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component 03-17-2008 09:49 PM

i beam in basement, notched joist
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I am interested in purchasing a house, though I've a question and am concerned on the structural integrity. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The house was built in 1947 and has a basement. During the inspection, my husband noticed that the I beam and joist looked uncommon. He has been in construction for a number of years and has not seen a floor beam like this. Below I have attached a rough illustration.

The joist are notched to fit into the I beam (not snuggly) instead of running staggered on top like in newer construction. There is about 2 inches of the notched wood (bottom) which rest on the i beam and actually support the floor.

I am feeling so nervous about the matter and have been googling 'i beam joist' for days now and still haven't found information about this particular method. Please advise, is this house structurally safe for furniture and people to be on the floor it's supporting?

What -could- happen if the joist started giving way? Would the house just cave in on itself?

I am not very fluent in construction lingo... I look forward to hearing your comments. Again, thank you for your time.

Double A 03-18-2008 01:47 AM

You're not going to like the answer, but I'm going to give it anyway.

If you're buying the house, add something to the earnest contract that purchase is contingent on passing a structural inspection by an engineer. There is much more to structure than just what you are showing in your drawing.

Support below the posts that hold that beam up, the posts themselves, the size and grade of beam in relation to the load, dead and live, it has to support, twisting or prevention of twisting of the floor joists, and preventing them from coming out of their little tucked in homes, just to name a few.

If you have already entered into an earnest money contract, then pay for the engineer yourself. Better to spend some money and have to walk away now than to buy that house and have to spend thousands correcting it to make it safe to live in (if its not).

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