13 ft beam/header span question


Old 10-13-16, 08:45 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
13 ft beam/header span question

I am removing part of a load bearing wall that spans 13ft. At the end of the 13ft, there will be a load bearing wall continuing the rest of the floor span. The joists are 22 foot in length, 2x8, spaced 12 inches apart and are continuous (do not stop at the beam).I have a second floor and attic (that is empty) and is constructed with rafters. My goal is to acquire an old barn wood hand hewn beam that is square (8x8, 10x10, etc.) How thick should this beam be? The wall directly above the beam is also a load bearing wall for the attic; again, empty.

Things to note; I am on a crawl space; the center supporting pier for the main floor support is exactly 36 inches from where the header will stop; the pier splits the main floor support; the load bearing wall sits right on top of a floor joist that is also 2x8. That floor joist crosses the main support beam just inches from the center support pier.
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Old 10-13-16, 08:56 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
Maybe not necessary to say but it is going to be an exposed beam. Additionally, if a rectangular beam is better for rigidity purposes, just let me know and I will change my design.
Old 10-13-16, 10:22 AM
Join Date: May 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 3,138
Couple of things working against you here. First, we cannot see your house and it's difficult to give enough details in a description to provide all the pertinent input. For example, you say the load bearing wall is supported just by a floor joist and not a beam with piers and footers. That doesn't sound like a load bearing wall, at least not a proper one.

Second, this is not the kind of thing you want to do based solely on the advice of well meaning folks on the internet, despite some of them being extremely knowledgeable and experienced...there are too many variables and unknowns.

Third, it doesn't matter if the second floor or attic is empty or lightly loaded now; you have to design and build this to accommodate potential loads as governed by your local codes.

Finally, A barn beam is an unknown quantity...there is no way to judge its condition and load carrying capability. You would want to put in a beam with known structural characteristics and ratings. You can then surround it with a non structural box made from your barn wood if that's the look you want.

So hire yourself a structural engineer to advise you on how to do this safely. You will likely never get a permit without an engineer's stamp anyway. Don't mean to be negative, and we do encourage DIY at this site, but this is the kind of project that can really cause problems if not done properly.

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