by fixing up heavy-duty steel bolts. Screw the bolts into the studs at end of walls in order to firmly affix each wall section to the two other wall sections intersecting it. This is necessary before cutting the joists to remove them.

Step 5: Cutting the Joists

Cut the joists level with the inner sides of the two exterior walls where they rest upon. Use a reciprocating saw for cutting joists. Remove each joist one by one. Be careful; ensure that the rafters are not disturbed. Fix a steel turnbuckle on the alternative rafter pair at about one third of the distance on the rafter from the edge of the roof.

Step 6: Installing Dry Ball under Rafters

Fix the drywall below the rafters. Also replace the drywall you had removed from top of the walls. Secure the dry wall with the help of coarse threaded screws into their frames.

Finish drywall with compound and tape. Finish the dry wall by sanding and painting the walls. Also finish the ceiling.

Only remove the framing after the consultation with the expert as planned after determining the role of the particular member in the joist structure.  Use all safety measure while working.