We are currently restoring a farm house. (1870?) Balloon framed, obviously. When investigating the appropriate size LAM beam to support a stair opening, it was brought to our attention that the 2x8 floor joists were of insufficient size for the 16 foot span. Even as a week end renovator, I should have known. I am currently weighing our options and want to make the best decision regarding cost/labor/time and want a safe structure when we are finished. 2 4 ply 7 1/4 lam beams and 1 3 ply 7 1/4 lam beam will safely frame in the stair opening. This structure will cover half of the floor area of the gable end of the house. One option is to mirror this structure on the opossite end of the gable and the end result "should" be a reliable second floor on the gable end of the house. (this is the only part we have opened) This will obviously be expensive and labor intensive given 4 ply and 3 ply beams and special order hangers. Another thought I have had, not sure if it can be done, is to remove the rib beam allowing the use of standard 2x12 lumber and cross bracing. Would be cheaper and a little less difficult. Has anyone ever had this situation and what did you do? What would you recommend? Thanks.