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Old 07-02-2012, 08:37 AM   #1
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


I live in a 44-year-old Cape Cod style house, just bought the house last October. I never really noticed this before, but last night I noticed that the big main beam that runs the whole length of the house is crooked.

The beam runs the whole length of the basement:


Not the "length" way - that seems fairly level across the whole basement. But the "width" way - I held a bubble level up to it and it's definitely not level!

I checked the floors above and they seem fairly level. Still, I am worried about this. Do I need to have this looked at? Here's a couple of pictures showing what I mean:





Any insight or advice is appreciated - is my house gonna fall down?

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Old 07-02-2012, 08:45 AM   #2
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


If there is anywhere along it's length that you can get a look at the top to see what's sitting on it you'll probably feel better.

As long as its still firm on its posts and the ends are still in their pockets it's fine.

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Old 07-02-2012, 08:59 AM   #3
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


Any solid wood beam instead of ganged up 2 X's is going to twist, check and bow.
Not likly is going to get any worst as long as that ones been there.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:28 PM   #4
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


Looks like an old rough sawn timber, could have been cut that way. Either way not dangerous.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:54 PM   #5
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


I vote with the other three. That seems unanimous.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:57 PM   #6
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


And what's with that duct work?
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:25 PM   #7
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99
And what's with that duct work?
What about it?
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:11 AM   #8
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


What is with the 4" flex duct snaking along the back wall in the first picture. Please tell me, that is not the exhaust for the furnace & water heater. Also, what is with the object hanging on the one piece of duct work in picture #2.

Also, if it was my guess, that home is older than 44 years. Maybe the addition on it if there was one added back in 68 maybe that age, but in the picture, I would have to guess that the home is at least 100 years of age.

As for your question, that bullet level will not tell you if the beam is twisted. You will have to remove the Gyp-Rock from the one side to the left, to be able to look at how the beam appears where the floor joists lay across it. The beam that you have the bullet level on is what appears to be a solid piece of lumber, and it is possible that it was just cut a little crooked, when ripped for rough sawing.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:22 AM   #9
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
What is with the 4" flex duct snaking along the back wall in the first picture. Please tell me, that is not the exhaust for the furnace & water heater. Also, what is with the object hanging on the one piece of duct work in picture #2.

Also, if it was my guess, that home is older than 44 years. Maybe the addition on it if there was one added back in 68 maybe that age, but in the picture, I would have to guess that the home is at least 100 years of age.

As for your question, that bullet level will not tell you if the beam is twisted. You will have to remove the Gyp-Rock from the one side to the left, to be able to look at how the beam appears where the floor joists lay across it. The beam that you have the bullet level on is what appears to be a solid piece of lumber, and it is possible that it was just cut a little crooked, when ripped for rough sawing.
The two lengths of flex duct along the back wall are (1) the dryer vent, and (2) the vent from one of the bathrooms.

The house was definitely built in 1968. Out of curiosity, what is it in the pictures that make it look older?

After checking further, I believe the beam may be twisted. I checked with the level in several places along the bottom of the beam, and the bubble ends up in different places. On the other side of the basement, it is almost perfectly level, and it gradually gets more crooked as I move down it.

As for your other question - I'm not sure what object you mean hanging from the ductwork. Do you mean the pink thing with the cats on it? That's hanging from a nail in the beam, and it's a plastic bag holder to hold extra bags from the grocery store.

Thanks for the reply!
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:06 PM   #10
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


The fact that there is a rough sawn beam, and the ceiling. Not something that you would see in a home built in 68. Possible that whoever built it, built with salvaged timbers. Also as for the bath and dryer vent, both need to be properly done, due to with the way they are hung, moisture will stay in those sections.

Matter of fact, the flex ducting in picture two also needs to be redone same as the two vents in picture one.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:08 PM   #11
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
The fact that there is a rough sawn beam, and the ceiling. Not something that you would see in a home built in 68. Possible that whoever built it, built with salvaged timbers. Also as for the bath and dryer vent, both need to be properly done, due to with the way they are hung, moisture will stay in those sections.

Matter of fact, the flex ducting in picture two also needs to be redone same as the two vents in picture one.
Great, now I have more stuff to worry about!
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:38 PM   #12
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


Quote:
Originally Posted by thinksincode View Post
As for your other question - I'm not sure what object you mean hanging from the ductwork. Do you mean the pink thing with the cats on it? That's hanging from a nail in the beam, and it's a plastic bag holder to hold extra bags from the grocery store.

Thanks for the reply!
I thought that was a building CAT scan. I was framing houses in 68 and lots of them used solid beams. Usually douglas fir, and there isn't much that will stop a 40' beam from twisting if it wants to. Is it safe??? All the ones I worked on are still standing, and the ones built by those that taught me, and the ones that taught them. Regardless of what they may say now, "the proof, is in the pudding". My suspicion is that the smaller size of lumber, (2x8 went from1-3/4" x7-3/4" to 1-1/2" x 7-1/4" in that those 44 years), and lower quality lumber are the reason for having to overbuild. It doesn't look like it even sags between lally columns. I would guess it is an 8"x10 or 12" beam? I wouldn't worry if it was mine.As for joist bearing, etc., you could expose it and shim any that don't touch if it bothers you. If you suspect more than that, then by all means have someone inspect it.

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Old 07-05-2012, 09:52 PM   #13
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


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Originally Posted by thinksincode View Post
Great, now I have more stuff to worry about!
Hi, How plumb (vertical) are both sides of the beam when you put the level against the beam?. Do you have dimensions of the beam? Thanks
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:01 PM   #14
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Main beam is "crooked" - is this dangerous??


Quote:
Originally Posted by hand drive

Hi, How plumb (vertical) are both sides of the beam when you put the level against the beam?. Do you have dimensions of the beam? Thanks
Ahh, good idea. I will check that and report back. As for the dimensions, I don't have an exact number but I will try to measure it. Thanks!

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