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This is a question only a structural engineer who has examined your house can safely answer. There are numerous factors involved.
Also, there are all kinds of steel beams with different characteristics.
That being said, 6 inches sounds a little small for that span.
 

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You will need a real on site engineer to look it over and spec what needs to be done.
Your also going to need to go get a building permit.
This is not something to just guess about or count on someones advice thats never even seen the job, that could be from any place on the planet.
 

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Welcome to the Forum!

great advice given already. not much to add.
 

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Concrete & Masonry
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I have never seen a 6 inch beam supporting a floor. Surely not gonna span 16' and carry floor.
Seriously?? Relatively common here in older homes. Just did a foundation repair on a house with one a few weeks ago, and it was probably a late 70's home. I agree though that it's not likely to make a 16' span though, maybe more like 6'..........
 

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I've used them especially in older home remodels. Depends on span and tributary loading.
 

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Roofmaster
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Goodness Jocelyn,

You don't even say how many stories your house is, what loads are involved, The KSI of the beam, if its plaster or drywall, etc. etc. etc. Call a Structural Engineer and let him design it for you. You will need footings, steel columns etc.

Off the cuff, 6 inches is not gonna cut it.
 

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Yes you might be able to but no you might not be able to. Depends entirely on the loads it supports, span of joists it supports, etc. If it supports just a single floor with no other loads transferred to it a W6 beam may be fine. If there are load bearing walls above that and it will carry two or more floor, roof, etc., probably will need to go bigger. To get an idea of feasibility and beam/column sizing you can use: http://www.webstructural.com/beam-flexure Once you get a better idea of what may work I suggest having a structural engineer review/modify/approve your plan before proceeding. Columns will need to be appropriately sized and into a good foundation wall or footers, a 16' span will put a lot of weight on fairly small points at each end.
 

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Framing Contractor
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Seriously?? Relatively common here in older homes. Just did a foundation repair on a house with one a few weeks ago, and it was probably a late 70's home. I agree though that it's not likely to make a 16' span though, maybe more like 6'..........
Steel beams in older homes are pretty rare here. Most older homes here had timber beams or 3 ply 2x10. We do a lot of steel in newer homes, but I don't think I have used one smaller than 8".
 

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Concrete & Masonry
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Steel beams in older homes are pretty rare here. Most older homes here had timber beams or 3 ply 2x10. We do a lot of steel in newer homes, but I don't think I have used one smaller than 8".
Must be a geographical thing then, as it's more common to find a steel beam here in homes built between approx. 1940-1990, give or take a few years. I agree that 6" beams aren't the norm, as most are 8" wide flange, mostly between 15-21 pounds per foot, but occasionally we see 6" beams. I'm sure the builder saved $5 at that time by using them..............:laughing:
 
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