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  1. #1
    Linda Swearingen's Avatar
    Linda Swearingen Guest

    Default Double height beams

    I inspected a house which had cracks and binding doors in the middle area. Underneath the beams are made from double-height 2x10's, tied together by 2x4's. Now the Realtor is in orbit because they've had 2 previous home inspections (I guess when it was purchased, and I know they have a pre-inspection they did when they listed it in August) which showed no problems either with the 5 (!) doors which now bind or do not close at all or question the beams. Fun and games. . .

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: Double height beams

    I doubt anyone has any data or proof as to the exact day that the sagging caused enough issues to be readily visible so the only blame that could be placed on a previous inspector is for not knowing that the stacked 2x10's are not adequate. How bad depends on loads, spans and wood species. Most SOP's will protect (on paper) the inspectors who do not know about correct framing practices and recognizing structural shortcuts as long as no substantial symptom was missed.

    The agents have now found a good inspector but whether or not they really want one is another topic altogether.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  3. #3
    Timothy M. Barr's Avatar
    Timothy M. Barr Guest

    Default Re: Double height beams

    Beam itself shouldn't be sitting on a 2x4 The 2x4 can be crushed from the weight. Stacked 2x10's not very strong Just plain bad design/ build


  4. #4
    David A. Keating's Avatar
    David A. Keating Guest

    Default Re: Double height beams

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    I doubt anyone has any data or proof as to the exact day that the sagging caused enough issues to be readily visible so the only blame that could be placed on a previous inspector is for not knowing that the stacked 2x10's are not adequate. How bad depends on loads, spans and wood species. Most SOP's will protect (on paper) the inspectors who do not know about correct framing practices and recognizing structural shortcuts as long as no substantial symptom was missed.

    The agents have now found a good inspector but whether or not they really want one is another topic altogether.
    Load calcs for support beams etc. need to be evaluated by a structural engineer.


  5. #5
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: Double height beams

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy M. Barr View Post
    Beam itself shouldn't be sitting on a 2x4 The 2x4 can be crushed from the weight.
    I don't see a beam sitting an a 2x4, but if it was I don't see that as a problem. There are beams sitting on 2x4 walls in most houses, especially the 2 story ones.


  6. #6
    Linda Swearingen's Avatar
    Linda Swearingen Guest

    Default Re: Double height beams

    I believe he was referring to the one on top of the block post in the center photo. I included that one because there was apparently enough pressure on the supports to "squirt" the shim back out of the stack. (There did not appear to ever have had a second one to level the surfaces.) You're right, it would have the potential to crush the 2x4 also. In this case, that probably won't happen, as the house is 21 years old. However, whoever said it was "bad design/build" pretty well nailed it. I suspect the "build" half of that; I cannot imagine a set of design drawings going out with that on them! In fact, ever since the inspection I've been racking my brain trying to imagine what the drawings actually might have shown that they figured would be so much cheaper to do with so many 2x10's. Maybe a 6x18 or so glue-lam. . .


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Westminster, B. C., Canada
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Double height beams

    Hi, ALL &

    Any idea what those cinder blocks are supported by (if anything at all) ???

    CHEERS !

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI

  8. #8
    Ed Garrett's Avatar
    Ed Garrett Guest

    Default Re: Double height beams

    We don't do a lot of post and beam raised foundations anymore here in CA ... have gone almost entirely to slab on grade ... but I wonder if what you are looking at is someone's attempt to bring up the bearing surface of the piers instead of actually trying to increase load bearing.

    I would bet the design called for doubled 2x10's and these are suppose to be side by side sitting on short 4x posts between pier and beam. Without any experience in the technique, a DIY could think "hey, there is just enough room for the second 2x under the first ...." when there should be a post. Plans also probably spec the double 2x to be spiked together, hence the extra 2x4 scabs to hold things together.

    The "bad build" hits right on this one.

    As for the pier, we see these set on bare ground in homes built around here in the 1950 - 1970 time frame. Not till the 1970's that they started increasing the bearing above bare soil ... and we do a lot of shim work to "fix" interior door issues on the older homes.

    Ed


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: Double height beams

    I'd also note the possibility of rotation of the "stacked" beam assembly with at least one unrestrained end.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: Double height beams

    Hi Linda the other questions comes to mind is when was the last time someone played with those beams? and was there anything changed since aug in the house to make things shift like heavy items being moved like say a piano? from one local to another. also does the house have a history of these things happening. were there any reno's done? and the most important question is what can be done to fix it right?


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Summerville, South Carolina
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Double height beams

    to me it looks like someone tried to fix a sagging floor by jacking and putting a beam under the sag....which caused the doors to bind....


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