Beam advice

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Steve Barker LT wrote:

Hi, Time to talk to an engineer with your blue print, REALLY!
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I don't think 3 2X12's will span 14 feet. You might look here http://www.apawood.org/pdfs/managed/Z416.pdf or here http://www.apawood.org/level_c.cfm?content=pub_glu_libmain
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Thanks Pat, for the very USEFUL reply.
--
Steve Barker



"Pat" < snipped-for-privacy@onlinemac.removecom> wrote in message
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You could build a box beam using a 2x top and bottom plate with 2x stiffeners every 16" and then box it in on the sides and ends with 3/4 ply
======================================= 2x ll ll ll ll ll ll ll ll ll 2x stiffeners 16"oc ======================================== 2x
There are span tables around the net for them
CR

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hi again. you really ought to look into calling a company such as truss joist macmillan or weyerhauser and asking them to size one of their products. I have done this on a number of occasions, and i didn't always have a set of blueprints. a pencil sketch will do. i have found engineers that work for truss companies or beam companies to be very helpful and practical. an LVL, microlam, or parallam is more expensive, but will give you peace of mind that it isn't going to sag. 14' is a fairly long span for a homemade beam..
it is also true that there are span tables around for sawn beams, and you could fairly easily figure out your tributary loads and size your beam that way, if you have an aptitude for that sort of thing.. (do it like a professional engineer and overbuild it!)
As for hiring an independent engineer to design this for you, i wouldn't recommend it. I've gone this route and felt like the result was overbuilt--which I could have done without spending money on an engineer. you can't really blame them...they are liable if a beam sags or building collapses or whatever.
I used to work in a "non-coded" area. (technically you must follow codes, but they are not enforced). Kind of miss it in a way.
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If you could reduce the span to 12 feet by leaving a short wall in place your 3 2X12's would probably work.
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While it is true that one would need to see your house in order to give any kind of idea as to what to use, and an engineer is not a bad idea, I have a couple of comments. First of all, why the half inch plywood. This is not going to add to the strength. The only reason plywood is added to headers and beams is to expand the width. (two 2x12=3in. and a 2x4 is 3 and half inches). Also, I have been building custom homes for many years and I can't think of any situation where three 2x12's weren't sufficient for a span of only 14ft, but it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an investment such as your house.
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On Sun, 19 Mar 2006 06:29:03 GMT, "Steve Barker LT"

I think that, if you're not willing to hire a pro to do the math for you, and given the level of understanding implied by your posting(s), you're foolish to be attempting this major a renovation by yourself.
That said, If this a single-story section and a gable-end, and you're expanding onto a porch, which is what it looks like, then you're PROBABLY ok with a built up glued and screwed beam of 3 or more 2x12s. Assuming that you post down properly through the floor and land on something solid underneath. This "you're ok" only applies if the surrounding structure looks like this: (www.goedjn.com/sketch/kitchen.gif)
If there's another floor above you, or this is a side wall, you should probably rebuild most of that wall and content yourself with a pair of wide doorways and a window.
Note that there's a very good chance that that masonry stack is holding up a beam in the ceiling and/or the ridgepole of the roof, depending on how old it is. Don't get too enamoured of the idea of taking it out until you know for sure what it's holding up.
You really need to open up a hole in the ceiling above to look at what that wall is holding up, and how the ceiling/roof structure is put together. and get pictures of what's underneath in the cellar/crawlspace.
My suggestion, If you're not going to do the sensible thing and hire a pro, is to leave the chimney in place, flank it with a pair of 4x6 posts, put another pair of 4x6 posts at the ends of the 14' opening, like so: (www.goedjn.com/sketch/kit2.jpg)
And then design around the chimney. It MIGHT be overkill, and it's not quite what you wanted to do, but an abundance of caution is a good response to working outside your area of competence.
--Goedjn
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Thanks for your reply. As it turns out, the wall nor the chimney were holding anything. The wall was merely a partition added later in life and the ceiling joist run parallel to it. All of it is gone now. No beam needed. Just a few more verticals in the walk in attic to tie the joists to the rafters.
--
Steve Barker


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