Home>Discussions>HEALTH & SAFETY>Gap between load balancing beams in basement
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jimd772
Gap between load balancing beams in basement

I noticed I have a half inch gap between the load balancing beams where they meet on top of Lally column. The Lally column is made of concrete and solid underneath. There is no visible cracks on the basement floor near the lally column. I have a total of 4 Lally columns in the basement and this is only happening to 1 Lally column. These beams are right below my stairs to the basement and about 6 inches to the right. There are 3 beams and they are all level underneath but the vertical part of the beam is not level in multiple spots across multiple beams. House is 26 years old and a 2 story Gambrel. Should I put some sort of steel plate into both beams where they meet to prevent the gap from expanding or is the half inch gap acceptable and I do not need to do anything?

dj1
Re: Gap between load balancing beams in basement

A picture or two will help.

You can load your pics onto a host like photobucket, then post the link here.

jimd772
Re: Gap between load balancing beams in basement
dj1
Re: Gap between load balancing beams in basement

From your pictures, it looks like the beams are fine. However I can't guaranty my assessment without actual inspection.

If you worry a bit too much, install a Simpson Connectors - it will be attached to both beams securely.

ed21
Re: Gap between load balancing beams in basement

The beams look okay to me too. If the joint used to be tight, the wood has probably shrunk a bit.
I assume the columns are attached to the beams, even if they aren't the weight of the house should hold everything in place.

Fencepost
Re: Gap between load balancing beams in basement

What I see is that the "beam" is actually several 2x10s or 2x12s ganged together. I can't tell from here if they are glued, nailed, or otherwise fastened together. My guess is that the center one spans across the lally column with no joint there -- that would be the proper way to do it for best stiffness.

It looks to me like the end of one or both 2xWhatevers wasn't cut square. Wood shrinks very little along the length of the grain, so shrinkage should not be noticeable here. If the beam was sagging in the middle (between columns) then that could be a cause for concern.

There is probably nothing to worry about, but if you insist on worrying, you could contact a structural engineer, who may charge for the advice.

ed21
Re: Gap between load balancing beams in basement
Fencepost wrote:

What I see is that the "beam" is actually several 2x10s or 2x12s ganged together. I can't tell from here if they are glued, nailed, or otherwise fastened together. My guess is that the center one spans across the lally column with no joint there -- that would be the proper way to do it for best stiffness.

I didn't pick up the beam was built up. You're probably right about the member in the center.
An engineer will charge you to look at it. Time is money as the expression goes.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Gap between load balancing beams in basement
Fencepost wrote:

It looks to me like the end of one or both 2xWhatevers wasn't cut square. Wood shrinks very little along the length of the grain, so shrinkage should not be noticeable here. If the beam was sagging in the middle (between columns) then that could be a cause for concern.

There is probably nothing to worry about, but if you insist on worrying, you could contact a structural engineer, who may charge for the same advice.

Fixed that for ya Fencepost. Agreed on not seeming to be anything to worry about.

Phil

jimd772
Re: Gap between load balancing beams in basement

Thank you everyone for the advice. The beams are 2 x 10's and nailed together. I checked all 3 beams in between columns and they are indeed level underneath.

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