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Popeye42 12-18-2010 05:04 PM

Beam Replacement
I have started a bathroom remodel, and unfortunately it is getting bigger than I anticipated. After gutting the original bathroom and pulling up the tile floor, I decided to pull up the subfloor planks to be able to replace 2 joists that had been lowered to make the tile floor level with the existing floor. Once I had the subfloor up, I found that the beam that the joists were attached to was nearly completely eaten by termites (old damage). So I need to replace the beam. I got a bunch of questions to make sure I do this correctly.

The house (crawlspace) was built in 1947, and obviously the bathroom had been remodeled sometime in the past. The joists are 2" x 8 1/8" rough cut (actual dimensions) (not sure of wood type), and are just short of 8' long (~92"). The beam is two 2" x 8" nominal boards with 2" x 2" boards attached to help support the joists. The joists are notched to receive the 2" x 2". The other end of the joists attaches to the rim joist and sits on the foundation wall (again they are notched on this end as well). The eaten beam sits on brick pillars. One end is at the edge of the bathroom wall, and the other runs probably 30' from the bathroom through the kitchen and is supported by two more pillars. I plan on removing the beam from its bathroom end to the middle of the first pillar. I have removed all the floor joists in the bathroom area for access, and the joists for the floor on the other side of the beam run parallel to the beam, so easy access on that side. I will support the one other beam that runs into the beam to be replaced while it is being removed. Now for the questions:

What is the best method for attaching the replacement section of beam into the remaining original beam?

The joists are 2" x 8 1/8". Do they make joist hangers for that size lumber? Not really confident in the 2" x 2" supports.

Should I just replace all the old joists with 2 x 8 joists on 12" or 16" centers?

All help is appreciated.


wombosi 12-19-2010 07:26 PM

hey friend,
sounds like a doozy.

1) attaching new "beam" (rim joist) to old:
make sure you stagger the members, meaning cut one of them back at least 2' longer, so one of the new boards laps the old, and pepper it with nails or deck screws. both of your new boards should fall on the brick pier (one somewhere in the middle, and the other one cantilevered out over a bit.
if this setup is impractical, you can simply butt the new members to the old, and use a steel gusset or angle to bridge the two.

2) as for joists, if the existing 2X8s are sound, use them.
the 2X2 ledger is the way everyone used to build, until code required joist hangers. there is nothing wrong with the 2X2 ledger and notched joist structurally, especially with a 2X8 spanning only 8'.

if the ends are punky and you've already removed t hem, use a new 2X8 with a standard joist hanger, 16" OC.

good luck.

Popeye42 12-22-2010 09:23 AM

New Problem!!!

Got the bad girder replaced, but have found some additional termite eaten wood that will need to be replaced. I also found a girder that was almost completely cut in two in two places. Once for the old toilet vent stack, and once for an air conditioning duct.

Problem 1 - Partition Wall
How to support a partition wall (~ 8 ft) while replacing a joist that ran under it? Parallel to it. I am pretty sure it is not load bearing as the ceiling joists run parallel to it, and the wall was only being held up by a 2x4 attached to the side of the joist. This wall has all the plumbing for a dual vanity running up through the bottom, so not a lot of room.

Problem 2 - Girder that has been cut.
A partition wall, based on ceiling joist running parallel and wall only runs about 8 feet, runs above girder. The girder does support the floor joists for the bedroom next to the bathroom though. I plan on supporting on the affected joists with a 6x6 beam and jack posts, and the removal of the girder should not be so hard, but how do I support the wall above it while replacing the girder?

Problem 3 - Rotten bottom plate.
The bottom plate on the wall above the girder is also rotten/termite eaten where the old sink was. It is also cut in many sections as described for the girder above. How do I replace the bottom plate and support the wall?


Daniel Holzman 12-22-2010 10:12 AM

You seem to have a major project going. The last couple of issues you bring up relate to temporary support while installing a new beam. Most contractors support the joists above using posts and beams, with the posts supported on temporary foundation supports. When I did my kitchen beam project, I used a pair of 2x10's nailed together on either side of the new beam, supported by doubled 2x4 posts on either end, with a 2x10 base to support the posts.

You need to size the temporary support adequately to hold up the load, which means you need to calculate the load. If you are not comfortable computing the load, you may want to consult with a structural engineer or an architect, its a bad day when the temporary bracing comes down before the beam goes up.

As for the beam splice you referred to earlier, I would at least consider installing a foundation post where the two beams meet. If the post is adequately sized, there is no need to overlap the two beams, you simply attach each beam to the post using an appropriate bracket (Simpson makes a wide variety of post caps for just such an application.

I am sure you know there are codes that govern the required size of the beams, the amount of overlap needed, the methods of attachment, and the type of fasteners required. These would all have been reviewed if you pulled a permit, but possibly you did not get a permit, in which case you should verify that you are meeting code with your design, as some day you are going to want to sell the house, and the new buyer might be interested in the structural framing.

Popeye42 12-23-2010 10:29 AM

I do plan on supporting the joists that are attached to the beam during replacement with a temporary 6x6 beam and jack posts on block. The ceiling rafters run parallel to the wall so nothing to support there. The problem I am having is how to support the partition wall directly above the beam to be replaced?

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