replace beam with steel

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Hi there,
I am having a hell of a time finding someone to help jack up my beam and re-support it. I have talked with (and had over for estimates) a number of contractors, and NOT ONE of them will even pay deference to the idea that the beam probably should not be jacked the full 1 1/2 to 2 inches in *one* afternoon!! When I questioned one guy about his "jack-it-now" approach and about the fact that he didn't mention digging any footings in the slab, he said "well yeah... that WOULD be safer and better, I guess..."
What is "I guess?" Ugh! frustration.
I am getting exasperated, and was hoping for a TOTAL ballpark cost idea from anyone out there regarding the potential for replacing the existing beam with steel instead. (That way I can avoid all the run-around I seem to be getting about jacking the beam instantly (probably breaking it), totally questionable issues between the various contractors regarding how deep to dig footings (have rec'd opinions ranging from 'don't dig at all' to 'four feet', etc.
Anyone know totally generally how much this would be for a ~24 ft span? when I say *generally* i mean even as ballpark as "between 2500 and 5000" -- must any more specific would also be appreciated. My curiousity is whether eliminating at least some of the need for cutting the slab, pouring concrete, and so on would offset the presumably higher price but lower level of manual labor involved in replacing the beam w/steel. Can a steel beam hold a 24' span w/o support posts (or at least without lots of them)?
Any first-hand experiences with such a project??
Thanks so much in advance -- it's not so eay to find this kind of focuses information via regular google searches, and I am just thinking of overall feasibility at this point before I bother to call people over to check it out again (and re-start the run-around).
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Hi there,
Thanks for the preliminary advice. I would, in fact, be happy to do the screwing - the problem is, I can't find any screw jacks for purchase in my area! (I'm in Boston.)
The only ones that I can find aren't intended to screw as you go and push things upwards. Instead, they're just "adjustable posts" that you adjust to the size of the space as it currently is and tighten it up. They offer no "jacking" aspect whatsoever.
Suggestions? Thanks!
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I'm a she, but that's OK. ; ) I'm a handy she. : ) : )
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A house builder or engineer will know, you got a few idiots in. Can a 24ft piece of steel be moved in. Even a beam large enough to hold without a mid support could be even more trouble and cost. You need supports on both sides while you remove and instal the new one, and good new footers. If old beam if not rotted leave it in. Jacking that hight should be done over 2 months but may not be possible as windows and doors may not work and walls will crack. Even joists settled over time will split needing sistering of new joists. Ive done a few I would get 3 jacks mid floor set up. And 2 end if those supports are not good. Get footings poured under the jacks and DIY over months monitoring doors windows walls, joists , floors etc. How much you go up depends on alot of things and even now no one knows nor will you till you see the adverse affects. Jacks for 3, 45$ -150$ depending on how big your load is. Concrete 6- 8 bags a hole 100$ for 3. Rent a electric demolition hammer 55- 75$ a day a half day will do it. Labor for digging and footings 150-500$ You can do it all or just the jacking as you should, as that takes measurements and alot of time and care.
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To hire someone and a price I guess 1500 and up to whatever someone things they can get 5000 even, but the real time needs to be you in jacking, or someone not going more than 1/16" every few days and checking everything affected.
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Actually it sort of U's downward toward the center b/c the original brick support column has settled/shrunk over the ~105 years the house has been standing...
It's not rotting at all, in fact. The only reason I began inquiring about steel was that people keep warning me that since the beam is so old it might not want to unbend and might crack instead or keep its U shape but simply lift upwards.
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On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 09:01:29 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

I agree with the DIY suggestion. You will never be happy with someone else's work and they are a fool if they take on your project with your attitude.
It's your beam and you seem a bit picky about it so DIY. You can rent all the equipment and do the jacking at 1/16 a day if that make you feel better.
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Menards, HD, Lowes has them, common item. An adjustable post may be it if it screws out. They have weight ratings, is this one-2 story-brick-wood. Menards will order heavier rated ones or have some in stock, Orange Vs grey. Screw jacks- building support colums they are called different names. Im sure you have alot of supply houses in the area. As long as it screws out it will work if you get the load right.
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Beantown wrote:

Bet there's a place where you could rent them. Yellow Pages.
Jim
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If you put all the centers weight on posts jacking probably will crack the floor then sink again. If it was built right it would not have sunk in the first place. Forget steel replacement if beam is not rotted. Unless you want the space and are willing to pay, But if it is low it still has to be raised over time. An amateur could also have a disaster for you as load on both sides must be transfered off the beam and not shift. Jacking is easy beam replacement is not.
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It will bend just not in a day or 2 do it over months the real damage will be joists and upstairs if not carefull, Doors and windows wont work, that is where you need to stop and reasess it.
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wrote:

What is the original problem? Is the beam bending sinking at one end, or rotting? Have you gone and added extra weight above it somehow? What's holding it up now?
If the beam isn't rotting, you don't need to replace it. If the existing POSTS (or whatever holds the beam up) are adequate, then you don't need new footings or posts, you just crank the beam back to wherever you want it, and bolt steel or wood to the sides of it.
Alternatively, if you're adding posts, you shouldn't need to beef up the beam. If the beam in question is in the basement, and the basement floor is in decent shape, you could probably get buy with just a steel plate to keep the post from punching through the floor, but that depends on what you're holding up.
Normal people just shove a jack-post in place, crank the sucker up and leave it there.
--Goedjn
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wrote:

In that case, what you want is to get a pair of 4x4s and bottle-jacks, crank the beam up 1/4" every couple days, and shove metal shims on top of the masonry pillar, until it's right.
And mark the pillar somehow so you can tell if it's still moving.
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I helped a friend build a house about 15 years ago. We used a steel beam to support a 28 foot span. The size of the beam will determine how large a span and if supports are needed. The two ends are supported by the foundation.
In any case, the building inspector asked that one center support be used. We did dig a footing about 2' deep. Since is was in the center of the house, frost line was not a concern.
I have no idea of the cost to do a replacement.
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Probably, but since he'll need them for a couple of months, he cold easily buy them for the cost of a week's rental. Thee is a world outside of Boston also. Sometimes you just have to go searching.
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Get yourself one of those 8 foot high I-beams they use for huge bridges. The beam will go from floor to ceiling will support the whole house. However, you will need two basement stairways do you can get to each side of the beam. Prepare yourself to pay about $25 to $30,000 a foot though.
wrote:

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2926T13 Screw Jack 12 Ton Cap, 3-3/4" Max Lift, 9-3/4" Min Height In stock at $82.93 Each
www.mcmaster.com
use two, use a 4x4 from the top of the jack to the bottom of the beam. Strp the 4x4 to the beam so it doesn't fall. Jack it up in small increments over a long time at you r leisure. When the beam is up where you want it, remove& replace or repair the brick column & it foundation, let the beam back onto the column.
Unless you're really handy & know exactly what you are doing but discuss the fix with an engineer & you can DIY with confidence. It you did this yourself your cost would b minimal beyond the engineering consult., it's mostly time
btw yes a steel beam can span 24' but again you need some who understands the construciton of your house & can do the calcs.
cheers Bob
in defense of the contractors, time is money; they want to get in & get out fast. Old houses typically need a lot of TLC. Not exactly, compatible with contractor way of doing stuff, unless it's T&M.
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Beantown wrote:

Use a hydraulic jack, then set the screws.
Also, just guessing, but I don't think you need concrete footings - just a honkin' big sheet of thick steel.
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I had a similar problem a few years ago. I got two proposals. The first one was to install 2 screw jacks over new concrete footings (about $1,000). Most of the cost was the time to pour the footings since a lot of digging in a very shallow crawlspace had to be done by hand. The second solution was to replace the 2x8 feet span wood beams with one steel beam. I think the cost was approx in the $5,000 range.

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Beans,
Have you considered hiring a civil engineer to look at your problem and propose solutions? If he proposes jacking then he may be willing to name a few contractors and give you a guess at cost. No one in this newsgroup can give you a good guesstimate. There are too many factors that are job specific.
Good luck, Dave M.
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