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Old 12-14-2007, 08:47 PM   #1
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Cut in Center Beam


This is a great site, any input here is very much appreciated!!
We are looking at purchasing a new 2-story home.
The basement center beam has a 3 foot cut in the middle of it to make headroom for the stairwell to the basement. The cut ends of the beam are supported by stacked 2x4's that go straight to another 2x4 laying flat on concrete floor. We are not sure if there are footings in the floor to support this, is there any way to know?
Is this common for builders to do?
It seems to be more common on cheaper, 2-story new contruction.
Does this pass city inspection regularly?

Thanks for any knowledge!

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Old 12-14-2007, 09:07 PM   #2
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Cut in Center Beam


Only by digging.
NO! & NO!
(to answer your questions in systematic order)

BTW- Structural Beams should never be cut in any manner.

RUN, RUN, Run, - there is no telling what else could be butchered in that place, that is not so visible.

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Old 12-15-2007, 06:26 PM   #3
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Cut in Center Beam


AtlanticWBConst. is right, structural beams are put in as support. They have to comply with building code, in other words span dictates the minimum size of the beam. If this home has a cut beam then it's below the minimum requirement for supporting that span and therfore illegal.
Like AtlanticWBConst. says, what all else has ben butchered in this home. If ya luv it then have a full house inspection with emphasis on him/her looking for structural changes. If there is more than this then run.....look for another home to buy.
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Old 12-15-2007, 07:20 PM   #4
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Cut in Center Beam


Quote:
We are looking at purchasing a new 2-story home.
Ayuh,......... Either I'm reading this Wrong,.....
Or You folks are.........

What I see is 2 Load Bearing Beams, that meet at the Staircase...........
And,......
I can see that being engineered Safely............
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Old 12-15-2007, 07:51 PM   #5
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Cut in Center Beam


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,......... Either I'm reading this Wrong,.....
Or You folks are.........

What I see is 2 Load Bearing Beams, that meet at the Staircase...........
And,......
I can see that being engineered Safely............
Just because a home is only 2 years old...still means squat. Builders and engineers make mistakes on a very consistant basis....(new, or newer, does not guarantee correct)

However, I do understand the point you are making: If it is a new home, then the possibility of this being an approved design change with an engineer approval stamp, and town approval, are more likely possible.

At this point, the OP should check with the local code enforcement office (Building Inspector) and find out if this is something that was/is structurally acceptable.

Simply based on the OP's original description: I'd still be seriously ALARMED.
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:02 PM   #6
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Cut in Center Beam


The way i read this and bondo(not that i am reading this right) is a beam butts up to the left side of the stairs and another beam butts up to the right side of the stair opening. -[]- the parenthesis are the stair opening and the dashes are the beams. I have seen this in houses were the beam meets the stair opening. They usually double up the joists on each side of the stairs and build a 2x4 support to the concrete floor. Maybe the OP will share more info.
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:11 PM   #7
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Cut in Center Beam


Yup, maybe I'm reading it wrong too.....there's a difference between "the beam has a 3' cut in it" OR "I see is 2 Load Bearing Beams, that meet at the Staircase"

Working on the OP's interpretation.......it's a cut and not a space....Ryno10550, can you clarify, are we looking at a beam that has a cut in it or are we looking at two separate beams....??....give us more description or post a photo.

Mostly, the center beam here has to remain intact, you want stairs then you build on either side of that beam, not through the beam. Same reason you can't pipe through joists in many cases, it's a structural compromise.
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:01 PM   #8
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Cut in Center Beam


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryno10550 View Post
We are looking at purchasing a new 2-story home.
The basement center beam has a 3 foot cut in the middle of it to make headroom for the stairwell to the basement.
Can you post a photo of this beam and the cut?

If you decide that you want this house then make sure that you have a home inspection and have this checked. If the beam needs to be replaced then have the seller cover the costs, properly repair it with a code inspection or reduce the sale price of the home.
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:34 PM   #9
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Cut in Center Beam


Thanks for the replies everyone, apologize for the confusion on my original post. This is in fact 2 separate load bearing beams that meet at the staircase. Problem is, it looks like this wasn't planned, these were just cut off. We have seen other homes where it looks planned.
We are in the process of getting an inspector, and also talking with the city. We probably need the builder to provide the building plans to us so we can see the specs for footings (really really really hoping there are footings where the 2x4's meet the floor).
Here is a link to a few pics of this situation. It's a brand new home. Hope this helps...
http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slidesho...Uy=bfnfjc&Ux=0
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:58 AM   #10
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Cut in Center Beam


The photo with the person wearing the red shirt; that looks like the beginning stages to a wall with a pressure treated bottom plate on the floor.

Why are there two staircases?
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:42 AM   #11
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Cut in Center Beam


There is a staircase coming from the main floor to a landing, then u-turn, and proceed down the next stair case to the basement floor. Do these pictures of the 2 beams appear to be something structurally sound? As long as there are footings where the 2x4's meet the concrete?
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:49 AM   #12
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Cut in Center Beam


Looks like they tried to eliminate support colums with the laminated beam. Is it a development where you can compare with a neighboring house? Are the ends of the beam resting on the foundation? The one the person is leaning against looks like a wall. I think theres even electrical there.

I would definately call in an engineer or inspector. Are there any signs on he floor that might indicate there were steel columns before?
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:05 AM   #13
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Cut in Center Beam


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Last edited by panthony; 09-09-2009 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 01:16 PM   #14
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Cut in Center Beam


Get a look at the prints to make sure if there's footings under all three of those point loads. It looks like there's headers above the beams for the stairwell, so it looks okay, but the engineered beams are not nailed together to proper specs by any means. There are specific nailing patterns for these beams (3-5 nails 12" or 16" OC) and I saw 6 nails in about 10 feet.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:34 PM   #15
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Cut in Center Beam


We are going to contact the builder tomorrow to get an explanation. Need to know if there are footings under those 3 points on the floor. We'll need the build plans or a written acknowledgement.
Thank you all very much for taking a look at this.

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