Building A Laminated Beam...


Old 07-04-04, 04:56 PM
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Building A Laminated Beam...

Hello folks.. Another newbie.. Another question. I have read around the site for sometime and must say you guys have a great thing going here.. Back to newbie mode and my question..

I plane on replacing the main beam in my house and just looking for any general help in how to properly lamintate a replacement.

Some backgroud.
The existing beam is 21' long and was supported on sinking footings at about the halfway mark. The beam has sagged nearly 3" in the center where it was not correctly supported. I have now added in 4 jack posts and brought it back to near level over the last few months. The beam itself looks to be a ceader post that has been shaved off on two sides. It is 10" wide and 5.5" tall.

I plan on laminating a replacement and putting it in place. I have already taken care of the footing for the centre post.

Now for the stupid question..
Does the wood in the laminated beam go sideways or flat for this type of application? I would assume the stregth is in the width so the boards would go sideways? What I am reading about Glulam beams is they go flat.

I was planning on building a 24' beam (A few feet longer then needed) by using 2"x10"x 12 feet. And putting together a 10" x 10" beam and then cutting to legth later.
Here is the board layout
12' - 12'
6' - 12' - 6'
12' - 12'
6' - 12' - 6'
12' - 12'

Overlapping joints.. Lots of nails.. Glue? Any recommended nailing pattern?

Sorry for the stupid question thrown in... Just need to confirm things for myself... Any thoughts, comments, and general idea's are greatly apprecaited.


Last edited by Bedpan; 07-04-04 at 06:36 PM.
Old 07-06-04, 10:40 PM
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Hi Mike,

Better to ask a stupid question than make a stupid mistake that could potentially damage what is probably the largest investment you have, your house!

You've got the right idea on your lay-out and yes use alot of liquid nails or other good water proof wood glue. I would use torx head self-tapping wood screws instead of the nails myself, screws are much less likely to back out as the wood dries & ages over time and the torx heads strip out & are easier to drive than phillips head screws. Screws are also thicker than nails ane there fore have more strength than nails. I'd screw the pieces together at about every 6", mark your cut-off line for length and be sure not to screw in that area so you won't have to worry about a screw being in your saw cutting path.

The boards may be put together while laying flat, but the finished beam should be placed on edge to provide maximum support in it's finished position.
Old 07-07-04, 02:29 PM
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why don't you buy a beam?

Creating a glulam is not as easy as it appears. There are numerous variations to beams. For example there is a balanced layup and an unbalanced. Depending on the bearings and loads you may require a balanced beam versus an unbalanced beam. Also most glulams are made with specific species, and grades. You most likely won't be able to get the required values from lumber purchased at HD. The last thing to consider is how in the heck are you going to be able to create the required camber to offset deflection. When they make glulams they come with an arch built in to offset deflection. Most commonly purchased beams either come with a 1500 or 2000 radius for this purpose.
Old 07-08-04, 07:33 PM
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Thanks for the response folks..

Awsomedell, your answer is right up my alley..

Unique, I will not be doing all the work myself, but having over a few family memebers with far more experience then I doing this type of work. Caution and prudence is needed when doing structural work on a house.. I appreaciate that. For the short span, single store however I don't see this a being all that hard..

Thanks again,

Old 07-08-04, 07:56 PM
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Just my 2 cents. When laying out your new beam keep in mind that lumber has a crown. If you look down the edge of your new boards you will see a slight bow. Make sure all bows are in the same direction when you put it together. When you install your new beam set it crown up (the curve up) That’s all I have to add to Dells excellent advise. Good Luck. and welcome to the forums.
Old 04-14-09, 12:57 PM
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Homemade Gluelam Beam

Hope this can be helpful:
For the past two years a homemade header I made has done a great job spanning a 12 ft. opening. It is on a structural wall we removed. It supports roof trusses on the side of our kitchen, and creates an opening to a patio space.
It was made using two 2x10 dimensional lumber boards sandwiching a 1/2 " thick plywood center. Both sides of the plywood were coated with Liquid Nails and it is held together with 1/2" dia. threaded bolts, penetrating the first 2x10 and anchoring into the other, spaced every two feet.
Now we are replacing the supporting wall between the den and living room with vertical posts using four 2x8s glued and bolted together the same way.
Old 04-15-09, 07:03 PM
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Welcome, airfreighter. You may have to circle awhile before anyone answers. Notice the O.P.'s date.........

Here's some info you may need. Notice interior beams, 1 floor and 2 floors supporting.

Notice the screw----spacing, pattern, application, length, how they affect.

Strong-Drive® Screw Installation for LVL, PSL and LSL

Hope this helps keep you safe. Be safe, GBAR

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