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needa 12-24-2008 12:00 PM

recessing a beam
i am on the verge of ripping out a wall and sticking in a 22 foot beam. all the way up until last night, i was figuring on laminating me a 12 inch beam and just butting it up to the ceiling joists. unfortunately, i finally found my advanced framing book and saw that in order for me to have a clear span... i would need a 5.25 x 16 beam to span the full 22'. this chart was for floor girders, not a header to hold up the ceiling. but i figure that i dont really need to chance it. so ill go with the much heavier and larger size.

my issue is this.... i dont really care to have a beam dropping down 16 inches from my 8 foot ceilings.

my question:
would i be able to do this all the way down and recess my beam up in the ceiling.

here is what i know:
-its a bearing wall
-the beam is going in upstairs.
-downstairs has an 18 foot long steel beam supporting the floor 5"x12"x1/4"thick steel.
-i have a T allready in place downstairs that i can reinforce to support the bracing i will need upstairs to support the backside of the beam. the other side will be sitting on the exterior wall. which i will also reinforce.
-i will have to support both sides of the ceiling in order to tear out the wall.
-i wall also have to build my own laminate in between the temp walls.
-there is no way i will be able to get a full 22' glulam in the house if i was to purchase one.
-i do not have a trussed ceiling.
-the ceiling joists span all the ways accross the wall in one piece.

if your confused, it is because i explain things in the way my brain sees the process. and that process isnt allways the corect one. i will be keeping an eye on this post, so if you have any questions, just ask and i will go more in depth.

thanx a ton,

jerryh3 12-24-2008 12:34 PM

What was the answer from your engineer and inspector? Seriously though, you are talking about a major structural change. Pics of what you are describing would be nice, but this may be a little too involved for this type of forum.

needa 12-24-2008 03:28 PM

honestly.... a tornado came through this area a few years ago. 3 houses on my street were destroyed. the city would not allow people to rebuild. the reasons had nothing to do with the rebuilding itself... but none the less, i dont care to involve codes or a contractor. a friend of a friend is a structural engineer. he is hopefully going to make it by here in the next week or so, but i have been hearing that for the last month.

i will get a couple pics of everything and post them tommorow. hopefully, yall can help me to solve my problem, or at least i might be able to assure myself that i am on the right track and go ahead with the project. i dont think it will be that hard. this is what i was talkin about by my lack of explaining things.


AtlanticWBConst. 12-24-2008 04:57 PM


Originally Posted by needa (Post 202201)
.... i dont care to involve codes or a contractor. a friend of a friend is a structural engineer....

This sounds doomed already...

SNC 12-24-2008 04:57 PM

It sounds to me like you are going to have to make a hole in the side of your house.
If you cant get a 22' for glue lam inside how are you going to get a 22 foot 2x16 inside.

1 it sounds like you will need multiple LVLs laminated togeather.

2 you are going to need at least 4 1/2 " of bearing on each end, no tees in the wall you need a post wether its laminated or solid.

maybe you can come up with some sort of flitch beam using shorter stock. That is a beam of alternting layers of wood and steel plate. You WILL need an engineer for that one.

good luck

Termite 12-24-2008 08:26 PM


Originally Posted by needa (Post 202201)
i dont care to involve codes

That's a poor idea. Trust me, although the city may have somehow wronged your neighbors...And I doubt we're getting the full story there...Getting the inspector out to your house to double check the work and the engineering is absolutely to your benefit.

Knowing that you're not willing to follow the law indicates to me that there's a corner being cut somewhere. Otherwise an inspection would be no big deal at all. Considering that, I feel that it would be somewhat negligent for me/us to give advice on how to help you do it.

needa 12-24-2008 09:39 PM


Originally Posted by thekctermite (Post 202255)
And I doubt we're getting the full story there...

Knowing that you're not willing to follow the law indicates to me that there's a corner being cut somewhere.

i said that there was a different reason. not trying to hide it. just did not want to go into it. the reason they would not let the people rebuild... is because there was no way to get the septic up to code. therefore.. they would not let the people rebuild. sad, but true. i dont care to cut any corners. i have to live in this house. but if codes was to come over with their strict rules and tell me that i could not do it because i would not be able to do it to code.... then i would not be able to do this. as it is... the septic works fine and i know that this project can be done. i have never had a problem with the septic in the 13 years i have been here. yet i isnt good enough for them. i dont know if it is a federal rule since im on the lake and the feds own half of the back yard, all i know is the people were not able to rebuild because of this reason.

i understand where you are coming from on the help issue. please realize that im only looking for advice and some of the knowledge yall have to offer.

i took a couple videos and will post them as soon as i get them uploaded on youtube.

needa 12-24-2008 10:39 PM

cell phone videos are allready bad enough. but then uploading them to youtube makes them even worse. sorry about the quality. (9 seconds)

this video shows the wall i want to take out. from the door all the way to the exterior wall. 21'-3/4". after strengthening supports on each side, im figuring 22'. scabbing in temporary walls on each side. hauling in a boatload of 3/4" plywood and laminating my beam. i figure this will be stronger than laminating it around a couple 2x16's. with the seams being staggard every 4'. ripping out the wall before i build out the beam inside the temp walls. if im wrong on this... let me know. ill scab in the 2x16's. then hanging the beam. my plan on recessing it is at the end under the pic of roof. this is where i need the help. (14 seconds)

this is the downstairs. starts at bathroom. left side of the bathroom door is the 21' mark. then scrolls over to show the exhisting steel beam. i runs from the start of the wood skinning the beam. it is supported with a steel support. i plan on taking out the blocks and reinforcing the t at the doorframe in order to support the extra weight of the beam that i am sticking in upstairs. if i also see that i need to reinforce the header over the bathroom door. i will do that also.

too dark to take video with cell phone.
this is the roof design. 12' spans. standard 45 degree pitch gable roof. vertical supports are 4' apart. total length of house is 36 feet. i plan on supporting the roof on each side of the vertical supports and removing the existing vertical supports. cutting the joists and sliding in the beam. then using the steel plate thingies from lowes and reataching the joists to the beam. reataching a shorter vertical support to the beam and leaving in the others used to support the two sides.

is cutting the joists and taking out a 5.25" section. then recessing the beam and reataching the joists to the sides of the beam practiced in the construction world. that is the only thing i havent been able to make a contious decision on.

i dont feel like i am cutting corners. i have done this before, only it was a shorter length and i just butted a 12' beam up to the joists.

if yall care to answer my question and give me pointers on my plan... it would be greatly appreciated.

thanx,and marry xmas

Aggie67 12-25-2008 11:54 AM

With all due respect, you're in over your head. Take that advice from someone that does this for a living. You have vision, and I respect that. But there's a way to do this, believe me, and they way you described is not it. Wrong bracing, wrong approach, wrong design. I will say that the right way is much, much different than the Rube Goldberg mess you described.

Call a licensed engineer, or wait for your buddy's licensed engineer to show up. I'd be very surprised if your insurance company would cover any claim for anything if you went and did this without involving a licensed engineer, the building codes, and inspections.

Good luck.

needa 12-25-2008 02:08 PM

i know what a rube goldberg machine is. and after hours and hours of trial and error, the machine works from beginning to end in fluidity. "with all due respect" help me instead of bashing me. i will NOT be involving codes. if i can get the engineer over here before i start... then kudos to me. otherwise, i will be doing it on my own.WHICH IS WHY I AM ASKING YALL FOR A LITTLE BIT OF HELP! if that means yall cant help me, then by all means.... stay on your soapbox and keep explaining to people how to unclog a toilet.

the amish and menenites build everyday without the use of engineers and codes. as a matter of fact, they are capable of building structures that baffle the likes of people like you on a daily basis.

i went and saw a barn once built by the amish, huge structure. not a single support in the thing. engineers are still studying it to fugure out how it is still standing. they dont need calculators, all they need are horses and a few strong backs. get out of the city and you will see what im talking about.

just spend 5 minutes giving me a short explanation of what i need to do to support the joists in the roof and ill be on my way. i am capable of "dumming" down your explanation in order to support the rain, snow, and or ice without having to worry about whether or not it will support a boeing 747.

SNC 12-25-2008 07:01 PM

If this is going in the ceiling in your top floor, why are you installing a beam? cant you truss your roof in that section?

Termite 12-25-2008 10:31 PM


Originally Posted by needa (Post 202435)
if that means yall cant help me, then by all means.... stay on your soapbox and keep explaining to people how to unclog a toilet.

just spend 5 minutes giving me a short explanation of what i need to do to support the joists in the roof and ill be on my way.

Perhaps there's an Amish carpenters internet forum that will offer you the structural miracle you seek.
I think someone needs help in the plumbing subforum. Good luck to you.

AtlanticWBConst. 12-26-2008 10:29 AM

Unsafe and illegal Work
Since you are determined to do this by incorrect means (without obtaining the LAW required permits, and not doing work to Building Code Safety Standards) along with, your goal: to not get the proper engineering certifications for such a structural change...this thread is closed.

What you propose IS NOT a DIY Project for the inexperienced (which you clearly sound like you are). Such work requires Licensed and certified professionals to be involved with - onsite. It also requires designs, certifications, and approvals, because it is the back-bone of a structure. That is the reason for the required local building code supervision and reviewing.

We cannot, nor, do we wish to - help you to do something illegal, or obviously quite dangerous to you, your family, and your home.

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