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Old 01-02-2009, 04:30 AM   #1
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Replace Main Beam in different location?


So I'm buying a duplex, built in 1900, the floors of which sag from the outside towards the center. The reason is because someone cut six feet off of the main beam towards the back of the house, what's left of the beam is sagging, and the support posts are either leaning or generally no longer good.

The problem: the beam, which runs down the middle of the house, either runs through some part of the chimney (perhaps some part of the masonry that's not actual chimney) and is surrounded by the boilers, water heaters, and a web of pipes very near the chimney. So access to the beam ranges from cramped to impossible.

My questions: Can I replace this beam with two new beams, one on each side of the original? If so, do these beams have to run the full span, or can I use shorter beams so long as they're supported by footed posts?

In my mind this seems to offer better support to the entire structure - two instead of one beam.

Also, if I jack the floors up some (the sag is 3 inches at it's most severe in the corner of the main floor kitchen) do I risk tearing up the masonry of the chimney through which the current beam is either attached or runs through?

Thoughts? Ideas? Thank you, and I love this forum!

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Old 01-02-2009, 06:03 AM   #2
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Replace Main Beam in different location?


You should post some pictures. Someone may offer advice but most likely they will recommend getting a structural engineer to look at it.

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Old 01-02-2009, 10:56 PM   #3
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Replace Main Beam in different location?


I will try to get some pics asap. Structural engineers around here (Minneapolis) run 1k. Every place and person I've contacted is around this much. I've no concern other than the sagging floor.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:43 PM   #4
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Replace Main Beam in different location?


Pictures would help. What is the span of your floor joists? is it one joist all the way across or to them overlap on top of the beam? How much work are you willing to do to fix your house?

I have an old house, 1920 I had sagging floors 14 feet across 2" x 8" joists on about 24" centers I got 8" lvls or micro lams placed them alongside the joists jacked up the joist and bolted the two togeather. that was the secong floor
in the basement i just tore out the whole floor and put in all new stuff.
being an old hose and ballon framed it was possible to do this.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
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Replace Main Beam in different location?


In the meantime, I'm also considering tearing out the basement floor and just replacing all, or almost all, of the joists rather than sistering.

I can't determine the span of the 2X10 joists because the ceiling of the basement is plaster and lathe. Where it is exposed there's a inside foundation wall separating the joists into 10 foot and 6 foot adjacent spans. But as I said, the major problem is the network of boiler and plumbing pipework that prohibits a replacement of the beam in the same place as it originally was. I'm just wondering if anyone has ever replaced a main beam in a different location, or used two beams adjacent to the original.
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:13 PM   #6
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Replace Main Beam in different location?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jrdamien View Post
In the meantime, I'm also considering tearing out the basement floor and just replacing all, or almost all, of the joists rather than sistering.
Sometimes that is the best thing, in these old houses, then you fix everything at once. No worry about having to do more work in a couple years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrdamien View Post
I'm just wondering if anyone has ever replaced a main beam in a different location, or used two beams adjacent to the original.
You can use as many beams as you like and place them where you want BUT the beam is there to support the joists, if your joists dont span all the way there needs to be a beam to support the ends. the foundation will support one end. If your going to re frame the whole floor you may not need a beam at all. you need to see what size your joists are and how long they will be. then you can look up how far they can span with no support in the center.
Another critical factor is the spacing of the joists. How far apart are they.
You can increase the allowable span by placing them colser togeather.

24" on center will not span as far as 16" and it you plae them 12" apart you can go farther.

you can even go as far as to use LVLs or micro lams and this will span even more.

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