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Old 02-11-2019, 02:03 PM   #1
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adjusting a main support beam


I know that buildings settle and sometimes require adjusting. After ten years, the main support beam in a 1700 sq. ft. bungalow has a difference of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch variance from a laser level. Should this be adjusted or left alone, assuming the rest of the building settled in the same proportion?
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:18 PM   #2
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Re: adjusting a main support beam


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Originally Posted by Mark Harvey View Post
I know that buildings settle and sometimes require adjusting. After ten years, the main support beam in a 1700 sq. ft. bungalow has a difference of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch variance from a laser level. Should this be adjusted or left alone, assuming the rest of the building settled in the same proportion?
It depends is likely the best answer?
Did you know it was out before you measured it and how much does that bother your.
More important is the floor, 1/2" over 20 ft is not enough to worry about but over 10 ft might be to much.


What I like to do is get a laser in the crawlspace so you can see the red line and then you can measure up to the sub floor or the bottom of the joists and make a map of all the measurements. And then decide what should be done. Lifting a single beam is usually a very manageable job.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:49 PM   #3
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Re: adjusting a main support beam


I'm assuming it's a floor beam? But maybe talking about roof beam?

The lumber, when new, would not have passed the string or lazer test.
Or is this sagging between support columns/posts?


From floor above, put a straight edge above the beam and check the floor. If fairly flat (1/8" variances would be nothing at all), then your beam is fine.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:14 PM   #4
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Re: adjusting a main support beam


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has a difference of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch variance from a laser level.
Ayuh,...... High,..?? or Low,..??

About's where along this beam,..??
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:37 PM   #5
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Re: adjusting a main support beam


Hi Mark,
IMO, absolutely do some adjusting if only to support where it is now. Stick built homes with traditional lumber shrink over time. Catch it before any drywall cracks and "no crack". Engineered lumber and trusses are far superior and i would not expect to see the variations you mentioned.

Here is one of the problems. When we add exterior sheathing to our homes we freeze those wall studs in place and they hold their dimensions. But interior walls and ceiling joists will shrink and yield over time.

My triple 2 x 12 center beam started out at 11.5". It now measures 11 and 1/8". When built the bottoms of the floor joists were level. Now the dip is measurable and corresponds to some drywall cracks above. I have installed several of the heavy duty adjustable columns and even a new beam where I wanted the bathroom floor to be perfect and solid for a stacked w/d set up. I was amazed at how difficult that new beam was to crank up. The columns under the main beam were only able to take some of the load but will remain in place so over the years i can give it a 1/4 turn now and then.

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Old 02-11-2019, 05:36 PM   #6
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Re: adjusting a main support beam


Thanks for the replies. It is the main beam under the floor. There are five teleposts holding the beam in place and what we first noticed was a little bounce in the hallway at one area (about 10 feet). There is a telepost directly under this area so I thought about cranking it a bit but don't want to cause any structural damage or crack drywall. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, but if it can use a little help, different story.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:13 PM   #7
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Re: adjusting a main support beam


That's where some very tight strings or a laser can tell you where things stand. My posts are concrete filled steel set in the concrete floor on a support pad below. they are still there just an air gap above them. When I set my smaller beam I found some heavy duty adjustable posts, very impressive. The standard ones i see are not really meant for permanent use.

Just my opinion, but is they won't be in the way, add a couple more or at least snug up what is there. I'm a retired contractor so I do get carried away at times.

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Old 02-11-2019, 09:38 PM   #8
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Re: adjusting a main support beam


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Originally Posted by Mark Harvey View Post
Thanks for the replies. It is the main beam under the floor. There are five teleposts holding the beam in place and what we first noticed was a little bounce in the hallway at one area (about 10 feet). There is a telepost directly under this area so I thought about cranking it a bit but don't want to cause any structural damage or crack drywall. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, but if it can use a little help, different story.
A bounce is usually about the joists not the beam.
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