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Old 01-02-2009, 09:52 PM   #1
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Support pole / beam


Confused...In my basement, I have an 8 inch "I" beam expanding 20 feet with a support pole in the middle and supported on both sides by foundation. My question; is this support pole really necessary? I would like to open my basement up to its full width. The pole is approx 2.5 feet from outside wall. The joists are joined at the beam to span the entire basement width.
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Old 01-03-2009, 06:34 AM   #2
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Support pole / beam


I think I share your confusion. If that is the outside wall, why do I see the ends of joists resting on the beam??? Where do they go???

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Old 01-03-2009, 07:08 AM   #3
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Support pole / beam


The edge of the house is the wall. The beam is approx 2.5 from edge. The joists are not long enough to expand the entire width of the room. There is a beam on the other side as well and the joists on that side are also split to allow for the extension of the room. Need more pictures?
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:24 AM   #4
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Support pole / beam


I'd want that post out of there, myself. However...

Bottom line is right now that post is serving a purpose: it's carrying the mid-span load of the steel beam. The steel beam is carrying the joists. And for whatever reason the builder lapped the joists 2.5 feet away from the outer wall. Looks like new wood, so the house can't be that old. Must be plans or an architect's or builder's name in the file down at town hall, so if you were dying know why they did it that way, you could (I'd be on that like white paint, personally, just to find out what was going through their heads). Also, I didn't see any blocking at the laps/beam, which is required in my neck of the woods. This is pure speculation, but it smells like the builder didn't have access to engineered joists, and got pigeon-holed into using 2x12's, which forced him into putting a beam in. But who knows?

So to the point: assuming the beam was sized to have a post in the middle, removing the post is a no-no. You could look at reinforcing the beam by boxing it out with steel plates, or adding a WT under it, or a new larger beam, but that involves an engineer and possibly a welder. If it were me, I'd be at town hall on Monday digging this info up, and on the phone with an engineer by the end of the day to see what could be done. When you call an engineer, let him know this is for a residential floor beam. I've done the WT trick numerous times for clients, by the way. But I always backed it up with my calculations and my engineer's seal.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:55 PM   #5
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Support pole / beam


Aggie67's got this right for sure.

It is not uncommon for homes to be framed with this configuration. Say you have a total span of 19' across your basement. Your 2x10's will span about 15'-6", so the builder has a couple options:

1) Use 10' joists and a beam (and posts) right down the middle, which definately hampers any potential of finishing the space
2) Use 16' joists and a beam near the outside wall to pick up the rest of the span.

You also must remember that it is very likely that loads from floors and roof above may be being transferred to that beam, so it may be supporting a lot more than just the floor.

Removing the center bearing point(s) of the beam also adds considerable load to the ends of the beam and the foundation elements that support it.

I often see structural engineers specify additional material welded to the existing beam to increase its strength. For example (just an example), 1" thickness steel as wide as the beam is welded to the bottom flange.

Personally, I'd try to find a way to live with it. Concealed in a wall, bar, fluted column, or another trim element, you might forget it is there!
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:47 PM   #6
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Support pole / beam


Thank you gentlemen. Very informative. This house is a new house, built in 2002. I am second owner. I will be making some calls on Monday.
Thanks again for the great info.
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Old 01-03-2009, 06:11 PM   #7
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Support pole / beam


Termite took my next suggestion. They cheaped out on joists and added joist ends and another beam...??? Makes no sense to me, but that is what it looks like. Had to cost considerably more than longer joists, or even engineered joists. What you have is what you have. Without expensive changes, you need to box around what is there.

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