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Should I reinforce this beam, simplest way?


flyingpolarbear's Avatar
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02-02-13, 09:49 PM   #1  
Simplest way to reinforce existing 4x10 header beam?

We opened up the plaster on a roof load bearing wall to replace some termite damaged wood. Right now there is an 8 1/2 foot span room opening and an old 4x10 header. There is still 5 3/4" of space above the reinforcing header and below the roof header 2x4s where I can knock out the little vertical studs (cripple studs) and insert some more wood. This idea came up because eventually we will be replacing the wood shingle roof with a tile roof and that's going to be a lot heavier. Sometimes I think about how heavy the concrete tile roofs are and whether my house could handle the weight. Now I have this window of opportunity to add another beam before we cover the wall back up. Would it help the structure much to add another beam on top, maybe a 4x4 or 4x6 or glue lam, or screw a 1/4" metal plate on the exposed side (filtch plate on one side)? Would this kind of quick retrofit be a lot weaker than upgrading the whole thing to a larger size beam? If a 4x10 is always considered plenty strong for an 8 1/2 foot single story load bearing span, I will leave it alone.


Last edited by flyingpolarbear; 02-02-13 at 11:27 PM.
 
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02-03-13, 05:01 AM   #2  
I followed most of it, but I've only got one cup down. Any way you can post a pix of what you are seeing? Sure would help. Thanks.

 
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02-03-13, 10:11 AM   #3  
It is pretty simple as far as how this is framed, just like this diagram. I guess my question comes down to the quickest, easiest way to make it even stronger than it was originally designed. Trying to avoid having to replace the beam because it has so many nails to cut out.

For example if I knock out the cripple studs I can add a 4x6 on top, but then I would with the 1/4" gap remaining the fill above. Would it then be best to hammer in a 1/4" piece of plywood to fill the gap?


 
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02-03-13, 10:28 AM   #4  
Put the cripple studs back in over the top of the header 16" OC like they were originally and you're done.

 
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02-03-13, 10:47 AM   #5  
The cripple studs would be 1/4" tall if I add a 4x6. Whatever I put in there to fill the gap would be a tight fit. Would it be ok to use a 1/4" plywood sheet for the gap, hammering this shim to fit if there are any tight spots?

 
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02-03-13, 11:08 AM   #6  
If a 4x10 is always considered plenty strong for an 8 1/2 foot single story load bearing span, I will leave it alone.
Leave it alone. Put the cripples back in "like they were originally".

Adding a 4x6 on top of the existing header doesn't do much. If you want more strength you would remove the existing header and put in a larger one. Unless there is something we don't know about, the way your existing header and wall was built originally is just fine.

 
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02-03-13, 11:55 AM   #7  
hmmm, that was my dilemma, whether it would help the strength much, or not. Here is an interesting discussion about the strength of stacked beams:

CR4 - Thread: Bending Strength - Stacked Beams

 
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02-03-13, 01:18 PM   #8  
They are discussing "stacked" beams. You don't have a stacked beam. Your header is vertical to the grain. Stacked beams/headers are weaker than vertically assembled ones, and need more beef in them.

 
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02-03-13, 01:30 PM   #9  
Chandler sorry about the confusion, I'm talking about possibly making a stacked beam, not referring to they way it is now. The thread in the link helps understand how much strength that might add.

 
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02-03-13, 02:27 PM   #10  
The vertical cripples will give more vertical strength than adding a stacked header, mainly because of the grain of the wood. Cripples grain is vertical, pressure is vertical.....I'd replace the cripples and call it a day.

 
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