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  1. #1
    Robert Budnikas's Avatar
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    Default Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    Hello Everyone

    I was hoping to never be on this side of a problem but recently am finding very bad things in my home located in Burlington, Ontario which I have lived in for 4 years with my wife.I need your expert advice on how to proceed.

    This past March we began ripping up carpeting on the main floor of our bungalow and noticed that the floors were sagging towards the middle of the house. I basically refinished the floors and was planning to tackle the already finished basement in the fall. I started ripping out the bathroom and found problems there but the biggest issue was the cross member support under the floor joists. I have pictures but basically the previous owner bolted 3 pieces of quarter inch steel plating measuring 13 feet in length to the support beam. The room spans 22 feet. There is only one post on this beam and suspect there were at least two from the original builder. I say this because he originally planned the basement which included a pool table which he left in the sale of the house to us. I believe there was a support post in that location, hence why he bolted these steel plates to the support beam thinking it was strengthening that beam.

    There are so many bolts going in that beam that the obvious issue to me is that he has compromised the strength of the original wooden beams. He either made the change because he was too cheap to replace it with a proper ibeam, plain stupid or probably both. Also he either knew the floors were sagging before or by doing this he weakened everything.

    I did have a home inspection but it is considered Latent Defect as he couldn't see behind the wooden facing over the beam. Another thing is that the previous owner marked "NO" on an SPIS (Seller Property Information Statement) to the following question: "Are you aware of any structural problems?"

    My main concern here is what to do now. One option is to call the City of Burlington and have a work order put against the home, but how long will that take. I really need your expert advice and opinion on this. I have pictures and have halted doing anything more.

    Hope someone can point me in the right direction.

    Robert

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    Those are callled flitch plates. They will work, but in you're case I think they will just prevent the structure sagging any further. If he had jacked the structure up before installing he may have been able to level the floors but that's in a perfect world.
    The fact that they do not appear to be full length leaves doubts.
    I would recommend hiring a structural engineer to give you real answers and options.


  3. #3
    Robert Budnikas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    Thanks Wayne, So these flitch plates are common. You are correct about the full length part. They are in the middle of the beam which leave roughly 4' 1/2" feet on either side. My big issue with this is that the bottom bolts seem to come within mm of the side bolts. Wouldn't that just rip into the would and weaken it? I see to finding an engineer to come in an have a look.

    Thanks again.

    Robert


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    I would first determine if the beam has actually sagged in that area. Use a laser light. If the beam is straight, shims can be used to level the floor. How level does the floor need to be for you to be comfortable?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  5. #5
    Robert Budnikas's Avatar
    Robert Budnikas Guest

    Default Re: Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    Hi John, Our Bungalow is L-Shaped. The one portion where the bedrooms and washroom are it sags towards the hallway. Interestingly that is where the plates are.

    Robert


  6. #6
    Robert Budnikas's Avatar
    Robert Budnikas Guest

    Default Re: Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    Just got off the phone with our building department here in the City of Burlington Ontario and I can't speak to other provinces in Canada but the process to "Flitch a Beam" has never and currently does not Conform to the Province of Ontario Building Code. So my DIY Previous Home Owner really screwed things up. So to my fellow Canadians, check with an engineer before you decide to do anything to a main support beam.

    Robert


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    I'm not sure I'm seeing this right. Pics aren't that great.
    As I see it, I don't actually see a 'beam'. From what I can tell it looks like the 'beam' is a flat 2x with steel plates bolted to the underside.
    Am I seeing that right or wrong? Can you state what dimension the beam is?
    If I am seeing it correctly, then you don't have a 'beam' at all. A flat 2x would not constitute a beam in any carpenter's mind.
    I'll check back.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  8. #8
    Robert Budnikas's Avatar
    Robert Budnikas Guest

    Default Re: Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    Hi Markus,

    In the large view image look to the right of the steel plate. That is one of 4 wooden beams. 2x12x12 I suspect. The beams overlap where the higher concentration of bolts are and that is where a post would have been. I am in the process of ripping out the carpeting to see if there is a footing directly below that area. I also need to see if where they moved the post did they actually dig it to put a footing there or is it simply sitting on the floor.

    I have an structural engineer coming in the morning to review it and we'll know for sure then.

    I'll keep you all posted.

    Robert


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    Those are called flitch plates. They will work, but in you're case I think they will just prevent the structure sagging any further. If he had jacked the structure up before installing he may have been able to level the floors but that's in a perfect world.
    The fact that they do not appear to be full length leaves doubts.
    I would recommend hiring a structural engineer to give you real answers and options.
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Budnikas View Post
    Thanks Wayne, So these flitch plates are common. You are correct about the full length part. They are in the middle of the beam which leave roughly 4' 1/2" feet on either side. My big issue with this is that the bottom bolts seem to come within mm of the side bolts. Wouldn't that just rip into the would and weaken it? I see to finding an engineer to come in an have a look.

    Thanks again.

    Robert
    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    I'm not sure I'm seeing this right. Pics aren't that great.
    As I see it, I don't actually see a 'beam'. From what I can tell it looks like the 'beam' is a flat 2x with steel plates bolted to the underside.
    Am I seeing that right or wrong? Can you state what dimension the beam is?
    If I am seeing it correctly, then you don't have a 'beam' at all. A flat 2x would not constitute a beam in any carpenter's mind.
    I'll check back.
    .
    Flitch beam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    .....
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  10. #10
    Robert Budnikas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steel Plates on Support Beams - Need Advice

    Update: Had a structural engineer in to review the problem. These are not flitch plates, but simply steel plates laminated to the beams. We removed the carpeting and found that there was a pilaster at one time in the place where the beams were to be supported. The box to the right of the pool table is where the previous homeowner placed a 3 inch steel support right on top of the concrete floor without a footing. There are three stress cracks coming from the bottom plate of the post.

    So they have left us a mess to clean up and non of this work that the previous homeowner did would have been approved by the building department. Gee all this for a pool table. What an idiot.


    Robert


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