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Old 07-09-2012, 08:06 PM   #1
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Need help with bad beam


I've been a member of the forum for a while, although this is only my third post as I tend to always find threads that answers my questions, and I'm too much of a newbie to add much value to other threads.

Anyway, here's my problem. I'm remodeling an old stone building to hopefully turn it into my office at some point. The interior size of the building is about 13x17ft. It has a beam running the length of the building. The beam supports the 2x6 ceiling joists which all overlap and rest on this beam.

The beam is about 4x10 in size, and the sides and bottom are wrapped with boards that are about 1 inch thick. I was just gonna leave the boards in place, sand them down, refinish and call it a day. That's until I found a little hole in one of the boards, and after poking around with a screwdriver it turns out a section of the beam is all chewed up by what I assume are carpenter ants or bees. I cut a little inspection hole and it looks like about 10-12 inches is affected length wise, and it looks like I have a couple of inches more or less solid on top. The boards wrapping the beam seems to be solid except for a couple of these exit holes.

So the question is, what do I do about it? If the solution is replacing the beam, it's probably above my pay grade, but I'm hoping maybe there are some other solutions. One idea I had was to maybe sister the ceiling joists with new joists running the full 13ft span and take load of the beam, and then somehow repair the beam without it having to carry a full load.

Any ideas or input would be appreciated. If this is too much for me to take on, I would still like to get some input so that I'm better prepared before talking to a contractor.

Here are some pictures to illustrate what I'm dealing with:


This is what the wrapped beam look like. I tried to get a photo of the damage through my inspection whole, but that didn't work out too well, and I don't want to rip the boards of yet as I guess they probably carry some of the load at this point.


This view is from the attic, showing the 2x6 ceiling joists overlapping and resting on the beam.


This photo shows the ceiling joists resting on the exterior walls.

The 2x3's and osb boards in the shots are there to create a walkway in the attic once I get the insulation in. Other than that, the ceiling holds the drywall and the recessed lights. I am not planning on using the attic for anything.

Thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to see what you guys have to say!

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Old 07-09-2012, 08:35 PM   #2
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Need help with bad beam


I did not see the picture of the beam/ceiling joists lapping.

Need more pictures---

The first thought is a saddle beam up in the attic---that will take the weight off the ceiling and make the boxed in beam unnecessary.

The other option ,naturally, would be to remove and replace the existing beam with one without bugs.

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Old 07-09-2012, 08:41 PM   #3
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Need help with bad beam


Because you have everything sheetrocked and its such a short span of 13'. You have 2 options. (A).Put up full span 2x8 ceiling joist and get rid of the beam all together.. a little tricky cuz its already sheetrocked. For this option I would need to know if there are collar ties and if your ridge is posted down on top of the 4x10. (B) Take off the 1x10's wrapping the beam and purchase two 18' 2x10's and screw it to the 4x10 full span into the wall. Were the posts in the wall nailed directly to the 4x10 or was there a T block under the the beam and then the post under it? You would be able to reuse the sides of the 4x10 wrap, and purchase a new piece for the bottom. Really is too bad you didn't catch it before it was rocked though.. I know it would stink but maybe your best bet would be to pull the rock off and put in a full span 2x6... Is the termite damage THAT bad?? Maybe pull off one side of the 1x10 wrap and get a closer look at the damage..
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:45 PM   #4
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Need help with bad beam


Excellent solution Copperhead----

(your middle picture is up now--goofy computer)
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:47 PM   #5
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Need help with bad beam


Thanks oh'mike! Not sure why that picture didn't show up, I'll try to attach it to the post instead. I can get more pics, any shots in particular that would help?

So what's a saddle beam? I'm guessing a beam that runs above the joists and holds them up?

I guess I would have to do something like that if I were to replace the beam as well in order to take the load off while replacing?

I didn't find any evidence of any live bugs left, so for all I know this beam could have been like this for decades. I'm just glad it held up while I was working in the attic, sitting right above the very spot while framing out the attic access...
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:01 PM   #6
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Need help with bad beam


Those old spikes would have held you up----

Saddle beam goes above and the joist are hung below---Difficult part of that solution is getting the lumber up there---often a hole is needed to the outside---also---extra support studs may be needed inside the walls to transfer the weight down to the foundation---they should be there in this house because of the original beam.

The lap is very long on the ceiling joists---a temporary wall next to the old beam will catch both joists.

Sucks to loose your drywall--but I like Copperheads suggestion---All three solutions have merit--

Two would give you a flat ceiling---one an exposed beam---
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CopperClad View Post
Because you have everything sheetrocked and its such a short span of 13'. You have 2 options. (A).Put up full span 2x8 ceiling joist and get rid of the beam all together.. a little tricky cuz its already sheetrocked. For this option I would need to know if there are collar ties and if your ridge is posted down on top of the 4x10. (B) Take off the 1x10's wrapping the beam and purchase two 18' 2x10's and screw it to the 4x10 full span into the wall. Were the posts in the wall nailed directly to the 4x10 or was there a T block under the the beam and then the post under it? You would be able to reuse the sides of the 4x10 wrap, and purchase a new piece for the bottom. Really is too bad you didn't catch it before it was rocked though.. I know it would stink but maybe your best bet would be to pull the rock off and put in a full span 2x6... Is the termite damage THAT bad?? Maybe pull off one side of the 1x10 wrap and get a closer look at the damage..
A) Would the 2x8 ceiling joist run paralell to my 2x6 ceiling joists? Not sure I completely understand what you mean. There are no collar ties or post going from the 4x10 beam to the ridge.

B) there is what I assume would be about a 4x4 post under each end of the beam. Then there are some 2x4's wrapping each side of the 4x4, so I don't know if the beam extends beyond that into the outer wall. I would have to rip out the rock and insulation to be sure.

Yeah, it really sucks I didn't catch this before I did the drywall. I noticed it the day after I was done hanging

But if I have to take down some of the sheets, then so be it...
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:17 PM   #8
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Need help with bad beam


oh'mike, The good news is that there is a small window on the short wall in the attic, so getting lumber up there would not be impossible if that's the way to go.

Copperclad, I do like your suggestions, and I'm leaning towards adding the extra 2x10's.

I could probably get away with it without removing too much drywall.

I guess I need to build up the courage to rip one of the side boards off to see how bad the damage really is.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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Yes. The 2x8 would run parallel with the 2x6's. You would be sistering 7 feet of one of the 2x6 but not the other because they are lapped. For that short of a span that beam was not necessary at all. It's almost like someone had a bunch of left over 8' 2x6's , and a 18' 4x10 and just used them up. A 14' 2x8 would be more then enough to support that span with just sheetrock and a couple lights.. You have several different options but the cheapest and easiest would probably be to sandwich the 4x10 with 2x10's. But again, I would make for certain that the termite damage was that severe to do any of it. Is there a gable vent? maybe you could just slide an 18' 2x8 in the attic and stand it upright and nail it to your 2x4 strong back in the middle.. Kind of what mike was saying as a saddle beam.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:27 PM   #10
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You know you have a problem that need too be addressed---so remove the decorative wrap---

You have my curiosity up---
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CopperClad View Post
Yes. The 2x8 would run parallel with the 2x6's. You would be sistering 7 feet of one of the 2x6 but not the other because they are lapped. For that short of a span that beam was not necessary at all. It's almost like someone had a bunch of left over 8' 2x6's , and a 18' 4x10 and just used them up. A 14' 2x8 would be more then enough to support that span with just sheetrock and a couple lights.. You have several different options but the cheapest and easiest would probably be to sandwich the 4x10 with 2x10's. But again, I would make for certain that the termite damage was that severe to do any of it. Is there a gable vent? maybe you could just slide an 18' 2x8 in the attic and stand it upright and nail it to your 2x4 strong back in the middle.. Kind of what mike was saying as a saddle beam.
OK, I re read your first post, and I think I understand your different suggestions now. So each pair of 2x6's would get one 2x8 sistered and I would leave the beam in place?

Like I mentioned to oh'mike, I do have a window in the attic so I could slide lumber in that way.

I've also looked at some of these epoxy products that claim to restore wood. You guys are right though, I have to rip one of the boards off to see how bad it is.

Oh, and I wondered about the dimension of that beam myself, as I was looking at it, I thought it would have made more sense to just run joists all across, but who knows. It might be a case of using up what they had on hand.

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Old 07-09-2012, 10:08 PM   #12
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Good grief---Copper CLAD not Copper HEAD---sorry about that--turned you into a snake---I must learn to read better!
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:20 PM   #13
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Need help with bad beam


one option :raise ceiling to level, build temporary wall under ceiling joists. take out old beam -replace old beam with lvl beam. this saves the ceiling joists. would require opening of the walls (drywall) at both end points of lvl beam.

another option: take down ceiling drywall, add in new ceiling joists - demo old ceiling joists.

Last edited by hand drive; 07-09-2012 at 10:29 PM. Reason: oops
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:30 AM   #14
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Don't worry about it OLD'MIKE . Didn't hurt my feelings. And to the OP, I highly doubt those 1x10 wraps are doing anything to hold up the beam, but for your own safety and peace of mind it wouldn't hurt to throw up a top plate and add a couple studs underneath your ceiling joist lap for a little support. Assess the damage and let us know.
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:42 AM   #15
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Need help with bad beam


Hopefully I'll be able to pull that board after work tomorrow and asses the actual damage and take it from there. I will post some pics once I do!

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