I-Beam twisted

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We have a new home (2 story) that has an unfinished basement with a 10" 65' I-Beam. There are actually 4 I'Beams that are bolted together to span the entire basement. about 4 months ago, I noticed the staircase wall that decends to the basement was bowed in. Closer inspection revealed that the bow was a result of the I-Beam in the basement was twisted and putting pressure on the ajoining wall. The reason for the twisting is that the carpenter that framed the house placed a 2x4 floor joist bearing plate not in the center of the beam but on one edge of a top flange of the beam. This error caused all the weight to be placed on the top edge of the beam and caused it to deflect and twist. I placed a level on the bottom flange and the beam is twisted 1/2" at one point. I hired an engineer and he suggested placing 2x4 kickers against the beam to prevent any further rotation. The builder called his engineer who suggested shims between the other top flange and the floor joists. We used the shims but the beam seems to still be moving. We are now faced with supporting the house with jacks and attempting to straighten the beam. Has anyone had any experience doing this? This is a "monster" beam and how could it be "bent" back in alignment? Thanks for the help.
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Steve Thomas wrote:

How new is this home? It sounds to me that you should be asking your lawyer how to handle this.
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Joseph E. Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

And begin documenting for evidence all that you've found. Dozens of photographs, some showing the level and scale. Maybe even videotape. Write a text record of everything.
Jim
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I am assuming this is new (<2 years) construction. Builder is trying to cheap out, proper fix is to jack the house and replace the beam. Builder was cheap for using so many pieces of steel, but that may actually work to your benefit in this case. Since basement is unfinished, it shouldn't be that big a deal to punch a 12" square hole in an outside wall to get the new beam in (unless you have a big enough window well to snake it in there), use house mover jacks and pilings to relieve the load on that span (only need to go up an inch or so), and switch the beam out. May have to demo the wall along the staircase (probably just studs and drywall) to get access, or even pull the stairs loose temporarily, but that isn't as big a deal as it sounds.
If builder brushes you off, get engineer to put findings in writing, and start talking to a lawyer and licensing board. Only using a 2x4 as a carrier above a 6 or 8 inch wide I-beam wouldn't have been called 'good workmanlike practice' back in the stone age when I was in the business. If stair opening is right along centerline of house, the only reason the other spans probably didn't warp is because of cantilever action from the joists on the far side. If entire beam run has off-center 2x4 above it, you probably want to shove a 2x4 up in those cracks too, just for fun.
Standard disclaimer- IANAL, or a licensed engineer, but I did grow up in the business.
aem sends....
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Thanks for the reply. The house was finished 10/02 so it is less than 2 years old. I am lucky as this is a walk out basement with a sliding door so the beam should fit through it. Problem is that I understand this beam weighs 200 lbs per foot. The sections are 15' and that works out to 3000 lbs per section. A crane was used to drop it into place when the house was built but that is not possible now. Can the old beam be bent back into shape? Thanks
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That's the builder's problem, not yours. You should be talking to a lawyer.

Not without weakening it.

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Bending it back would strengthen it.
Nick
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_________ wrote:

OH!!! Here we go! This should be a no-win argument that could go on for a few dozen posts! LMAO. Knock yourselves out guys.
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It becomes work hardened, it will be harder to drill, cut, etc. It will also be more brittle.
I would sure like to see the fellas that can bend and straighten this size W beam, I want to make friends with them just in case a fight starts. The only way you can manipulate heavy W beams would be with heat.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG
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This all assumes that the beam is plastically deformed. It may very well be elastically deformed and if the load is lifted off of it, the thing will spring back straight.
Mike
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DanG writes:

What makes you think this low-carbon alloy work hardens?
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Experience ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG

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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote in message wrote:

Where do you get that idea from? How is steel strenghthened by bending it? If anything it will be weakened. Have you never heard of metal fatigue?
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I think if the load was removed from the beam, it will come back to its original shape. This assumes it has not exceeded its modulus of elasticity. My concern would be what was causing this extreme load. It is a bit unusual, in my opinion, to have a uniformly distributed load roll a beam around its neutral axis. I suspect something else is pressuring the beam.
Only a structural engineer who can see the situation can diagnose the condition.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG

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Cranes make it a lot easier, but there are other ways. Come alongs and rollers, plus a <lot> of big husky guys, set many a centerline beam in my youth. The same house moving company that will probably supply the jacks and timbers has LOTS of experience poking needle beams into tight spaces. The work required is very similar to what they do getting a house ready to move. They will have all sorts of amazing rollers and winches and jacks to move steel around.

In theory, yes, but a new beam would be cheaper. It may snap back some when load is removed, but it will never be straight.
OP should talk to builder again, and tell him he wants the beam replaced. Be nice, but make it clear lawyer is next.
aem sends....
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...not exceeded its yeild strength (right idea, wrong term).

No, it's being carried by an I section with an asymmetric load.
Mike
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I agree that it will come back.

He explained the reason in the original posting.

I agree with others about getting a lawyer, etc. However, if I had to fix it myself, I'd get a large timber, place it about a foot away from the beam, and jack it up on both ends, using screw jacks, jack posts, or hydraulic jacks and posts. Keep jacking until the beam straightens out. Then get another I beam, and bolt or weld it to the other one. If you are near wood, I'd not weld it because of the fire hazzard. Of course you could just leave the other timber in place too.

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200Lbs per foot? Jesus! How big is this thing?

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Maybe I missed something, but in your first post you stated it was a 10" beam. No 10" beam I know of weighs 200 lbs per foot. I found one that weighs 112 lbs though. That comes out to 1680 lbs for a 15' beam, which I doubt you have! A 10X112 beam has a flange thickness of 1.25" and a web thickness of .755" way over kill for any home. My bet is the beam is closer to the 25-30 lbs range, which would be more resonable for a home. Who gave you the 200 lbs per foot weight? The builder? The same guy that is trying to weasel out of doing the repair correctly? As others have stated, I would not settle for anything less than getting the beam replaced. It is not your problem, the builder screwed up and needs to resolve it properly, even if it means replacing the beam. With an unfinished basement this should not be a major problem. Greg
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