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Can you attach (2) lvl beams to make (1) long beam?

Can you attach (2) lvl beams to make (1) long beam?

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  #1  
Old 01-13-14, 12:06 PM
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Can you attach (2) lvl beams to make (1) long beam?

All,

I am removing a load bearing wall between my kitchen and living room that is roughly 11.5' long. The beam I need to have has to be roughly 24' long. I need it to reach from part of the existing wall that will stay, all the way to the next load bearing wall (which happens to be my garage wall). From that garage wall to the wall I am removing there is no wall, it spans roughly 11'ish, then there the 11.5' section of wall I am removing, and that same wall continues to make the hallway. *Attached is a diagram, hope it helps*

My plan was to use an LVL beam up in the attic. I was going to set (1) end on the load bearing garage wall for support and run the other end all the way to the portion of the load bearing wall that will still stand. That way each end would have support to rest on. I was going to then attach the LVL beam using hurricane straps, on every ceiling joist, on each side of the LVL beam. The beam would then be hidden in the attic and provided the needed support for the wall that will be removed.

Problem is, I do not think I will be able to get a 24' beam up into my attic. My question is, can I buy lets say (2) 12' LVL beams and attach them together to make (1) 24' LVL beam. If so, how would one attach them together?

If this cant be done, can I go with my original plan but use only a 14' LVL beam. One end would be supported on the section of wall that will stay and they other will run toward the garage wall and end on a ceiling joist? If not, what is the best way to go about adding the extra support?

**I have already spoken to a contractor who thought I would be just fine in removing the wall with the way my roof & ceiling are built up in the attic. The wall runs perpendicular to the ceiling joists. Me being cautious, I'd like to stick a beam up there.**
 
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  #2  
Old 01-13-14, 03:23 PM
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Picture didn't post. You will end up with 2 ea 12' LVL and a combination of shorter ones, like 3 ea 8' ones so you will be spanning across the break of the 12' ers. If you could manage 2 ea 16' and 2 ea 8' you would be better off. You would need to build 2 false walls to hold up the ceiling framing, while you cut the joists. Then you would use joist hangers, not hurricane straps, to hold the joists to the LVL.

After re-reading your post, you have a midspan support wall? If so the 12' idea would work as long as the support for the remaining wall goes all the way to foundation.
 
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Old 01-13-14, 04:19 PM
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So if I were to just get lets say a 14' LVL beam I could use that? That was my original plan. I was going to set the LVL above the ceiling joists up in the attic. I was going to have roughly 6"-1' of the LVL extend across where there would be wall below and the other end would just extend as far as it could go, ending on a joist in the middle of that living room (up in the attic).

the picture was added as an attachment
 
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Old 01-13-14, 05:10 PM
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I've never seen an LVL placed above the joists. In all fairness lets wait on some of the others since practices vary across the country. There's plenty of knowledge to get the right answer.
 
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Old 01-13-14, 05:41 PM
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I did something similar for my dad (who thought that when he built his house 35 years ago that he could use 28' 2x6's as ceiling joists- unsupported- if he propped them up to the rafters). In his case, we put a 2x12x12' header above the joists that sat on 2 load bearing points, jacked up about 10' worth of joists that had sagged to meet the bottom of the header, then used Simpson TS12 straps on each side to hold the joists to the header. In his case, there was no inspection, and probably never will be. I doubt a framing inspector would be too pleased with our idea, as there is nothing to keep the header from rolling left or right, other than the straps on each side. If they go to sell the house someday, a home inspector will probably scratch his head looking at that one.

So Greg, back to your idea. I hesitate to make any recommendation without knowing exactly what your framing looks like. An actual digital picture (not a floor plan .doc) showing the attic space, the ceiling joists, the area where the wall is... would be preferred, before we jump in and give any recommendations.

I would say that generally when something like this is done, with lengths like you are suggesting, a temporary wall is built on each side of the wall that is to be removed... the ceiling joists are then cut out to make space for a steel i-beam (packed out with framing lumber) that is then inserted up into space that has been cut out for it. Joist hangers hold the framing that will butt into each side of it. Steel columns inside the walls on each side support the i-beam. It's imperative that there be solid support (squash blocks) in the floor under the columns to transfer all that weight all the way to the foundation. Then the temporary walls are removed.

Regarding your idea to put an LVL over the joists... if it were possible, it would HAVE to be one piece (at least not spliced where it is unsupported) and it would HAVE to sit on two load bearing points. It definitely could not just extend as far as possible into the living room and then just end in the middle of nowhere.

If you have engineered trusses, they cannot be cut. But the pictures might make all that clear. We will look forward to seeing them. Get plenty of lights up there for the pics. (300 watt)
 
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Old 01-13-14, 08:04 PM
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A few observations:

1. In my opinion, longitudinal splicing of an LVL beam will be seriously frowned upon by LVL manufacturers (as in, "If you do it, our product warranty no longer exists"). Particularly where there is no support at midspan, the location where positive bending moment stresses are greatest. If in doubt, give the manufacturer's tech support people a call.
2. If one searched diligently enough, he/she might find an engineer willing to design and detail a moment-carrying splice assembly. If I remember correctly, the trouble with trying to go that route is that most states that I've been licensed in have restrictions on modifying someone else's engineered product. Meaning the splice designer runs the risk of losing his/her license to legally practice engineering, should things go wrong.
3. An alternative solution would be to install an LVL full-length, by opening up the roof at one end to enable the LVL to be slid into place, as a unit, without splices. Installing proper bearing support in the load-bearing walls will be required, and heel-cutting the tops of the LVL ends (to fit under the roof's slope) has to conform to manufacturer's restrictions.
4. If it was mine to address, I'd be strongly leaning towards not trying to clear-span the full 24', along with staying out of the attic. A very pleasing look could be achieved by incorporating 2 symmetrical beams with shallow, elliptical arches in the living space (below the ceiling), with a single, center support column. Everything could be sheet-rocked, textured and painted, and using all bull-nose corners will "soften" the look. I installed a number of such arches in several homes, and the clients were quite pleased with the finished products.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 06:30 AM
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Bridge, my observation was also regarding installing the support beam ABOVE the ceiling joists. Is that feasible, and what about joist support to that beam? I have never heard of that, but it is a big country. Thanks to you and Brant for your input.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 09:51 AM
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Running a beam above ceiling joists could work, provided that the LVL manufacturer's restrictions are adhered to, and adequate connection details are used to prevent the beam from rotating under certain loading conditions (such as just one of the two joist spans being used for attic storage, creating an imbalanced situation).
 
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Old 01-14-14, 04:56 PM
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So what is the best way to connect the joists beneath to the beam? I don't want to steer anyone wrong, but hurricane ties won't hold the weight, IMO.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 05:44 PM
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Both Simpson and United Steel make deep hangers that would work; they have saddles that hang over the top flange of the LVL. My catalogs are ancient, meaning the product numbers listed are likely no longer available. It's best to do a search of their current product lines to find the right fit. Custom fabrication of hangers is also an option, and will be cheaper if the OP happens to be a weekend metal worker.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 06:20 PM
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Got it. Maybe the OP can glean info from that. Thanks.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 10:19 PM
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A hanger would be hard to install with existing drywall... I would recommend a TS (twist strap) or possibly an LTS, MTS or HTS, depending on the design load.

Like I mentioned earlier, when I did this exact thing using a 2x12 header above 2x6 joists, I used pairs of TS12's. Two on each side of each joist on one side of the header, and two on each side of each joist on the other.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 01:33 AM
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In reference to making things easier to install (and as I mentioned earlier), the OP could keep things simple by staying out of the attic, and just hide the beams by building a few arches with center column support in the living space. Quicker, cheaper, and far less chance of things not performing properly.

What's not to like about that? Unless the boss hates elliptical arches in her living space.
 
 

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