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Question: Joining an Existing Ridgeline
Question from James – in Georgia
We are adding a large porch to the front of our home. The home also features a large chimney at the front of the home.
This is the Question:

How do I join the ridge beam into the existing structure where there’s a brick chimney stack?

I love questions of the week I’m going to help James answer a question he sent me from Georgia.

[Click to follow along with the Transcript]

The home also features a large chimney at the front of the home. So, to describe it, it’s on two pillars in the front of the home and James is trying to take the home’s ridgeline out, over the patio.

How do I join the ridge beam into an existing structure where there’s a brick chimney stack?

Looking up the picture that you sent me, it’s a little trickier than I thought. First, I have a question for you, James. Did you get an engineer involved? The beam doesn’t look like it has a lot of support on the chimney end. The ridgeline is usually resting where the piers are; from the center beam. So, it looks like it aesthetically will go into the chimney section.

And by the way, even though there’s not a whole lot of weight, you’ll want to add some type of Simpson Bracket, maybe an inverted bracket, where the screws are inside and you don’t have this big metal flange hanging out. Drill that into the bricks. You’d have to drill holes with a mortar bit, and then countersink some type of bolts in there. Make sure to use bolts that are meant for masonry. Inverted Simpson brackets, though they’re not carrying a lot of weight, are for aesthetics.

That will give you some stability because your main load is way out on the piers.

Chimney foundations are massive

I would encourage you, in this case, the diagram looks right, it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot of weight bearing on that beam going into the chimney. You’ll want to verify that with an engineer. You don’t want to have a structural problem down the road.

Besides that, it looks beautiful. You’re doing a great job. It’s funny when the footing is poured for the chimney foundation it doesn’t have to be perfectly square or even, the footing is whatever is left over in the cement truck. That’s where they do their clean out. Everything goes into that big lump of concrete.

Then the chimney is actually built on top of that. So chances are you have a massive foundation. It’ll hold the weight of the ridgeline. But again, you should have a Simpson bracket there to connect the two.

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Get an engineer to make sure you’re doing it right.

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