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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    40

    Default Converting Garage Into Living Space

    I have a split level home and would like to convert the garage into a family room. However, there is a H beam that runs through the middle of it perpendicular to the joists for the floor above. This is not a problem except that there is a column in the middle that I'd like to remove. Currently the span is 22'. My plan is to have the finished space about 17' of this.

    There is one floor above, no attic above that, only a crawl space. I live in the northern Midwest (Chicago).

    Can this beam be supported by adding additional columns at either end? Would a different beam do the job? Is any of this feasible? Headroom is currently only 7'9" so I'd prefer not to add a deeper beam if possible.

    Thanks for any help.

    (Yes I plan on consulting an architect or engineer eventually.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
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    4,045

    Default Re: Converting Garage Into Living Space

    I would have to guess what you're describing is likely a steel I beam used for supporting the floor joists and structure above ... since the span is 22 feet.

    The beauty of using a steel I beam is it can be used to span longer distances .... to a point ... by determining the the thickness of the material and the depth of the beam.
    Likely when the garage with the upper floor was incorporated the steel beam was the minimum size requiring a support column in the middle.... because of cousin gravity.

    The architect and/or engineer would have the definitive answer as to what can be done with the beam. It might include welding additional material or removing and replace with a thicker and deeper I beam .....depends .... it would be their call on that one.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Converting Garage Into Living Space

    Thanks canuk. The house was built in 1960. Are there materials available today that could span a 17' distance with the same profile?

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

    Default Re: Converting Garage Into Living Space

    Yep ... you betcha ... there is man-made engineered lumber that is widely used .

    These would include those that use laminating veneers of wood .... much like plywood.... in different thickness and depths .... as well those that orient strands of wood .... similar to OSB ... in different thickness and depth.

    There are the less common ones that use dimensional lumber glued together in a specific configuration .... again in different thickness and depths. These were the first types used decades ago.

    Steel is a good choice as well .... just that it's harder to drive a nail or screw into .

    As for the same profile .... that would depend on the calculated factors the architect or engineer would determine.

    Hope this helps.

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