Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Terence McCann

Main Beam Question

Recommended Posts

Inspected a century home a few days ago. The home has numerous foundation defects but I have a question about the main wooden beam that ran the length of the home.

The first thing that struck me was what an enormous undertaking it must have been to get this beam into place. The beam measured 10x8 and ran about 55'. Toward one end the beam it has twisted a good 3" or so. The top of the metal column, that was holding it up, was under a lot of stress and showing a good amount of deflection.

Is there any way to salvage this beam or would it be best to cut out the twisted part and replace with a metal I-beam.

Bill?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Inspected a century home a few days ago. The home has numerous foundation defects but I have a question about the main wooden beam that ran the length of the home.

The first thing that struck me was what an enormous undertaking it must have been to get this beam into place. The beam measured 10x8 and ran about 55'. Toward one end the beam it has twisted a good 3" or so. The top of the metal column, that was holding it up, was under a lot of stress and showing a good amount of deflection.

Is there any way to salvage this beam or would it be best to cut out the twisted part and replace with a metal I-beam.

Bill?

Builders from 100 years ago were accustomed to setting large beams in place. It was part of the job. In our modern time of heavy machinery we've largely forgotten the basic methods that were everyday procedures then.

The twist in that beam probably occurred within a year or two after it was placed. I wouldn't suggest trying to fix it unless it was manifesting a problem.

If I really wanted to correct it, I'd probably make vertical cuts in the beam directly above the support posts so that the twist could be relieved gradually.

Jim Katen, Oregon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Often (but not always) timber was cut, then hewn or milled green and then seasoned for at least a year before being used in a building. Many twisted beams were likely installed with at least some of the twist already present. There might be some additional twisting in next year or 2. It's not likely going to get any worse now.

When I'm concerned that the twisting might be affecting other components of a structural assembly, it's never been necessary to actually remove the twisted section. There's usually an easy reinforcement, like steel strapping or additional posts, that can be added to relieve the strain.

8"x10" is a small beam. Our 18th and early 19th century German/Swiss builders usually hand hewed "sommer" beams that range from 17"x17" to 22"x22" for homes and some even larger for barns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...