we have just purchased a new house and want to start on our unfinished basement... we have two walls that are only studs right now, the problem is that they are load bearing. We would like to replace them with wood I beams. Is there any problem with useing wood as apposed to steel?? I just keep reading that everyone is using steel. Does anyone have a recommendation. We are on a small budget so we want to do as much as possible ourselves.
Wood I beams cannot be used for a structural beam. Are you thinking of laminated beams (lam beams in the trade), parallel strand, orientated strand, or one of the other engineered beams. All of them will work, but generally wood will require a deeper depth of beam than steel, sometimes the deciding factor if headroom is crucial. Even though budget is a concern, I would not replace basement load bearing walls without the advice of an engineer. They were put there for a reason, and may have quite substantial loads on them , possibly transferred all the way from the roof. No one wants to pay an engineer, but his fee will be very modest compared to the possible damage from creating a structural faux pax.