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Brian085 12-08-2013 11:51 AM

Supporting Beam

It was suggested by a home inspector to add some metal post/lally columns to help support the main wood beam in my basement. Currently it is resting on the block wall on each side and a center cinder block support. The distance between these are to far unsupported as per what the inspector said.

I was wondering instead of putting in post would it be okay to just build a load bearing wall spanning under the beam. Treated lumber on the concrete slab, 2X4's on 16" center and double top plate under the wood beam.

Would that be enough support? Would there need to be a footer under the bottom plate? Just trying to prevent any more sagging out of this old house. (1926) I would like to avoid using columns because I would like to finish this basement in the far future and the wall would be where I would want it.


hammerlane 12-08-2013 11:56 AM

This is going to be the basic sentiment on this forum: You need a structural engineer to decide what you need.

I for one would not take the advice of anyone on an internet forum for something such as what you need done.

Anti-wingnut 12-08-2013 01:18 PM

Nor would I take the advice of a home inspector.

But most of the problems on this forum is when individuals want to remove or drastically change the structure of a building. You want to add to existing. You certainly would be unlikely to cause any problems except for causing cracking in you existing floor. I would not try any leveling because that might crack the plaster of GWB walls

Brian085 12-08-2013 01:22 PM

He said to pop a column in the middle of each spand and do not try to raise it. I figured popping in a wall would do the same, keep it stable, and also once step towards finishing the basement up.

Maybe 2x6's would spread more weight out? I'm sure if this house has been standing so long as it is now it certainly wouldn't hurt?

Daniel Holzman 12-08-2013 01:44 PM

It is very unusual for a home inspector to offer structural advice. AASHI (home inspector's association) is pretty explicit in instructing their certified home inspectors to avoid discussing structural issues, as the average home inspector is not qualified to make a structural recommendation, and the average home owner does not pay for a structural inspection during a typical home inspection. So I have to wonder exactly why your home inspector offered these comments. Usually if they observe sagging of a beam, they simply note in their report that a beam was sagging, and offer no opinions as to the significance of the sag, or methods to eliminate the sag, or structurally improve the house.

Now if you paid for a structural inspection, and the home inspector is qualified to offer structural opinions, that is a different matter.

As to the need for additional supports, that would depend entirely on the load on the beam, and the structural capacity of the beam. As for sagging, you should understand that all wooden structural members deflect under load, and after a number of years, they acquire permanent deflection due to the properties of wood. Without jacking up the beam, you cannot remove deflection of the beam, but deflection does not necessarily indicate there is a structural problem. As I noted, every single beam in your house, every joist, and every rafter has deflected, and will continue to deflect over time (this is known as creep) without causing structural issues.

Whether the sag in your beam is excessive, or warrants repair or additional support, requires a hands on investigation by a qualified individual.

If you decide to put in additional supports, make sure you pull a permit if needed, and get your plans approved by the local building inspector. 12-12-2013 09:14 AM

I've done similar support walls in basements many times. It's a very common and easy way to add support. It seems you are approaching this from a practical angle...and I think that is a good approach to have as a home owner. HOWEVER, two things you should keep in mind.

1.) If built correctly, the wall will add structure and may serve the purpose.
2.) Depending on the situation, the wall may not provide enough structure in the right places.

I would do a bit of investigating to find out where the load points are that you are trying to support. If in doubt, bring in a pro for some advice.


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