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Brent
Remove post and replace with beam in older home (circa 1920)

Hi - I am hoping for some advice on my 1920's 1-1/2 story home.

We have a beam in my basement spanning approximately 26 feet. The beam is a 2-2x8 with the joists nailed directly to it (not sitting on top). The beam then has a 2x8 footer board nailed underneath it. The supported distance is about 13' on each side of the beam. The ends of the beam are supported by the basement walls, and there are 2 posts supporting the beam. Post #1 is approximately 12 feet from one end, while post #2 is about 7 feet from the other end. I would like to know if I could remove post #2, and then sister up another beam from the end of the original beam to the remaining post. This would give me an open span of about 14 feet on one side of the remaining post (now with a double beam) and a clear span of about 12' on the other side of the remaining post (which would basically remain as it is today. I want to know how big the beam would need to be to do this. The basement has uncommonly high ceilings for a house of this era (8') so a support beam dropping into the open space is not a big deal as long as it is not too big, or I don't have basketball players over to the house :)
Additional information: I live in SE Michigan, and the home is essentially a 1-1/2 story (walk in attic and two small bedrooms upstairs). Full basement, asphalt roof.

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks! 

HandyAndyInMtAiry
Re: Remove post and replace with beam in older home (circa 1920)

Brent,

You are asking us to give advice on something that we cannot see. I feel that 2x8's are too small. I would use steel I beam or 2x12's. (3) 2x12's with 3/4" plywood in between. Steel I beam is a lot less costly than that much wood, and is much, much stronger. Make them span the entire width. You may cut and connect only if there are (2) steel 8" posts under the joint. Do not rest the posts on the existing floor, dig out a 2'x2'x2' section, pour in 6" of 3/4" stone and stone dust, fill the rest with concrete. Set the post on top of the cured concrete.

This is the way that I would do for my house. I never want it to give a single millimeter though. Do the job right the first time, and you will never have to touch it again.

Andrew

Handy Andy In Mt Airy NC

Brent
Re: Remove post and replace with beam in older home (circa 1920)

Hi Andy,

Thank you for the input. I have looked into steel beams, but my research says that the steel is much more expensive than a wood or lam beam. Maybe because I live in Michigan? Anyway, I will try to put some pictures up to help explain a bit more. In my original description, I spoke about "sistering" another beam to the existing. This is not accurate. What I meant to say was that I would be placing another beam directly under the existing beam and then jacking it up against the existing beam and securing the two beams together with hurricane ties. My thinking is that the current beam already carries a lot of the load. It is just not strong enough to be used without a post. However, if I take the post out and place another reinforced beam under the area and tie them together, it should help to stiffen the original beam and add a lot more strength to the existing beam. In short, I would be taking the current doubled up 2x8 beam and adding a Lam beam of 5-1/4 x 11-7/8" under it. The resulting beam area would now be a minimum of 3-1/2" x 19", spanning a total distance of about 14' with 13' of supported joist length on each side of the beam. I'll try to send pictures tonight. Thanks again.

HandyAndyInMtAiry
Re: Remove post and replace with beam in older home (circa 1920)

Brent,

I have done that on my own house. I places steel "I" beams under existing 10x10 and 12x12 wood beams to take out the sag and make them as straight as possible. Plus give them extra support with 8" round posts. I put chains around the "I" beams so that in case something happened, they would not fall on anyone. I also welded the posts to the beams. Steel is not that expensive, I paid right at a dollar per pound for the "I" beams, and the posts were about $100 per post. I had 1/2" holes cut in the middle about every 24" so that if I needed, I could bolt wood to them.

Andrew

Handy Andy In Mt Airy NC

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