beam and pier issue


Old 06-12-14, 06:46 PM
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beam and pier issue

This issue is actually for a small home addition (~14x8 ft), but the addition is built on a foundation virtually identical to deck construction. So, I am hoping someone will be able to offer some informed advice.
You can see from the pictures that double 2x8 beam is not bearing on much of the concrete pier and that it is actually only bearing on a small cedar shim and not the concrete. It is hard to see from the picture, but exactly 1/2 of the 2x beam is resting on the shim and the other half of the beam is not directly bearing on anything. Further, from one of the pictures you can see that some sort of attempt to possibly gain extra bearing was made through nailing a small black of wood at an angle to the 2x beam (what else could this have been there for?). I removed this block of wood for now.
The entire construction sits only a couple of inches above grade, if at all. The pictures depict the front (away from house) center pier. There is another pier at the front right corner where the same beam bears on a 3 1/2 inch high 6x6 post. The 6x6x post was my doing as I replaced the same height 4x4 post that was beginning to rot. The back of the addition is bolted on to the house's breezeway/garage slab. The entire left side of the addition has bearing on the garage slab and I believe that the back right corner has bearing on a section of the house's full basement. So, there are only 2 concrete piers in the equation and it is this front center one that seems problematic due to it being so off center.
The addition has existed this way for probably over 20 or 25 years. The integrity of wood in the beams and joists all seem solid. Like I wrote above, I only had to replace 1 rotting support post and this rot was likely due to an improper downspout that emptied/splashed only a couple of inches from the associated pier for many years on end.
I am the new owner of this mess and I am looking for some advice as to how to proceed. Is there anything DYI that I can do to shore up the off center pier/beam? Perhaps some sort of beam scab that might give me a better safety margin through increased bearing surface? Or, should I just not worry about it since it has seemingly not been an issue for so long now and we are talking about something that basically sits on the ground...where and how is it going to fail in a catastrophic way? I am not looking to pay a foundation contractor to dig out the old concrete tube and then cast a new one in the correct spot, but I certainly take warnings about impending trouble very seriously and might have to reevaluate. What do you think? Thanks for your input.

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Old 06-12-14, 10:25 PM
BridgeMan45's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
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The existing situation may hold for a while, but why take the chance? If it lets go, you will have some serious floor sagging problems to correct.

If it was mine, I'd dig around the existing concrete footing, going as deep or slightly deeper than it is, and then pour a supplemental concrete footing up against it, doweled in with adequate rebar. A tight-fitting, hefty steel plate bridging across both concrete placements would properly distribute the beam loading. And you can then live happily ever after.
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