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Old 01-13-2009, 11:35 AM   #1
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Replacing wall with engineered Beam


I am replacing a load bearing wall with an laminated engineered beam. I must add a foundation footer and cement block column to support the post that will support the beam. I plan to dig the footer 2 ft sq 2 ft deep and place quickrete up to the ground level. Then build a 16 in sq column from cement block approx 16 in high to just below the level of the existing wood girder holding the floor joists. The wooden post(3 2x4's nailed together) for the Beam will come down thru the floor(hidden in an enclosed wall) and sit on top of the cement block column. I plan to place a wooden 2x cap over the top of the column and attach the post. The force transferring thru the beam down the post to the column is approximately 5000+ lbs. Is a 2x cap sufficient for this force or should I use plate steel also. My concern is that the point of the post will crush the wooden cap. Do the holes in the cement block need to be filled with quickrete? If I center the column and post, is this sufficient?

I live in north Alabama. The house is 2 story. The wall being replaced is an inside loadbearing wall between the kitchen and dining room.

One other option is to center the post in the wall over the existing wood girder supporting the floor joists. I will still have to build the footer and column under the girder. Will the 5000+ force crush the girder at the point where the post and girder meet? Should I use a 2x Cap at this point? Use plate steel?


Last edited by pinkertonpv; 01-13-2009 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:23 PM   #2
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Replacing wall with engineered Beam


Honestly, you're asking questions that nobody here can answer. Many of us have engineering and construction backgrounds, but unless and until your home's structure and the soil bearing capacity is thoroughly evaluated it is impossible for us to do anything but guess. Guessing on structural stuff is irresponsible.

I'd strongly recommend that you hire a structural engineer to properly size your footing, your beam, and the support structure for it.

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Old 01-13-2009, 01:39 PM   #3
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Replacing wall with engineered Beam


thekctermite, thanks for your response. The beam and post were sized by a structural engineer at a local truss supply house. The footer is the same size as the existing footers and columns in the foundation of the house and have been reviewed by the same engineer. He suggested using the 2x cap over the column but he also warned against possible crushing. He thought it was a minor chance, but I wanted to see if anyone else might have an opinion.

He did say he had seen where a beam had crushed the sil atop 2x4 studs.
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:43 PM   #4
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Replacing wall with engineered Beam


Crush can be a factor. It won't appear right off, but might create very minimal settlement over time. Ideally, steel plates can be used to shim a beam. I've also had people use LVL pieces instead of dimensional lumber because it is pressure-formed and won't compress much if at all.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:18 PM   #5
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Replacing wall with engineered Beam


if you are concerned about the crush effect, use a steel column with 1/2" top/bottom plate. If you are concerned that the beam will crush, then attach a 1/4" plate to either side of the beam and through bolt.

Some pictures of the situation would be nice and helpful.

You did not mention if any rebar is being placed in the footer. You need at least one mat of steel.
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