I'm wondering if I can strengthen the support beam in my basement in order
one of the support posts... Here's a sketch of the current design:
Can I reinforce the current 3 ply 2x12 basement beam with extra 2x12's on
in order to eliminate the middle post? If so, how many 2x12's or micro lams
on either side of the current beam to support the house?
Also, would the end points of the new, longer beam need to be reinforced?
one side sits on a 3" tapco post and the other sits on a 12" block wall -
not with a
double pileaster and not slushed & rodded - just hollow.
No one can answer your question. You've omitted crucial information
and no one knows the conditions. I can answer parts of it. Would the
ends need to be reinforced - yes. Could you reinforce with LVLS -
Minor questions on newsgroups get batted back and forth. This isn't a
minor question. Do yourself the favor and get a professional to
eyeball the situation and design something for you.
If its a cheap house and you are short on cash you could
probably get away with an 18" wide x 8" deep block column as
additional support on the block wall end. then fill it with
rebar and motar bring the sides up around your beefed up beam.
You dont call out the span... thats crucial. your drawing
though if its anything close to scale shows a very short span.
How far away are the other beams?..
Myself I would use heavy framing nails to nail 1 or two
courses of 3/4" plywood to each side of the beam and maybe an
inch or two deeper, a full 12 or 13" and stagger the laps as
much as possible toward the ends not near the middle.
that would *probably work out just fine.. probably is a risky
word in this business.
What else is going on with the foundation etc..where are the
sheer walls, how is the existing block secured to the existing
foundation. are there signs of foundation or wall cracking?
Is the roof sagging etc How risky is it..probably not overly
risky but its hard to say from here.
The easiest way is to hire an engineer. it will not cost much to hire
one. it wouldn't take much time to spec it out.
you could build temporary walls on each side of the current 3ply 2x12s
and then replace the 2x12s with lvl's. you would need plates to hold
the lvls and these would have to be fabricated. the engineer will spec
out where to cut the 2x12s and the specs for the plates.
Rico's suggestion to get an engineer is a good one.
But I'll give you some more advice, that's worth what you're paying for it:
Get more detail in your sketch - what does the upstairs wall look like?
Doors/openings? framed with wood 2x4's 16", or something else? show a
cross-section the other way - describe the joists that run across the beam -
size, spacing, spans... take a lot of photos. Then show it to a pro.
A 12' span is do-able, perhaps even without professional advice. Based on
the limited data you've offered, I'd consider bolting a couple 12' x 11" x
1/2" steel plates to the beam, one on either side. Do some calculations to
estimate the loads, and evaluate whether the remaining block and post can
handle the increased load (maybe a 50% increase on each - my guess, assuming
its a well-built home, is that you'll be fine).
Good luck, and be careful!
Can you do it maybe, maybe not. Get in an engineer. I couldnt without
major issues, I tried, for me my floors would have been pushed up or the
beam would have been to low or steel would have been needed while
suporting and removing the old beam. If you do decide you need exact
measurements before of ceiling to floor height every 6 ft or so in
Milimeters and monitoring after to see if settling occurs. Tripling
beam strength or more may not do it
Thanks for all the info... I guess I was checking to see if it was a
definite pat yes or no - didn't know if it was a common thing to do or not.
Probably the best advice would be to get a professional opinion. What kind
of company/person should I go to for this check? Is there some sort of
certification/etc I should make sure they have? Also, what's reasonable -
$100, $500, etc?
If a client brings me sufficient information to evaluate the situation,
then I usually charge less than $300. It I have to go to the site then
it might be a few hundred bucks more, but usually not more than $500.
You should hire an engineer licensed to practice in your state.
preferably a structural engineer, but that is not required if the person
has structural design experience. Try the yellow pages under
One final note: since this is a structural change, most building
departments require a permit for the work. In order to submit you will
need drawings. The above fees do not include permit ready package, but
only the structural design and connection details. You will need to
either put the package together yourself or hire someone to do it.
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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