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Building a loft in my garage -- 18ft span. Need help calculating what size beam

#1
12-26-14, 05:03 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1
Building a loft in my garage -- 18ft span. Need help calculating what size beam

Hey Everyone! First post!

I'm moving into a new place that has a garage with 13 foot ceilings, but the actual dimensions of the garage is fairly small at only 20 ft deep x 18 ft wide. In order to have additional storage my plan is to build a loft 8ft off the ground that extends 6 ft from the back wall, stretching the full width of 18 ft.

In my head the way I'd be constructing this would be putting 4x6 or 6x6 posts at each corner, and use some kind of beams to span the 18 ft width between them. I'm having difficulty determining what size beams can span the 18ft distance between them... I really want to avoid having a post in the center of the garage. Any ideas on how to calculate these beam sizes? I'm guessing that I need to use some kind of lvl/engineered beam, but am having trouble finding any real information that shows span distances for them along with load limits.

Thanks for any help!

#2
12-26-14, 05:47 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 21,569
A search online will tell you what size beams either traditional wood or LVL can span that distance. The key will be determining how much weight you want to support. In the end I think you'll find that spanning 18' is a bit optimistic for a storage shelf or loft. Even one support in the middle, cutting the span to 9', will dramatically reduce the size of beam required.

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