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How cracked can a support beam be?


rjcarr's Avatar
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12-03-09, 11:21 PM   #1  
How cracked can a support beam be?

I just purchased a house (looking to be a mistake) and it is a rehab house so many-to-most of the walls are open and the structure is visible. Here's a set of 4 images:

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The first image shows a small crack in a beam (6x10) that I'm not too worried about. The second picture gives you an idea of the size of the beam (16 feet). The next two pictures show the detail of cracks in an identical beam on the other side of the house.

You can see that the split is causing the beam to bow out a little bit. Also, there's a crack in the drywall of the ceiling that this beam supports, although I have no idea if it is related.

So ... how nervous should I be? What are my options?

 
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Pulpo's Avatar
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12-04-09, 02:36 PM   #2  
The structure still looks solid to me. There are some flat iron brackets that you can bolt over the larger crack to stop it from splitting more.

 
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12-04-09, 03:46 PM   #3  
Welcome to the forum! Neighbor, I'm in Tacoma. The older weathered beam is fine, the diagonal crack at bearing doesn't look to be worrisome. However on the other side of that double header joist carrying the floor section..... I am a little concerned, nothing to panic about though. The cross wall below and perpendicular to the joists attached to the doubler will help support the floor load there. If a door is in that wall, I would add a solid header and solid blocking below it on the ends to carry the load to the side trimmer studs.
Last resort, I would add 2x6 studs flat in the other wall behind the doubler, nailed to the existing ones, and lag bolt into the doubler to take a portion of the load. Or is that concrete behind the wall?

Be safe, Gary

 
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12-04-09, 04:10 PM   #4  
Hi Gary, thanks for the greetings and the response, however, I'm not in construction so a lot of what you said went right over my head.

I think most of your comment was on the first two pictures. When you say "doubler" you mean the doubled support beam that is perpendicular to the "weathered" beam (in picture 2)? If so, can you explain why you think this is a problem?

I am most concerned about pictures 3 and 4, where a similar beam is split down the center and beginning to bow. Pulpo suggested I could just tie it together, which is a great suggestion, but is there anything else I could or should do?

Thanks!

 
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12-04-09, 04:16 PM   #5  
I understood the two beams run with the joists, front to back, say. The doubler runs side to side, or perpendicular to the joists. The load carried by the doubler is the shorter joists that span over a wall. In that wall, is there a door opening?Be safe, Gary

 
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12-04-09, 04:20 PM   #6  
Hi Gary ... your assessment is correct, and there is a door in that wall, however, the joists attached to that "doubler" aren't supporting that much weight (well, relative). Above the joists attached to the doubler is a loft, and it is only about 6 x 10.

As I said, from what I can tell, that structure doesn't bother me, but the split beam in the 3rd and 4th photos really concerns me. Do you have any recommendations other than what Pulpo suggested?

 
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12-04-09, 04:29 PM   #7  
I was trying to use that wall to hold up the joists and floor load above. Helping take some of the doubler load that is directly loading the two beams. Hence the solid door header.

I would figure the total load above and figure the beam size/span below to see if they are compatible. The split is in the tension (bottom) edge, which could reduce it to the next size smaller for loads. If the knot wasn't in the crack it would be much wider.
Add construction adhesive in the crack and sistered or flitch plate as mentioned. http://www.finehomebuilding.com/PDF/Free/021184090.pdf

Be safe, Gary

 
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12-04-09, 04:33 PM   #8  
Hi Gary, thanks again for the response.

Is there any chance you are a structural engineer and I can hire you to take a look at it? There is another problem I need help with too, regarding a post not a beam.

I'm in Lynnwood so it'd be a bit of a ride for you. If you can't or aren't interested, is there anyone you can recommend in my area to take a look at it?

 
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12-04-09, 04:56 PM   #9  
Uhhhh...you guys should exchange e-mail addys via PM and take this off the forum. I don't think this is a big violation..but it's really not allowed. Please no personal info on the board.....thx

Oh...rj..wife and I are coming to visit son next spring...if you are a long time resident there, could you PM me for some questions?
Thx again


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12-07-09, 12:07 PM   #10  
I'm not an S.E., and the drive is too far. No recomendations, sorry. The frame wall is carrying most of the floor above, add a diagonal brace (2x4 at an angle from botom sides to top center) to the portion over the door header.
Be safe, Gary

 
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