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Old 11-07-2011, 02:25 PM   #1
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


Current situation:
Basement area of 28x18 feet with three 4x8 beams which are carrying the floor joints. The beams are every 7 feet ... 7 feet from the walls and 7 feet from each other. Each beam is 18 feet long (same as the width of the basement) and resting on the outside walls and two additional 4x4 posts. The floor joints from both sides are ending up on the center beam. The structure has just one floor and roof with attic space above this basement area

Goal:
Create an open space by removing the posts and exchanging the beams with structural I-Beams.

Question:
I would like to keep more or less the 8x4 dimensions of the old beams, but want to find out which other specifications those I-Beams should have to not bend over a span of 18 feet with the weight of one floor and the roof.

Would an I-Beam S8x18.4 (Depth 8 inch / Flange width 4 inch / Web thickness 0.270 inch) or an I-Beam S8x23.0 (Depth 8 inch / Flange width 4.171 inch / Web thickness 0.441 inch) be appropriate for this project?

Or do I have to go with thicker ones? Or are even thinner/smaller ones good enough? I just have no idea ...

Am thankful for any kind of help ...

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Old 11-07-2011, 02:47 PM   #2
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


Not possible for anyone here to answer that. Sounds like a big under taking there. Not many people follow through with what you propose, as it is usually a very big, heavy beam, requires a very skilled crew to accomplish, and an engineer to size the beam.

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Old 11-07-2011, 04:12 PM   #3
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


consult a engineer in your area and a renovation company who does this sort of thing.. not a diy project
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:37 PM   #4
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


Where are you located?

There may be prescriptive solutions to what you are trying to do.

Andy.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:52 PM   #5
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


If you are a capable DIY'er this may be a project you can handle yourself. Design of the beams is best handled by a professional engineer or architect. Suppose someone on this forum is foolish enough to actually size the beam for you, are you planning to take that to the building department for a permit? Or even more out there, would you actually trust your life to an internet chat forum opinion on beam size for a house they haven't seen? That would be pretty radical.

Once the beam is professionally sized and the installation details drawn up, the actual installation may be possible using readily available equipment such as floor jacks for temporary support, and a few come-a-longs for installation. If you decide to install yourself, best to get some help from someone who has done it before, the temporary support can be tricky, and if you make a mistake, can be fatal. Run your temporary support plan by the design engineer first, more mistakes happen in temporary support than you might imagine.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:59 PM   #6
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


Not to sugar coat the whole beam sizing thing here, but I think the bigger issue is the install. This is a serious structural overhaul. Getting that 400 pound beam into position, sitting on both walls, while maintaining temp supports on both sides will require skill that is above almost all DIYers. The OP does not even understand the terminology involved here. I doubt the skill required is there either.
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:37 PM   #7
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Thanks for the entertaining professional coffee table chat ... I was rather hoping to get some real honest opinions to the topic instead of questioning my skills or comments about related safety or about the difficulty of the approach.

These are exaclty the same talks I would have with local contractors.

But ... I am amused that nobody even realized that the mentioned total size matches more likely a shed then an actual dwelling.

And I forgot to mention that actually I put the 4x4 posts in there ... the previous owner left it without them.

It's more about fixing what was messed up before and trying to avoid unnecessary costs for 'engineers and a skilled crew' which would easily cost more than the whole shed is worth.

I was hoping to get some kind of a gut feeling from you guys and not to find somebody who would actually take the calculator and size a beam for something he never saw.

Anyhow ... thanks for the help so far.
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:45 PM   #8
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


And what are the 4x4's sitting on? Did you have to jack it up prior to putting them in? How far did you raise it? Any problems after that?

So was this a house or a shed? If your just asking dumb questions here, what's the point?
You got some great advice. Better than what should have been given based on your response. Best of luck with the project.
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:48 PM   #9
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


The problem with even providing you a rough estimate is we have no idea who what the loading on the floor above this is. Also we would need to know how the load is distributed across the floor. I can tell you which will be very difficult to size a beam with an 8" web to span 18' without having significant deflection.
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:59 PM   #10
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Msradell, thank you very very much for the first useful answer ...
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:27 PM   #11
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyluke View Post
Thanks for the entertaining professional coffee table chat ... I was rather hoping to get some real honest opinions to the topic instead of questioning my skills or comments about related safety or about the difficulty of the approach.

These are exaclty the same talks I would have with local contractors.

But ... I am amused that nobody even realized that the mentioned total size matches more likely a shed then an actual dwelling.

And I forgot to mention that actually I put the 4x4 posts in there ... the previous owner left it without them.

It's more about fixing what was messed up before and trying to avoid unnecessary costs for 'engineers and a skilled crew' which would easily cost more than the whole shed is worth.

I was hoping to get some kind of a gut feeling from you guys and not to find somebody who would actually take the calculator and size a beam for something he never saw.

Anyhow ... thanks for the help so far.
Hey Smarta$$,

You don't like the answers you got and they are the correct ones just like the contractors were telling you. Since you seem to think that you're a know it all... figure it out yourself and do it with an unskilled crew and have fun.
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Last edited by Joe Carola; 11-07-2011 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 11-08-2011, 10:51 AM   #12
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyluke View Post
Thanks for the entertaining professional coffee table chat ... I was rather hoping to get some real honest opinions to the topic instead of questioning my skills or comments about related safety or about the difficulty of the approach.

These are exaclty the same talks I would have with local contractors.

But ... I am amused that nobody even realized that the mentioned total size matches more likely a shed then an actual dwelling.

And I forgot to mention that actually I put the 4x4 posts in there ... the previous owner left it without them.

It's more about fixing what was messed up before and trying to avoid unnecessary costs for 'engineers and a skilled crew' which would easily cost more than the whole shed is worth.

I was hoping to get some kind of a gut feeling from you guys and not to find somebody who would actually take the calculator and size a beam for something he never saw.

Anyhow ... thanks for the help so far.
Ok....so you expect us to suggest beam sizes? The fact that your coming here is a good indication that you don't know what your doing.....

Based on the information you provided, there is no way to deduce that it was a shed....most sheds don't have basements.....and the size you noted is not unusual for a basement in a house.

I don't think you have any idea how difficult it is to move around a 20' PSL beam....especially when if weights 300 lbs +.....

I'm in the middle of a 2-story addition right now so I know how hard it is...

In reality, what your really wanting is for one of the structrual engineers here to sit down and do the calculations for you. That is about par to asking for free advice from a lawyer.....

No one here is going to tell you if the beams will work or not....if it goes wrong, you would most likely be asking lawyers for that free advice on who to sue....
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:46 PM   #13
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Understood.
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:27 PM   #14
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ddawg16, i clicked on your "My Garage Build Link" ... it's pretty much the same set-up ... yours is even higher and two feet wider ... and just a few feet shorter I guess ... and instead having just one beam in the middle i have three ... what specs has your wooden beam above the garage door? ... this one looks like 18 feet or maybe a little less, right? ... Three of those would easily do the job.

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Old 11-08-2011, 02:35 PM   #15
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Need help with choosing the right I-Beams


Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyluke View Post
ddawg16, i clicked on your "My Garage Build Link" ... it's pretty much the same set-up ... yours is even higher and two feet wider ... and just a few feet shorter I guess ... and instead having just one beam in the middle i have three ... what specs has your wooden beam above the garage door? ... this one looks like 18 feet or maybe a little less, right? ... Three of those would easily do the job.

The beam above the garage door is a 5x11 PSL beam about 15' long.

The beam down the center is 7x16 PSL, 20' long. That beam weighed about 640 lbs.

I had an Engineer spec everything....what is not obvious under that beam is the 3'x3' pad within the foundation. One of the things frequently overlooked is foundation support. My footing goes down about 2.5' and is about 18" wide.

Even though it is just a garage, the second floor is designed as if it were a 2nd story on a house...hence, 20 psf dead load, 40 psf live load. My floor joists are 12" OC.

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