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Old 02-13-2016, 09:40 AM   #1
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Can I splice/extend a support beam?


Hi all,
10 or more years ago I opened up the wall between my living & kitchen, it's the main Load Bearing wall running down the center of my house. It's an 8' opening and if I remember correctly I made the beam of either 2x10's or 2x12's with a 3/4" plywood section glued between the two. Pretty sure it was overkill at the time.
Because of recent kitchen updates I want to remove the last 34" of this wall on the right side of the picture all the way to the wall on the right side of it.
My question is can I Splice/Extend the existing beam that remaining 42" or so to set it on top of the right wall. I'm old an lazy now and remolding the kitchen recently has about killed me, so I would love to not have to redo the entire 12' span if I didn't have to.
Is there a legit way to do this or just bite off the 12' redo?
Thank you.
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:12 AM   #2
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Not likely unless you leave a post under the sliced ends.
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:44 AM   #3
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What I figured, but dreaming of a easier option.
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Old 02-13-2016, 11:07 AM   #4
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As Joe mentioned, you could put a post under the splice, in which case you would have two separate simple beams. If you do not want the post, then you need a moment carrying splice. It is possible to build such a splice using bolted on steel plates, but it would require careful engineering, and would probably cost more than replacing the beam. I do not know of any practical moment splicing method for wood that applies in your case.
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Old 02-13-2016, 11:35 AM   #5
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Thanks Daniel,
I prefer the no post look.
No upper floor only attic space, any thought on steel I-beam size for a 12' span?
I realize there are many factors to consider, but wanted a ballpark of size.
Thanks again.
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:30 PM   #6
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There's a lot to look at, but in order to keep that head clearance, you're probably looking at steel. Built up lumber won't manage that span. A glulam will probably need to be deeper than what you have room for. And a flitch beam will need more bracing than you can accommodate. So steel is likely the answer. Go with an S-beam, they're narrower. As for sizing it, you'll need someone to check all of the load paths. But it will probably be in the 15-ish to 20-ish lb per foot range.

Question: the current span looks like it's wider than 8 feet. Can you check that, or is that an optical illusion. Also, that slice of plywood in between the lumber probably serves no other purpose than widening the assembly to a width to match the walls on each end. Plywood adds very little to the bending capacity of the lumber, and deflection governs.
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:47 PM   #7
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I agree, 1 post / column would look rather strange but a half post against the wall in conjunction with 2 more posts / columns would enhance that area being that space will be mostly for visual appeal with possibly a small table there.
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Old 02-14-2016, 03:13 PM   #8
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You can start the steel design process by determining the maximum depth you can tolerate. There are three major steel I type shapes available, I, S and W. S shapes are commonly available in 20 foot lengths at any steel fabricating yard, I shapes are obsolete but sometimes available, and W shapes are probably not appropriate. The steel is typically A36, but A60 is often available, which may allow you to use a less deep shape than A36 (deflection may control).

I did a project for my kitchen where I removed a 12 foot bearing wall and installed a 6 inch deep S section. The yard cut it to length, and drilled it per my drawing for installation bolts.

Unfortunately I cannot legally offer you an opinion on the correct size, since I am a registered professional engineer, but not in your state. You may be able to talk to the steel yard about the correct size, design is not all that difficult, but you do need to calculate the maximum moment on the beam, and you need to make sure the supports are designed correctly. In my case, I used built up wooden columns on either end to support the beam, but there are options.
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Old 02-14-2016, 04:26 PM   #9
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Very good info and feedback here folks, I appreciate all your input.
I'm not at all familiar with S beams, but will research it directly. I'll also be contacting my local steel yards as well.
Thank you.
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