What Size Beam To Support Loft With 16' Between Supports - Building & Construction - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 10-06-2009, 03:07 PM   #1
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What size beam to support loft with 16' between supports

I have a garage with 12' walls and am building a storage loft 8' from the floor. It is 16' wide and the loft will be just under 10' from the back wall.
I am trying to find what size beam is required to support the load. The ceiling for the loft will be short (less than 6' at the peak).
I am planning to use 2*10's for the joists, but have been given conflicting information about what size beam to use.
All three are reputable sources, but this is what I have been told...
1. Use 2- 2*12's with a 1/2" plywood inside as a homemade beam (a local contractor suggested this)
2. Use a 5 1/2*12 Glue-lam beam (the local contractor supply store suggested this - after talking to the glu-lam manufacturer)
3. Use a 6*12 hem/fir beam (the instructor at the local construction academy suggested this)

What are everyone's thoughts here

Thanks for your advice
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:20 PM   #2
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The first thing you have to do is define the live and dead loads that you want to design to. For example a lot of residential floors are designed for 40 lb live and 10 lb dead loads. If you are storing light houshold goods you might get by with 30/10 but if you like to do welding and plan on storing a bunch of metal plate and tube up their you'll want to design for much more.
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:33 PM   #3
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Ditto the above.

Once you have an idea of how much loading will be on the floor of the loft, do a Google search for "span charts".

They are pretty easy to understand.

Even after all this, I'd recommend seeking out a structural engineer's advice.

Even if your locale doesn't require an engineer's report, they're nice to have for insurance purposes down the road should something go wrong.
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:40 PM   #4
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And what total load or pounds per square foot are they figuring for?
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