Remove 13 ft. bearing wall - Beam choices?

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Before I go and hire an architect, get building permit, etc. I would like to get a ballpark on what this might look like...
I have a bearing wall (2x4 studs) which is 13 ft. long in my living room which I am thinking of tearing out and replacing with a beam. (2 story house - living room first floor.)
But looking at "span tables", this is looking like it would need a solid wood beam like 4 x 10? Well a 10" beam would come down a bit far and not look so good...
So how about a steel I-beam? I looked at span tables for I-beams and it looks like a "W6x9" would do the trick? This would come down less and look better.
Anyway I don't know a thing about steel I-beams. Does "W6x9" mean 6 inches wide and 9 inches high?
Is there a smaller I-beam which would work for this span?
And I have 2x4 walls that this I-beam would connect to on each side. Would the I-beam just rest on say 4 x 6 wood posts? Or have holes drilled in the bottom of the I-beam and lag screw it to the wood posts?
And how would I fasten the joists resting on the top of the I-beam to the I -beam?
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you must support wall on both sides before removing.. temporary walls.
what you need is probably a engineered wood beam pair with a stell plate insert.
get this evaluated by a structural engineer before proceeding. they can give you specifics
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As you are planning please remember that the "posts" supporting the new beam must transfer their load onto a proper foundation or location. That load may include the attic and roof loads. The foundation beneath the first floor wall will need to be reviewed whether it is a slab, basement or crawlspace. You can also place the beam in the structure between the first and second floor by supporting the ceiling/floor as described above, cutting all the floor joists, inserting the beam and using joist hangers to tie the joists to the side of the new cross beam.
I did this once and used an engineered wood beam because it is easier to attach the joists and the supporting posts. I'm a Professional Engineer and knew that I had to check the foundation, side supports, the connections, etc. Oh and start looking for any pipes, vents and electrical lines in the wall you are removing, all will have to be relocated.
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you must support wall on both sides before removing.. temporary walls.
You don't. Here's the way we do it: http://www.pbase.com/speedracer/image/2622653
Set your beam in the attic space directly over the existing wall. Bolt all your ceiling joist to the new beam as in the photo. Tear down existing wall - nothing moves.
Dave in Houston
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get pro help the roof rafters MIGHT not be strong enough to take tha added load..........
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The roof rafters don't come into it--although in the photo they appear to be right above the new beam, there is no connection between the rafters and the new beam.
Cheers, Wayne
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Not to mention that there is an entire floor between the wall he wants to take out and the attic.
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Robert Allison
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Dave-
That is a pretty cool design concept to replace a wall with a beam.
But the joists will move downward until the beam deflects enough to take the load that the wall was supporting.....depending on the beam sizing & the ceiling load (actually in this case, the 2nd story floor & ?). The deflection at mid span could be in the 3/8 to 1/2" range.
Plus in the OP's I'm pretty sure that your concept would place the beam on the floor of the 2nd story.
But still a neat concept.
cheers Bob
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This could be addressed by using a pre-cambered beam, like a glulam.
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne-
Yes, the beam, if cambered properly, would deflect to a straight condition.
But the ceiling / 2nd story floor would have to be jacked along with the beam for the entire system to have no deflection....you would need to enforce displacement compatibility (& a raised starting point) to prevent a sag when the walls were removed.
It's kinda like getting a sistered joist to really share the load.
cheers Bob
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Good point. I guess if the joists are unloaded at the time of installing the precambered beam, it wouldn't be too hard. You could just clamp/jack each joist to the pre-cambered beam one at a time before fastening them.
But if the joists are attached to each other transversely at the time of beam installation, then you have to jack the whole system, and in the shape of the pre-camber. That could be trouble, but doable.
Cheers, Wayne
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Dave-
That is a pretty cool design concept to replace a wall with a beam.
But the joists will move downward until the beam deflects enough to take the load that the wall was supporting.....depending on the beam sizing & the ceiling load (actually in this case, the 2nd story floor & ?). The deflection at mid span could be in the 3/8 to 1/2" range.
Plus in the OP's I'm pretty sure that your concept would place the beam on the floor of the 2nd story.
But still a neat concept.
Truth to tell, I missed the fact that the OP was dealing with another story vs. an open attic or I probably never would have posted this as a solution. As far as your concerns about deflection, we measured absolutely zero in this particular application. I do recognize the necessity of sizing the beam to carry the load. But, in this case the load is 2X6 ceiling joists and half-inch painted drywall and the beam consists of 3/4 inch CDX plywood sandwiched between SYP 2X12s though I recall there being either two 10 foot 2X12s on either side of three pieces of plywood or an eight and a ten on one side and a ten and an eight on the other. I don't recall the length of the span except that it was around 18 or 20 feet. We must have put a couple of hundred 3 1/4 inch nails in it in addition to the thru-bolts in each angle iron brackets. We probably even considered a 1/4 inch steel flitch plate in lieu of the 3/4 plywood. Assembling the beam in the attic space was hard enough w/o having to contend with a couple of pieces of 1/4 inch by 11 X eight or ten foot steel plate.
Dave in Houston
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That is the most important part.
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Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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You can upgrade the beam, and install it in the cieling......That is joist hang the ceiling joists to the beam and install it in the cieling.....Yes you need to support the cieling with temporary. Also where the beam is supported on either side, you need to make sure you have solid post and underfloor support i.e. blocking and pier support directly under posts..... What size are the cieling joists...... With that span of 13 ft. and your live load upper part, you should be able to calc out a beam and or oversize it. What about a 6x10? Laminate beams are stronger but not decorative. with I beams usually wood is attached that the joists are attached to. I have done many types of wall / ceiling supports with and without engineering. 4x4 4 feet 4x6 6 feet 4x8 8 ft.... 4x10 10 ft a 4x12 will span 12 ft....... When using 6x......they will increase the span.... jloomis

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Bill wrote:

No, W6x9 means that it is 6 lbs per foot and nine inches tall.

An engineered wood beam multiplied may do it, but you would have to check with the span tables for them.

Typically, a metal beam on a wood post would have clips welded onto it to fasten to the support posts. There are various ways of attachment.

This would again entail clips either welded or bolted to the beam and fastened to the joists.
As other posters have pointed out, you must make sure to transfer the load to your foundation appropriately. It does not sound like you have the experience to judge all the possible configurations for doing this properly. An engineer can well make this project doable and keep within a budget for doing so.
When I do things like this on my own, I always overengineer, because I cannot properly do the calculations, so I overbuild to compensate. The engineer can save you money by specifying enough, without overdoing it. The cost of the engineer can often be saved by the savings from less material and less work. YMMV.
As far as what it will cost, if you do the legwork (make accurate drawings, take a lot of photos of both the foundation under the support posts and the floor above and the situation itself) then the engineer can design a system for you without having to do all of that himself. Design costs; probably 300 to 500 bucks if it is simple. Build costs; depends, but if it is simple and the foundation can support everything as it is, then 1,000 bucks or so.
Well worth the piece of mind to hire the engineer. He sees things that you can't.
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Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Robert Allison wrote: ...

If you don't do the calculations, how do you know you're "over"-engineered?
:)
--
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dpb wrote:

I can do the calculations on alot of things, but, from my experience, anything I design gets downsized if an engineer looks at it. I have worked with a lot of engineers, sometimes I use them, some times I don't. I know generally what is required and how to use span tables, but....
For instance, if I need to put a footer under a post load, my footer will be much larger than what an engineer would design. I do that "just to make sure".
Every time I take something that I designed to my favorite engineer he always asks me "how many Abrams tanks I was planning to support with this?".
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Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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I have just completed the same thing. Took out a 14' section of wall (exterior) between the living room and a porch that was added on. I used engineered (LVL) or as we say Microlam beam built of three 2x12's. Remember this is nominal size, steel isnt. When you get a 9" I beam , it is 9". A 12" LVL is only 11 1/4" avtual size. I looked at the "beam-over" pics, good idea, but I was concerned about the bottom chord of the rafter overlap, looked like only 4-6", should be more. Others have correctly pointed out, that the posts must rest on solid bases, all the way down.I'm using 4 2x4's on each side carrying the load to a double bottom plate which rests directly on the steel I beam in the basement. If you are doing an outside wall, there will naturally be something underneath, the problem comes when you open up an interior wall (load bearing) and post it on nothing. LVL beams are easier to work with since you can put them up one at a time and nail them together, no heavy lifting like a steel beam, and no boxing in problems due to the steel. For your application a 9" nominal LVL would work, (doubled or tripled), which would give you the headroom you need.
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What you cannot see in the picture is that the angle iron brackets are thru-bolted to both sets of ceiling joists, on both sides of the beam.
Others have correctly pointed out, that the posts must

Here's another shot of the new space minus the old wall. The end support for the beam in this case consisted of four 2X4s, three ganged side by side in the outside wall cavity and one sistered on the interior side perpendicular which you can see in the pic.
http://www.pbase.com/speedracer/image/2622654
Dave in Houston
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One thing I don't see discussed very often on ahr is sheer strength. AIUI, houses with a lot of doors and windows often use an interior wall not only for load bearing, but also for sheer. It's worth considering. When I added a window and a pocket closet door in the bedroom, I had to make sheer strength modifications to what was left of the walls.
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