Large cracks in vertical wooden carrying beam


Old 07-27-16, 02:57 AM
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Large cracks in vertical wooden carrying beam

Hello all,
I have an urgent question;
In October 2015, our contractor has rebuild our house from the inside up, due to severe termite damage. All (!) wooden flooring, beams, roof etc etc was taken out and the wooden parts of the house was build up again. Now, 9 months later, one of the most important, central carrying beams, started to crack heavily. The cracks are on both sides, but not exactly on the same place. There are many cracks but do not run from top to bottom. The 4x4 pole is pressured treated, but was very wet when placed. The pole also function as a t-carrier for 2 large horizontal beams (11x4 glued I believe) to support the overspan of the wooden floor on the first floor. The pole is now also tensioned as a bow and start setting as a C ~But this might only be 3/4 mm in the middle of the pole. The pole is standing straight on a concrete floor which was first covered with 2 layers of garage epoxy.
I live in Tennessee with very hot humid sommers and close to freezing wet winters. However, the pole stands just behind an air conditioning outlet.

My question; do I have a problem after just 9 months? Specially because it's carrying a lot and the cracks seems deep and on both sides?
Or is this just "setting"?

Please advice? The cracks seems lately to intensify faster.

Thnx Marty

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Old 07-27-16, 03:27 AM
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Welcome to the forums Marty!

It is commonplace for PT lumber to crack some as it dries out, especially 4x4s and 6x6s.
As long as the floor above is level I wouldn't be overly concerned.
Old 07-27-16, 05:34 AM
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It's called checking. Most times its a natural phenomenon. But in your case it seems more than proper. PT wood needs to be properly kiln dried prior to treatment. Then the treated wood needs to be seasoned or left to dry before use. Most lumber companies do not allow for this since getting the wood to market is first and foremost. Although your situation may not be a problem, I would call a third party inspector to review and get a written opinion on the integrity of the beam. Being brand new it seems that wood was not properly prepared for use.
Old 07-27-16, 04:06 PM
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Odd that they used pressure treated at all on the inside.
Checking is not going to effect the top loading strength at all.
Old 07-27-16, 04:15 PM
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Beams are horizontal... posts and columns are vertical.

I find it odd that they used wood in the first place... a steel column would have been stronger. Don't know anything about how the post is supported but the post also should have a footing, it shouldn't just be setting on the floor.
Old 07-27-16, 04:55 PM
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Joe and Xsleeper, good points. Perhaps it was aesthetic purposes since it looks like living space. Although the OP said it was sitting on the epoxy coated floor, we did not see it as such and it may in fact have a footing or metal bracket to maintain stability.

Joe, I agree checking won't affect top loading but the amount of checking and the deepness of the checks does call into question the overall integrity of the post.

A steel post or column with a wooden casing around it would've been a better solution and one that can still be affected.

If it we mine I would not be happy about the situation.
Old 07-27-16, 10:28 PM
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Thnx all for commenting. In between the lines I read that my house will not "collapse" immediately. Sorry for the wrong term beam vs post what I used. The post has not a wooden footing or whatsoever. This was one of the problems I had with the contractor. At all the contractor had made a 6 foot overspan, so the post was needed to fix their problem.

What could I do to stop the cracking? And keeping the strength in supporting the load? Metal bands/strips? Replacing the post WITH a footing?

Thnx all for support and answers!

Old 07-28-16, 02:57 AM
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The footing to which Brant was referring extends well below the thickness of your slab. A slab alone won't withstand the vertical pressures placed upon it by a pencil thin post. Normally a contractor will cut the slab in a 1' x 1' square, dig down say a foot and pour concrete grout in the hole to create a footer, smoothing it out to match the slab. If you are not having problems with the slab, then replacing the wooden post with a metal one would be your best solution that would be worry free. The checking of the post is normal, but you are looking for a warm and fuzzy, so replace the post. In addition, I find that a 4x4 would be woefully inadequate in size for a post holding up a house. I would think they would have used a 6x6.

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