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Old 02-01-2017, 07:03 PM   #1
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Is this beam load bearing?


Hi everyone, first post. My wife and I are remodeling our 1978 split and are trying to figure out if the center beam that runs across our rec room is load bearing or not. The center portion is definitely cosmetic only, as it's cut to only half thickness of the end beams and doesn't even tie into any framing. The ends, though, have me confused. They both sit on top of 2x4s on both ends, but best I can tell, they aren't tied into the walls on either side at all. On the right beam, the joists run parallel with the beam, and on the left (shorter side) they seem to run perpendicular. I've tried to attach some pictures, hopefully they come through. Thanks in advance for any help.
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Is this beam load bearing?-image_1485997320361.jpg   Is this beam load bearing?-image_1485997336662.jpg   Is this beam load bearing?-img_0410_1485997352333.jpg   Is this beam load bearing?-img_0411_1485997364106.jpg  
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Old 02-01-2017, 07:19 PM   #2
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Re: Is this beam load bearing?


For what it is worth, based on these pictures, my thoughts are that the Beams are for looks only, but without an actual on site inspection by an experienced Framer or Carpenter or Engineer, I would not be cutting anything out quite yet.

It appears that the ends are supported by single 2 x 4's or possibly a pair of 2 by's. Those beams are too large to be carrying a bunch of load and be supported so lightly, IMHO.

Best thing would be to arrange for a competent person to visit and advise if they are actually load bearing. Pay them for the visit. Money well spent.

Depending on where you are located, there might be an actual Timber Framer in your area. You may be able to find one through the Timber Framers Guild via www.tfguild.org.

All the best.
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Old 02-01-2017, 09:06 PM   #3
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Re: Is this beam load bearing?


Here's a quote from Daniel Holzman who addresses lots of questions like this on here:

"The topic of load bearing walls has been discussed dozens, maybe hundreds of times on this forum over the past decade. In all cases, the question can only be answered by carefully checking to see what, if anything, the wall is supporting. This can best be done by visual examination of the framing above the wall. Typical structural elements that may be supported by the wall include joists, beams, walls, or diagonal bracing (typically in the attic). Rarely trusses may bear on the wall. If you are not comfortable performing the inspection, you need to hire a professional, who could be an engineer, architect, contractor, or framer, to do the inspection for you. If there is no access above, it would likely be necessary to remove part of the ceiling to perform a visual inspection.

Never assume that a wall is non-load bearing based on plans (the house may not be built to plan), similar looking houses in the neighborhood (your framing may be different), internet opinions from individuals who have not examined your framing, or individuals who have not performed a visual examination in person." --Daniel Holzman Civil Engineer
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:56 AM   #4
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Re: Is this beam load bearing?


You MUST open up the ceiling and actually look at the framing parts that rest on those beams. The size and the spans allow guessing and I may start with a guess that the beam you spec is not load bearing, but you don't want to do anything on my guesses. History of ownership, town records, signs of footing (different concrete colors?) help but anything except eye inspection is a wild guess. If youre doing that much work, it is worth removing the ceiling.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:13 AM   #5
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Re: Is this beam load bearing?


Thanks everyone for the replies. I agree that before we start cutting we should get a professional out, I just wanted to get a feeler for if there was even a chance they were not before going that route. I agree that the way they're installed doesn't make it seem like they're carrying much load, which is how this whole question came about. If we could remove them, it would make the room seem much taller.

jlhaslip, you're correct that the beams are supported by 2 2x4s on each end, and do not appear to be tied to any of the actual house framing on the sides. There is already a hole in the ceiling on the side of the room the longer beam is on, and there are 2x10s 16 inches apart running parallel with the beam that span from wall to wall.

I will be contacting a framer through the website provided today, but it sounds like they're probably decorative only.
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