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Choosing Beams to Support Your Load-Bearing Interior Wall

When choosing and installing the beams and columns that support the load-bearing interior walls of your house, you must ask a structural engineer to help you. Since these beams, columns and interior walls support parts of the overall structure of your house, it is necessary that you get the right materials at the right sizes and install them at the right locations. The cost of hiring a structural engineer will ultimately pay off in terms of homeowner safety and durability of the house.

Here are some tips on types of beams and their usages:

1. A wooden floor joist is one of the simplest types of beams. A floor joist system is basically a series of beams that run between two points.

2. Different types of lumber have different capacities in supporting weight. There are lumber sizing charts that show types of lumber, sizing and grade.

3. Laminated lumber beams can support second-level interior walls. These lumber beams are commonly made by joining together 1 3/4 thick plywood pieces.

4. You can also buy a sawn timber for use as a beam. This type is commonly used in log homes.

5. Wood beams can be built in the traditional way by nailing two or more 2x10 or 2x12 timber to one another. These can be used as headers over doorways or windows.

6. Some architectural beams are created by stacking and gluing ten or more two-by-six materials on top of one another.

7. Fancy laminated beams are made by joining at least two materials on top of one another.

8. A wood box beam is made by nailing and gluing plywood to 2x4 or 2x6 timber. This is used to meet primarily architectural or design requirements.

9. A flitch beam is made by sandwiching a half-inch steel plate between two 2x10 lumber and held together with bolts.

10. The strongest beam material is steel. Steel beams can span longer distances than any other beam material.

11. Twelve-inch-thick steel beams can be used in the basement. They can run 16 feet or longer without steel columns in the middle.

While considering the types of beams to use for your load-bearing interior walls, make sure that the columns that will support the beams are standing on solid footing.