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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    2

    Question Installing engineered beams

    We own a 1970 ranch style house in Kansas. We are planning on taking out the wall between the kitchen & living room, which is a spans of 20'. It is a load bearing wall and have been told by an engineer that we need 3 wood beams (side-by-side)that are 20' long and 18" deep. The beams will be in the attic completely since we can't afford the headspace. Ok, our only problem is how to get the beam in our attic. We have 8' ceilings & a hip (sp?)roof. We've been told that we'd have to tear out part of our roof to install these. Would it be a possibility to use steal beams (we have a metal fab shop)so that the beams can be cut in half & bolted together after we get it in the attic? It's the end of November & Kansas winters can be pretty harsh, but we can't start until after Jan 1. If we could avoid the roof tear-out, I would love it! Of course, we'll be consulting our engineer again but would love to hear from the guys with so much experience! Any words of wisdom?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    693

    Default Re: Installing engineered beams

    I would move the house to Australia. (Where it is summer time) Do the work and then return it to Kansas next year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    The Great White North
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    4,045

    Default Re: Installing engineered beams

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexa View Post
    We own a 1970 ranch style house in Kansas. We are planning on taking out the wall between the kitchen & living room, which is a spans of 20'. It is a load bearing wall and have been told by an engineer that we need 3 wood beams (side-by-side)that are 20' long and 18" deep. The beams will be in the attic completely since we can't afford the headspace. Ok, our only problem is how to get the beam in our attic. We have 8' ceilings & a hip (sp?)roof. We've been told that we'd have to tear out part of our roof to install these. Would it be a possibility to use steal beams (we have a metal fab shop)so that the beams can be cut in half & bolted together after we get it in the attic? It's the end of November & Kansas winters can be pretty harsh, but we can't start until after Jan 1. If we could avoid the roof tear-out, I would love it! Of course, we'll be consulting our engineer again but would love to hear from the guys with so much experience! Any words of wisdom?
    Yep ---- steel beams are usually my first choice for situations like yours.
    The thing I see with your proposal is the splice ---- usually the splice isn't unsupported mid-span. In other words the splice usually sits on a support column.
    The other issue if the engineer specs a crown to the steel beam for deflection ---- say 1/2 inch for example ---- this needs to be a gradual arch for the entire run-------- which is difficult to achieve at a splice.

    In a retrofit situation an under mount beam can work just fine aesthetically and simpler to install---- depending on the depth of the beam ---- typically steel will tend to be not as deep as compared to wood.
    This way the beam can be put into place from the inside of the space without ripping the roof open or tearing too much of the ceiling out.

    One way to carry the beam point loads down to the foundation ----- set the support column in the exterior wall at one end ------ set the beam on this column ------ lift the other end of the beam and set the other column.

    Or ------- you can set your support column on the inside of the exterior wall. This can be a little easier to install the beam since you will have the depth of the framing to push the beam back to allow some wiggle room in setting the other end into place ----- requires only a pocket cut in the wall.
    However --- this would likely require to set a support column all the way down to a footing if there is a basement or crawl space underneath ---- for the point loads ------ depends.

    Of course temporary support walls will be in place while removing the bearing wall and setting the beam in place.


    Just a thought.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    1,387

    Default Re: Installing engineered beams

    Howdy, You could make the beam in the attic by using 3 2" by 18" by 20' glue lambs and apply a heavy bead of pl premium adhesive in numerous beads all over each side of the beams that bond to each other . Nailing with ring shank nails and finishing with 5/8" lag bolts 16" on center 4" from bottom and top. But first how to get the beam into the attic. But a as 20' single glue lamb is heavy and unless you can slide it in one to the attic cavity ( it does not bend) it's easier go with opening the roof 24" by 1'and sliding it across the ceiling joist. However the ceiling may crack from deflection due to the possibly bumping of the joist and loading. Better would be to have a beam delivered and slide it in with the help of a few strong friends....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Installing engineered beams

    or you could go through a gable end especially if you have a gable vent. by taking the vent out could go through vent opening

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    2

    Talking Re: Installing engineered beams

    Thanks for the tips everyone! We probably will mount them in the attic still. I just don't have much headroom inside otherwise, of course I'm only 5'2" but anyone normal height won't have headroom . Still not 100% sure, but will probably use steal rather than wood. Not too worried about cracking the sheetrock in the ceiling, as we'll be gutting most of it anyway. Although we own a metal fab shop, a couple of our guys are really good carpenters & sheetrockers. Thank goodness, because I wasn't sure if my marriage was going to last through our bathroom sheetrock project. lol Thanks again, I really do appreciate the advice! I'll let you know what we decide to do.

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