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chris019061 11-27-2012 05:18 PM

Beam support
The house I just bought has a large irregular shaped hole cut through approximately 1/3 of the main beam supporting the second floor joists above the garage. The beam is 5.5" thick x 18" wide, the previous owner chopped through the beam to mount an overhead garage door opener then removed the jack post to open up the garage. The beam is sagging approx 1" in center. I had an engineer design a metal saddle that is 3' long and weighs more than a hundred pounds and is held in place by 16 5/8" x 6" bolts. I need to jack the beam back up to level and support the metal saddle in place on the beam while I drill 16 5/8" holes through 5.5" of beam. I do have the advantage of having two big sons with strong backs. My plan is to mount two 4x6 posts under the beam on either side of where the saddle mounts to jack the beam up and hold in position while I mount the saddle. The only way I can think of to hold the saddle in place is to have my sons lift it a few feet at a time while I place concrete blocks under it to support it then drive wooden shims under the saddle so it is tight against the beam. Drilling a perfectly straight hole through this depth concerns me, I will drill from both sides but the holes really need to be perfect for the support to work as designed. I read on the net that putting a cd around the drill bit and aligning with the reflection in the cd helps keep the bit straight. Any ideas or suggestions on better ways to tackle the job would be great.

Daniel Holzman 11-27-2012 06:58 PM

I am not clear on a couple of points. Does the saddle have predrilled holes in the steel on either side that you need to drill through? That would be very difficult, since the tolerance is relatively small. I gather you are planning to drill through the saddle from both sides, presumably planning to meet in the middle? That should be doable, however I would use a clamp to hold the drill, then use a framing square to make sure the drill is perpendicular to the saddle. Using a drill that is larger than the bolt will improve your chances of lining up effectively.

As to supporting the saddle, it is often possible to lift steel into position using a comealong supported from the ceiling. I installed a 220 lb steel beam that way, but lifting either end with the comealong, then supporting the beam on a step ladder (a strong step ladder should easily support 200 lbs). By working side to side, you can lift the saddle, support it, then lift some more, etc. Very dangerous to try to hold a heavy object over your head, very bad things can and do happen.

As to jacking the beam back to level, check with the engineer, this may not be necessary. It will not increase the strength of the beam, so the only reason to do it would be for appearance, i.e. you don't want an out of level floor. Jacking a large beam back to level must be done slowly and carefully, else you can damage the beam, attached framing, and crack wall plaster.

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