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snyderjp33
main support beam in 85 year old house

Ok my main support beam is 23 feet long resting on the outside foundations on the east and west side of the house then also on a 2 foot by 2 foot pier in the center of the basement. A 43 inch section was cut out right next to the center pier so it is supported by the pier and then where the cut was made there is a steel post. Is there a way to connect the beam? should I add more posts? The short part of the beam that is held up by the post and foundation sags about an inch in comparison to the rest of the beam/floor. My house is 1 1/2 story and has a larger door way right above the beam from dining room to living room. I think the section was cut out over 30 or 40 years ago. And I never noticed it until we replaced the old furnace since that was right where it was. Any suggestions please!!

MLB Construction
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house

very tough to give you any advice without seeing/examining it. but, from what you described, you might have a major structural problem on your hands. i would advise you to get a contractor that specializes in structural work or an engineer in to look at what you have and determine what, if anything, needs to be done.

like i tell everyone.... better to spend a few hundred dollars on an engineer or structural contractor now than to spend 10x or 100x that amount when something bad finally happens.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house

Sometimes those beams also keep the structure from spreading out sidewards. But I can't tell from my desk, even if I stand on my chair.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house

I agree with MLB, you need to have this checked out by a structural engineer.

Jack

snyderjp33
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house

If I were to place sandwiched 2x's in where it is cut out, join the old with the new using metal plates and put a post underneath would that be sufficient?

keith3267
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house

Here is what I am picturing in my mind, tell me if this is right. The house originally had a 23' long beam running lengthwise under the main floor, that is it runs in the same direction as the roof ridge. It rests on the foundation (basement) walls on each end and has a 2x2' column in the center, probably some type of masonry.

A 43" section was cut out some time ago to accommodate a furnace and a steel column was used to support the cut end of the beam. So now you have about a 12.5' beam resting on the foundation wall and the masonry column in the center and a shorter beam, 12.5'-43", or about 8' beam resting on the foundation wall at the other end of the house and on a steel beam 43" away from the masonry column. ❙⎺⎺⎺⎺❙ ❘⎺⎺⎺❙

Are you saying that the steel post is about an 1" shorter than the masonry column? If so, then this could be that there is not a proper footing under the steel post. The beam would have to be jacked up nest to the steel post, remove it, dig out and pour a solid footing and then replace the steel post.

Is there sagging in the floor between the steel post and the masonry column, I would guess that there is if there is 43" of unsupported floor. You would need to put in 2x's to fill this gap and to support the floor. How you do all this would depend on the recommendations of a structural engineer.

Another alternative would be to cut the longer beam to length in the center of the masonry column so that the beam only rests on half of it, then put up a temporary supporting wall on either side of the other beam, remove the beam supported by the steel post completely and install a new beam that goes from the foundation wall to the center of the masonry column. That will eliminate the steel post all together and restore the foundation to its original configuration.

I think you will need some pro help with this route. You don't want the house to fall down on you while doing this job.

dj1
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house

Call a local pro, even a general contractor, as suggested. It will be money well spent.

snyderjp33
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house

Keith,
You were think exactly how it is laid out in my basement. The steel post is only sitting on the poured floor. I like your idea of taking out the section of beam and putting new in. With either situation I am probably looking at window, door and wall trouble right when it is jacked up right?

keith3267
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house

Not necessarily, it depends on whether any modifications have been done after the floor began to sag. If any doors were adjusted for the sagging, they will have to be adjusted again. The plaster on the walls may have been patched and painted when the floor sagged, so guess what is going to happen when the floor is jacked up.

Windows should not be a problem, nothing on exterior walls should be affected, only doors and walls that are resting on this beam.

LeonardHomes
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house
snyderjp33 wrote:

The steel post is only sitting on the poured floor. I like your idea of taking out the section of beam and putting new in. With either situation I am probably looking at window, door and wall trouble right when it is jacked up right?

You definately need a structural engineer to appraise the situation first hand and make the apporpriate recommendations as to what will need to be done and with what materials. From there a permit submission and inspection will need to happen since this is a major structural issue.
The steel column can't simply be resting on the floor without a proper footing below. Considering a section of almost 4 feet of the main carry beam is missing (or at least considerably notched ) would likely need to be replaced.
This is a lot of work and really should be performed by a professional contractor.

Yes, there will be some consequential cracking of walls ( possibly up to the second level ) when the structure is raised and lowered.

snyderjp33
Re: main support beam in 85 year old house

Taking a closer look at it now I have found that the two floor joists that would rest on the part of the beam that is missing have a built box using hangers that connects them to joists that are resting on the original beam. I was able to talk with a contractor that looked at it and said that both sides sag to the center 2 foot by 2 foot column roughly an inch each. He suggested to put a beam in the gap section made up of 2 x 6's and supported by a permanent adjustable steel column. Also, he suggested placing a the same type of steel column next to the one that is already there and also on the other side of the 2 foot by 2 foot column. He said that if we can deal with the minor floor difference that we would not need to jack up the beam. What are everyones ideas on this?

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