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Old 12-28-2011, 08:11 PM   #1
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


I have a 12' beam that supports an exterior wall with 2nd floor and roof above. The beam runs parallel to adjacent joists. Inside of beam is kitchen and outside of beam is 6' wide addition. I would like to install an 18' beam in its place. The posts that will be used to support the beam rest on basement joists that then rest on my foundation walls. How do I support existing 2nd floor structure so that I can replace the existing beam when everything runs parallel? Sister walls only method? Also, what is a good resource for checking local building codes?


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Old 12-28-2011, 08:43 PM   #2
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


Welcome Croitor! If I understand you correctly, on the ceiling of your first floor, between the kitchen and the addition, you have a beam that supports one of your second floor's exterior walls. If the joists run parallel to that beam, the beam is supporting the wall above it, part of the main roof, and probably the upper part of the addition's shed roof.

What would happen if you built a temporary wall inside the second floor, above the joist closest to that exterior wall? Wouldn't that hold up the main roof part?

And if you built a second temporary wall in the addition, and nailed some vertical 2x4s above that wall between the addition's joists and rafters, wouldn't that hold the addition roof temporarily?

So we still need to support the wall itself, which should be light enough to hold itself up through the roofs.

(Take my thinking outloud for what it's worth, not having seen your house.)

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:58 PM   #3
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


That's very interesting Abracaboom. I just checked in attic and those joists run perpendicular to the beam I need to replace so the upstairs and downstairs temp walls may just work. Thanks and I will keep hunting for the safest way. Any idea how I begin attaining proper permits for this type of work? I know I need to check with code office but never have done that and wondering if I have to pull permits for this?
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:17 PM   #4
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


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That's very interesting Abracaboom. I just checked in attic and those joists run perpendicular to the beam I need to replace so the upstairs and downstairs temp walls may just work. Thanks and I will keep hunting for the safest way. Any idea how I begin attaining proper permits for this type of work? I know I need to check with code office but never have done that and wondering if I have to pull permits for this?
You definitely need (and want) a permit with the inspections that go with it.

The process is different for each town. Here in Portland, for such a small job, I wouldn't need to show any plans. All I would need is a sketch clear enough to show what I'm trying to do, with the size of the new beam. If the city engineer thinks that the beam is not big enough, they would tell me which beam size they prefer (free of extra charge). This job would only get one inspection after the new beam is in place. I would start by showing up at the Building Permit Place with a rough sketch and ask for a (free) consultation.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:41 PM   #5
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


Great. Thanks for the help!
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:51 AM   #6
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


I disagree that this is a small job. I have replaced two bearing walls in my house with steel beams, one 12 footer and the other about 11 feet long. I would rate the projects as advanced DIY projects because of the need for temporary support, the design issues, the need for proper installation of support posts, and connection issues between the posts and the beam. But of course everyone is free to have an opinion as to the scale of a project.

As for permits, you should feel free to walk in to your local building inspector office to discuss the project. My building inspector is very friendly, very knowledgeable, and has hours specifically to talk to people about projects before they pull a permit. Yours may be equally accommodating.

You are going to have to size the beam. Since you are increasing the length from 12 to 18 feet, the load is going to increase significantly, as will the span, so you may want to consider steel rather than wood due to depth issues. You may want to hire an engineer or architect to size the beam, if you are not comfortable performing structural computations. In my town, the code official absolutely will NOT size a beam or perform any calculations for permit applicants, I am surprised they would do so anywhere due to liability issues, and it is not normally in their job description, but perhaps yours will. In my town, all structural modifications require a plan stamped by a professional engineer or architect, but of course your town may be different.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:29 AM   #7
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


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I would like to install an 18' beam in its place. The posts that will be used to support the beam rest on basement joists that then rest on my foundation walls.
You didn't ask about this, but I'm curious: Are you trying to make your addition wider?

"The posts that will be used to support the beam rest on basement joists that then rest on my foundation walls."

That doesn't sound good.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


I'm curious as to why the OP wants to replace the beam....

How about this....since he is going bigger....why not sister another 6" under it....2x4 jack studs at each end to support it.

Now....if he is replacing it because it is sagging.....then I'm withdrawing my suggestion.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:07 PM   #9
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


ddawg, I don't think I understand what you are suggesting. You say "why not sister another 6" under it". Another 6 inches of what? Are you suggesting adding a 6" deep wooden beam underneath the existing beam? That would not be sistering, that would be a much more complex undertaking that would require adequate fastening to insure that the connection between the existing beam (if it is even wood, the OPS did not say) and the new 6 inch deep beam carries the horizontal shear developed by connecting two different beams in the manner you suggest.

While this is not impossible, it does make the beam deeper, reducing headroom, and the average DIY person cannot design the fastening pattern correctly. For this reason, it is rarely done, and does require careful design.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:10 PM   #10
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


Croitor wants to add 6 feet of length, not 6 inches of depth.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:34 PM   #11
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


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Croitor wants to add 6 feet of length, not 6 inches of depth.
Doh.....never mind.....eye site is going......I saw the 18' as 18"....I thought he wanted to just make the beam deeper for a bigger look.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:35 AM   #12
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


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In my town, the code official absolutely will NOT size a beam or perform any calculations for permit applicants [. . .]
They tend to be much more helpful with homeowners than with contractors, especially if the homeowner has done his homework and lives in a poorer neighborhood.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:25 PM   #13
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


What is the purpose of doing this? I'm ASSUMING the 12' long beam is the header so you have a wide entrance into the 6' wide addition? Will you be expanding the size of the addition? If so, you're faced with the exact same scenario I was when I put on an addition to my kitchen in place of a old dilapidated rear entrance vestibule.

After tearing down the old structure and preparing the new foundations, etc., I sistered two LVLs to the outside of the rim joist. Those LVLs were bolted (2) 1/2" @ 12" OC, and the ends of the LVLs bear on the 2x6 walls for the addition. I was then free to remove the load-bearing wall below, and I was able to leave the old rim joist (beam in your case) in place.

With the loads and spans you're talking about, I'd say a PE stamp is a must.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:00 PM   #14
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Load bearing beam that runs parallel with joists and supports 2nd floor above?


In my city, a permit for this kind of project would be required to be submitted for plan approval, and with the plan approval request I would be required to submit engineering drawings. This project does not sound like one where you would be able to get complete information about how to proceed from discussions here, and a consultation with a structural engineer is needed.

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